The Measure of a Man

What is the Measure of a Man?

What is the Measure of a Man?

What is the measure of a Man? Is it his bank account? His job title? His athletic prowess? His sexual conquests? His impact on the world?

It is all of these things, according to the world at least.

Heck, even in the church we are guilty of measuring men based on worldly criteria. I know I am guilty of it all the time. We measure men based on their involvement in the church, the size of their family, their leadership, their gifts.

Now don’t get me wrong, all of those things are valuable traits and I am not diminishing them at all. But they are not how we should measure men.

So what is the measure of a Man?

 The degree to which his heart is devoted to the Lord.

This is the only measure that God uses.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:10

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

2 Kings 23:25

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

2 Chronicles 16:9

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Matthew 22:36-37

Clearly the Lord sees things differently than we do. He searches our hearts and knows our thoughts. Josiah was recognized for his total devotion to the Lord, and Asa was disciplined for his failure to rely on the Lord in that particular instance. Other translations of 2 Chronicles 16:9 say that the eyes of the Lord “run to and fro throughout the whole earth”.

Just stop and think about that for a moment… God is looking for men with hearts wholly devoted to Him, so he can give them strength!!

And finally we see Jesus affirm that the greatest commandment is to completely devote our hearts (along with soul and mind) to the Lord.

Men in Scripture were measured by the condition of their hearts before the Lord.

And we, men of today, are measured by the same standard.

I pray for you and I pray for myself, I pray for all of us as men- May our hearts be wholly devoted to the Lord today. Amen.

“Private” Sin, Public Disgrace

It seems like every day we are bombarded with stories of icons that have fallen prey to the consequences of some sort of deviant behavior. Adultery, fraud, cheating, murder, etc. Take a look at this list from-

Tiger Woods
John Edwards
Elliot Spitzer
Bernie Madoff
Aaron Hernandez

There are many more, but you get the idea. Why does this shock us though? You see this played out in Scripture numerous times. Consider the story of David and Bathsheba. In case you have forgotten, here are the highlights –

David notices Bathsheba
David lusts after Bathsheba
David sleeps with Bathsheba
Bathsheba conceives a child
David attempts to cover up the indiscretion by bringing Uriah (Husband of Bathsheba) home from the war hoping he will sleep with his wife.
David tries the previous tactic again, this time using alcohol
David plans Uriah’s death
Uriah is killed

David is then confronted by his friend Nathan and reaches the following conclusion –
“I have sinned against the Lord.”

No kidding.

But I want to highlight what the Lord says through all of this-

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

Did you catch that? “Private” sin leading to public disgrace.

How humiliating must this have been for David? How humbling must this have been for David. By the way, of course all of what the Lord promised came to fruition (For example, see 2 Samuel 16:22).

Now take a look at what Nathan says to David about the consequences of his actions.

“The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

Two principles in play here –

1) Sin is never private

“You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel”

We may think we are fooling the world. We may think our sin is just a private and personal matter. If you are like me, then these excuses are familiar to you:

“It doesn’t impact anyone else.”
“What I do privately is my business.”
“Nobody will know.”

The fact is, this is false. Here is the truth-

Sin, although often times conducted privately, is very much a public issue impacting everyone.

Maybe you don’t believe me, but just think

– That lie you just told, it hindered trust between you and another person.
– The anger you harbor towards your boss? Certainly leads to resentment in the relationship
– The woman you lusted after at the gym today, no big deal right? Ask your wife how she feels about that

You see, our so-called private sin manifests itself publicly, and then we must face the consequences of our actions.

2) Our sin carries consequences, always-

“The Lord has taken away your sin, …. BUT….”

Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, you cannot escape this truth. Our sin carries consequences. Christ never promises to shield us from the earthly consequences of our sin. We still have to face the reality of a fallen world that we readily contribute to each day. The consequence may be large, or it could be small. It could be as grand as worldwide public disgrace, or as small as a painful talk with your wife or friend.
Either way, we will face the consequences.

What do we do then? What is the correct response when faced with our “private” sin?
Psalm 51 has the answer

Humble Ourselves

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.

Confess

Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
 and cleanse me from my sin.

Praise God

Open my lips, Lord,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

Tell Others

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you.

– B

My Word for 2014

My church urged its members to consider a word that will mark their year. A word that they choose under careful consideration and prayer that will shape how they use their time, energy, and resources. Its kind of like the lens that their year will be viewed through.
As I was listening to the Pastor share the vision, I started writing some words down.

All of these words were good so I decided to evaluate them from there. I spent the next few days running them through my head, reviewing their definitions and context in Scripture. You know, doing all of the human things that I could to evaluate these words.

Sacrifice had been on my mind because I had been thinking a lot about the life I want to lead, a life of sacrifice. It was particularly fresh on my mind due to a part of a speech by President Reagan where he discusses the life of a soldier named Martin Treptow.

My Pledge
“America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
These words spoke directly to my heart, but I wanted to be sure. Absolutely sure.
I set the following Friday (Jan 3rd) as decision day. My mind had settled on sacrifice but I knew in my heart that the issue was not fully settled. Mid week was New Years and I talked to a friend of mine who really challenged me on my word. We discussed the concept of sacrifice as something that is not always positive in nature. Sort of like you adopt a martyr mentality. But I knew that this was not what sacrifice looked like in my mind. I knew that God had a different view, but I was conflicted. I left that night asking for clarity on what exactlysacrifice would look like for me.
So then something happened.
I stumbled on Romans 12, and it became abundantly clear that the word my mind had settled on was in fact the word God had for me.
 Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1
This was it. This was perfect. Viewing sacrifice as an act of worship was exactly the vision that I needed for clarity. But there is more, the rest of Romans 12 goes on to discuss humble service, sincere love, devotion to others, and giving honor to all people.  This was blowing my mind due to the consistency with my stated goals for this year, namely finding a ministry to serve in, improving relationships with my family, and consciously investing in the people God places in my life.
So what does this look like day to day?
 
“offer your bodies as a living sacrifice
 
 I am thankful for this clarity and confident that 2014 will be a tremendous year.
God Bless
– B