We are called to be “mighty men of valor”
Wherever we may find ourselves, there we are. Ordinary men, engaged in providing for our families, working within the community, and looking at our past, our present, and where we potentially are heading. As men, we may even concern ourselves with the type of legacy we may leave behind. What impact have we had? What influence have we made? Or, is it too late for us because we may feel that our very own destiny no longer appears on the horizon? The reality is that God is sovereign and we may experience Him in ways that refresh our faith and renew our hope.
Gideon, himself, viewed his life as mundane. He saw himself as the “least in my father’s house” (see, Judges 6:15). And, he viewed his family as the “weakest in Mannasseh.” The social climate Gideon found himself in appeared to be oppressive. Israel had succumbed to evil and the Midianites appeared to have impoverished Israel (see, Judges 6:1-7).
Christian men of valor are being called to awaken and arise. We are being called to become “mighty men of valor” as Gideon was called. Like Gideon, we too are called to face the enemies that surround us, including those thoughts and feelings that make up our own negative self-talk. It is time we awaken and rise up from the illusion of control over our lives.
A single most important question to ask ourselves?
It is essential we understand who we are. Our identity rests in the Sovereign God and Jesus Christ. Often times, one may find themselves asking, “what kind of man have I become?” The second question, “what kind of man do I yet want to be?” And, the third question, “What type of man is God calling me to be?
The first two questions appear to be easily answered. It is the third question we truly wrestle with. That is where we want to start. That is where true spiritual awakening occurs. It is where we cultivate a spiritual passion.
Richard Exley provides this in the first section of his book, Man of Valor:
Nothing is more important than what a man believes about God. How he perceives Him will determine, to a significant degree, what he believes about himself and how he relates to others. It will also define his interpretation of life and the meaning of events. Never is a man’s understanding of God more critical than in times of personal crisis.
Our defined perception of God does have an influence in the way we define who we are as men. Do we see ourselves the way society has come to define us? Or, do we turn to the word of God and see’s how God defines us? Notice how Gideon defined who he was compared to the way the Angel of the Lord defined whom he truly is. Gideon’s self-perception focused on his social identity within the conditions of Israel at that time. The Angel of the Lord saw him for who Gideon truly is, a “mighty man of valor.” In other words, the way we see ourselves vastly differs from the way our Sovereign God sees us.
At his trial, Socrates defended his philosophy and teachings. Out of this came his famous statement: An unexamined life is not worth living. This is recorded in Plato’s Apology. Socrates was ultimate condemned to death for what was believed to be an act of “corruption of youth”. The impact and reality of this phrase rings true today, especially for Christian men.
When we awake and rise up, we also come to examine who we are as we see ourselves in relationship to how God sees us for who we are. And, it is not just Gideon we see this encounter. Throughout Holy Writ, every time God has come to call men, he met them where they presently were at. Called them because of what God had seen and valued in them. How, through the course of fulfilling the calling placed upon their shoulders, each man was transformed.
As we awaken and rise up, we break free from the chains of bondage that has held us captive. We begin to awaken and open our eyes to the reality of God and our need for God’s sovereign grace and mercy. Our identity of who we think we are becomes scales that fall and we begin to be transformed into new men – men of valor.
We must come to wrestle with God
Each one of us come to “Wrestle with God” in not only understanding who He is, we come to understand who we are because the revelation of God. To understand this, we turn to the account of Jacob’s encounter with God and how Jacob wrestled with the Lord.
Dena Johnson provides an insightful understanding of this encounter in her article: How Wrestling with God Will Change You Forever. In a similar fashion, a staff writer over at Desiring God published this article: Will You Wrestle with God? Both articles touch on the Biblical account of Jacob and him wrestling.
As Christian men of valor, we want to wrestle with God. Not to merely receive blessings, to receive strength, or even grace. We want to wrestle with God in order to define and refine our identity in Christ and Christ alone. It is how we see ourselves as “mighty men of valor” through the perception of how God see’s us.
This, hopefully, develops our spiritual passion toward seeing God for who he truly is and how he truly reveals himself to be.
Spiritual Passion begins by following after God
A. W. Tozer provides this unique observation, in his book The Pursuit of God:
“No man can come to me,” Said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “thy right hand upholdeth me.”
Tozer also continues:
The man is “saved,” but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. ... we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can.
We notice that all the men of the Bible, followed God as how God revealed himself to them. From Abel on down to the Apostles. As Christian men of valor, we continue to carry the legacy of the ancient prophets and apostles, we come to pursue God, because God has already pursued us. Our spiritual passion is derived from, what Tozer reports, “The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition.” This is because we are created in His own “image and likeness” (See, Genesis 1:26).
Along with this, we are to follow the counsel of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:5. In the King James Version, the Greek for Mortify refers to being “deaden” or “subdue” our natural desires and tendencies. As men of Valor, our spiritual awakening requires us to rise up and subdue those things that will become barriers toward a healthy relationship with God.
It is when we enter into relationship with God, by and through the power of the Holy Spirit, having been regenerated and cleansed by the atonement of Jesus Christ, are we able to begin transforming our lives toward Godly purpose and meaning.
We know that scripture is true and we know that as we come to drink from the well of God’s divine words, we begin to grow into mighty men of Valor. Not who we desire to become, but how God desires to shape is in becoming the men of valor He destined us to be. Learning from the patriarchs of Scripture, the character and attributes they possessed, coming to pursue God and learning of God as He reveals himself toward us. Subduing our own natural passions and desires to become great men, and disciples, of Christ.
We awaken and arise to wrestle with our identity in Christ. We awaken and arise to find meaning and purpose through Christ. And, we awaken and arise to understand how we are able to be of service toward others as Christ works through us. When we come to understand these three principles, we become Christian Men who are Might in Valor.
Thoughts to Ponder
- Take a moment to reflect on how you have come to understand and believe about God’s character and nature. Are these attributes reflective of scripture, or based upon one’s own assumptions?
- What does it mean to “grow up” and become a “mighty man of valor” (see, Judges 6:12
- How often do you contemplate on what type of man you presently are today? What type of man have you considered becoming? What have you considered in relationship to the way others may remember you and the legacy you will leave?
- In what ways do you feel God is calling you to “Awake” and “arise” from your present condition and perception?
- Where in your life is there a need to undergo conversion, a mighty change? How is this conversion and mighty change going to be utilized in being of service to others?