Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
As Christians we get caught up in our daily living, and sometimes we forget that being Christian is work. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians prove that when we are saved, we don’t automatically become mature in Christ, but we are babies along with all that implies. We are given certain character traits simply because we are new creatures in Christ because we have the fruit of the Spirit given freely to all God’s children who are joint heirs with Christ. Those wonderful traits are found in Galatians 5:22-23. We know that these are traits that must be nurtured and encouraged to grow stronger within our souls for Paul encourages the Corinthians to “watch, stand fast in faith, be brave and be strong” in 1 Corinthians 16:13 which is a strong indication we must work at our exhibition of godly attributes. There is much throughout the Bible that exhorts believers about love, peace, gentleness, self-control, as well as the rest of the fruit so that the war over the fleshly nature will be won by the godly nature that we have been given as a result of our being transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
There are traits that we can deliberately cultivate which will lend greater strength to our Christian lifestyle. Because of the loose, societal morals which are gaining greater acceptance each day, the men of Christian faith have a responsibility to choose a more godly lifestyle than what is basically accepted today. That is a scary thing for men these days especially when they are being mentally and emotionally castrated by commercials and TV shows that come into our living rooms every night. I cannot understand why women sit back and allow this balderdash to happen. But, that’s another rant.
Biblical men can teach us a lot about godly characteristics. Let’s look at a few…
Purity of Joseph — There is no telling exactly how beautiful and exotic Potipher’s wife was. She was obviously spoiled and demanding. Her fixation on Joseph was first aroused by his beauty and youth, but was enflamed by his remaining steadfastly pure. Solomon’s advice to his son was quite blatant, “drink water from your own cistern… let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with your wife you married in your youth… always be enraptured with her love…” But what if you are not married, young man? Then “don’t let your fountain be dispersed abroad like streams in the street.” Proverbs 5. Potipher’s wife wanted Joseph most likely because she couldn’t have him. From Joseph’s point of view it was unholy so he ran away from the sin. No matter what the world says, purity of heart and body is a quality highly treasured by God. When a man pleases God, the Windows of Heaven are opened and blessings are poured out. That is priceless.
Wisdom of Josiah – It would so easy to say “the wisdom of Solomon”, but frankly he may have been very wise in worldly matters, but when it came to godly things, Solomon got a “D” for disobedience. God went to him twice to exhort him to turn from the foreign wives and foreign idol worship and both times Solomon refused. Because King Solomon allowed so much foreign idolatry, Israel fell apart; the people turned from worshiping the one, true God to worshiping wood and stone fashioned by their own hands. Josiah was eight years old when he ascended to the throne of Judah. He succeeded his grandfather, Manasseh who was the bloodiest monarch of Judah and who the Bible says filled the streets of Jerusalem with the blood of her children because he worshiped and caused the people to worship the god Molech, the god of child sacrifices. Manasseh humbled himself and repented from his wickedness; and God forgave him. Josiah followed in David’s footsteps and that of his grandfather’s latter days of reign. The high priest found The Book of the Law. When Josiah had it read, he tore his clothes and immediately set about asking the will of the LORD, for he knew great was the wrath of God. Josiah turned his face from the prevailing wickedness of Judah. He crushed idolatry, sorcery, and put away all mediums. He tore down all the places of worship. But that was not why God granted Josiah peace from the calamity that would befall Judah. God said in 2 Kings 22:19, “because your heart is tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD… and because you wept before Me, I have heard you.” To have reverential awe, to fear the one whose justness will pour forth burning wrath against the wicked is wisdom beyond comprehension.
Responsibility of Boaz – What a sweet love story we find in Ruth who is one of only four women listed in the lineage of Christ. Boaz has more godly qualities than just about any other man. He has compassion for a widow, beautiful she may be, but he wanted her to stay close to his men, to eat with his people, and caused his reapers to leave enough behind for her to glean. This is empathy for her self-worth that she would work for her and Naomi’s food. The obedience of his men depicts a respect for his fairness in dealing with his people, and his leadership qualities. He cared about Ruth’s reputation and had her on her way before his people awoke after the harvest feast. (She had slept at his feet in request of his covering protection and actually a marriage proposal. When he threw his robe over her, he had accepted her proposal.) He made himself responsible for her and for his cousin Naomi by marrying Ruth and bringing them into his household. He took his duty as head of his clan seriously and with great wisdom thus he earned his place in the royal lineage of Jesus.
Honesty of Job – One of the bravest requests of a man to God is spoken by Job in chapter 31:5-6 “If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has hastened to deceit, Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity.” Being weighed on honest scales is asking our heart to be weighed by God’s heart. We all fall short of the glory of God, therefore man can never come up balanced when weighed with honest scales. God said in all these things Jom did not sin. His faith never wavered, his responses to his friends, his responses to his wife, his responses to his circumstance, and his responses to God Himself remained pure of heart. No greed, no deceit was ever found in him. To be able to do this on a daily basis, a man must yield to the Holy Spirit. No person can face Satan’s wiles alone. The world’s siren song is drawing men away from God and toward all the things God abhors as the seven things found in Proverbs 6 such as a lying tongue, a proud look, hands that shed innocent blood, devising wicked plans, feet that run to evil, a false witness, lips that incite discord among the brethren. May no believer ever do these things.
Courage of Paul – No man other than Jesus suffered continually for his faith and for his brothers as Paul did. Certainly every disciple suffered death, and hardships, but the Bible doesn’t record in depth their trials and tribulations except in the case of Paul. Although, other authors such as Polycarp and Ignatius did record the horrors Christians faced. Paul was flogged with thirty-nine lashes by the Jews five times, thrashed three times with Roman rods, he was stoned and left for dead once, in travels often, in dangers of rivers, in dangers of robbers, in dangers from the Jews, in dangers from the nations, in dangers in the city, in dangers in a wilderness, in dangers in the sea, in dangers among false brothers, 2 Corinthians 11:27 in hardship and toil, often in sleeplessness, in hunger and thirst, often in hunger, in cold and nakedness, besides his great concern for the churches for when someone was desperate, he felt it to his bones and when someone was duped into sin, anger burned in his gut. Yet, he faced each day with joy in the LORD, he rejoiced and encouraged all to rejoice with him. It takes courage to fight lions and bears, but it takes monumental courage to stand firm in the faith.
Forgiving of Ananias of Damascus – A certain persecutor of Christians met a certain Savior on his way to Damascus. God was ready for him, and had already forgiven him of all the murders he had committed in the name of the LORD. Saul’s reputation was known far and wide as a most uncompassionate, murderous soldier of the Temple. Ananias was called upon to minister to this fiendish man by order of God Almighty. He stepped out of his doorway full of trust in the LORD, most likely knees knocking, hand trembling in anticipation of meeting the Temple’s Monster. He laid hands on him, spoke kindly to him, and he gave him words of prophecy from the LORD. Forgiveness is obedience to God in more ways than we can count. We are called to it, commanded to do it, given it freely for the asking, and blessed with it from our siblings who obey. There is nothing so liberating or cleansing as giving and receiving forgiveness. The man of God can move mountains bestowing it freely.
Compassion of Jesus – In Mark 10 there is a story about the Rich Young Ruler who asks Jesus what must he do to be saved. When Jesus tells him that he must follow the commandments, the young man said, “Teacher I have done all these things, I have kept them from my youth.” Every person who has tried to be good has realized sooner or later that it is impossible to obey the Law without slipping sideways once in a while. The arrogance and pride this young man exhibited was like a puffy balloon. Jesus could have pointed out each and every slip the young man had committed; and He could have literally sliced him to the core for his arrogance. But He looked at the young man and loved him. Jesus knew he would walk away, still full of his pride, and full of his love of money plus secure in his own wealth. Jesus knew it, but loved him anyway. Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners. Jesus commanded us to love one another, and that the world would come to know Him by our love for one another. How can we disappoint Him?
No one would argue that Jesus wasn't a man's man, or that He wasn't a manly man. His strength abounds in His characteristics. He was angry at injustice, forgiving of frailties, and He was politically incorrect while standing firm against societal wickedness. He dealt fairly with friends and enemies alike. Men of faith have the Mind of Christ, so they are well armed against the wiles of Satan and against worldly pressures. It is never easy, but the battle is most worthy so that a godly man will hear those coveted words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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