With the approach of June 21, many will be pondering what to get dad. It is true, dad’s can be hard to buy for. So, one of the challenges of Father’s Day is what to get dad: how to show him he is special.
But as a man and a father, I am much more concerned with what to me is a more pressing challenge, not for spouses and children, but for men. The challenge of Father’s Day for men is to be a worthy father, a kind of man who has a lasting influence on his descendants. “The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him” (Prov. 20:7). May God give us such men. Oh, to be such a man!
Paul often referred to himself and to Christians as “a man in Christ”. He was speaking generically of course and included both men and women. But for my purposes, I want to think a little bit about what it means to be “a man in Christ”. Speaking of himself and his Christian experience of being caught up into heaven he said; “I knew a man in Christ…” (2 Cor. 12:2). He also said; “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold, all things have become knew” (2 Cor. 5:17). I want us to look at the qualities of “a man in Christ” as we see them in Paul and ask our Lord to make us such men.
First; “a man in Christ” is a man of humility. This humility is a holy, biblical understanding of my depravity, inability, and vulnerability. Paul always kept a healthy view of his sinfulness. That is why he could say with all honesty; “I am less than the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8). Just a quick read of Romans 7 shows us he was acutely aware of his own struggle with the ever present enemy of sin. Such an awareness will help us maintain a proper sense of humility.
Second; “a man in Christ” is a man integrity. Integrity is not perfection, but it is honesty with myself, others, and God. There can be no pretense that I am more than I am or that I am somehow more holy than those around me, especially my family. They know better. Paul said; “And herein I do exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). “Pray for us: for we trust that we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly” (Heb. 13:18). This is a man of integrity: the one who is honest with God and others and quickly deals with any offenses.
Third; a man in Christ is a man of charity. Charity is the old English word used to translate the Greek agape in the KJV. The old English translators knew that a man who loves is a man generous with money, things, and himself. “A man in Christ” is a giver, especially of himself. This is the evidence of his love for Christ and people. Therefore Paul could say; “…The things which happened unto me have turn out rather for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). His life was given to Christ and others for the gospel’s sake. His love for Christ and his love for others were illustrated by his life of charity.
And so it should be for every man in Christ. Our lives our given to Christ, our families, and others because of our love for Christ. We willing lay aside our petty, selfish, grievances, and preferences for love’s sake.
Fourth; “a man in Christ” is a man of clarity. ” A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Lack of clarity and focus and lack of vision lead to confusion and instability. The heart and soul of a man in Christ is clear in its focus. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…This one thing I do…” (Phil. 1:21; 3:8, 13).
Fifth; a man in Christ is a man of intensity. Dr. Art Glasser commented; “Passivity is an enemy.” C.H. Spurgeon said; “We cannot afford to live useless lives.” John MacArthur warned; “This is certainly no time for weak men, weak messages, and weak ministries.” With clarity of focus should come intensity of commitment. Again Paul speaks to this in Philippians; “I follow after…” (Phil. 3:12). Paul spoke of himself as being in dogged pursuit of Christ, His Kingdom, and His glory. “Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily” (Col. 1:29). It was obvious to those around Paul that something owned Paul, and that something created in him a passion and intensity that was life-controlling. Men; the seriousness of our commitment will be expressed, at least in part, by the intensity of our passion. Our wives and children will notice.
Sixth; “a man in Christ” is a man of destiny. ” A man in Christ” is going somewhere. He is moving in a particular direction. Spiritual leadership is not seen so much by where you are as by the direction you are going. ” A man in Christ” is moving toward Christ and His will. He realizes that everything is preparation, and he lives his life with this in mind. We live moving ever closer to Christ, and anticipating eternity with Him. Therefore, life is lived and decisions are made with the next generation and eternity in view. Paul said; ” I press toward the mark for the prize…” (Phil. 3:14). “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17, 18). The man in Christ lives with an awareness of his place in Christ’s kingdom now and an excitement and commitment to eternal glory with Christ.
May the Lord help us to be such men; men of humility, men of integrity, men of charity, men of clarity, men of intensity, and men of destiny.
Through the Grace of Our Lord,
President, Vision4Living Ministries