Has the amount of rain this week affected your routine? If so, how?
Lord, touch each member of the group.
1 Timothy 6:11–12 NLT: “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
The world promotes many types of men as being worthy of admiration. For example, sports figures and celebrities fascinate us. The Bible, however, gives us better guidelines as to what constitutes a true man of God. Let’s look today at the admirable traits that a man of God possesses.
A man of God is a man under authority. He is submitted to God and submitted to the spiritual authorities in his life. He is in touch with God, talking to and hearing from the Lord. His goal is to become like God and emulate His behavior. As a man of God, he must fight against some things and hold on to others. In particular, he pushes away worldly things; Elijah’s camel hair clothing and leather belt were enough for him.
Who was a man of God you learned from? Share with the group.
A man of God runs from evil. Even though our sinful nature is drawn like a moth to a flame, to sin and sinful lusts, the man of God does not stay in dangerous situations. In prideful and greedy scenarios, he will turn from evil. Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife; in similar fashion, a man of God flees evil lusts, including online temptations. Some things a man of must run from and some things he must run to, and a man of God does both.
Running from sinful temptations is a battle everyone fights. It is easier to do this with a support group. Do you have someone who speaks into your life in this regard, or do you feel alone? Share with the group.
A man of God runs after God and His ways. Elijah ran across a desert to hear the still, small voice of God, but it took him 40 days and nights just to get quiet enough. We need to unplug more in our lives to hear from the Lord.
Men of God also sprint after righteousness, a godly life, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Even Paul said he had not achieved these things fully: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14 NLT). Like him, we must press on to finish our race in Christ.
You can recognize a man of God by what he is pursuing.
Obviously, none of us have achieved everything yet, but do you feel like you are diligently pursuing God in your life? Share with the group.
As a man of God, what is one thing that you have pushed away? Share with the group.
We are not serving a weak Jesus. We are serving a warrior king, a lion, a martyr. In the Old Testament, Elijah stood up to 450 prophets and called down fire. As men of God in this twenty-first-century world, we must learn what to run from and what to run towards.
You inspire other men when you pursue God and flee from the things of the world. Make it a point this month to prioritize what matters most to you. Don’t be a man of the world, but be a man of God.
What places have you visited so far this summer?
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for refilling us today.
Ephesians 6:10–12 New Living Translation NLT: “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Have you ever been in a fight? The above scripture declares that we are in a battle, and it is not even against flesh and blood. We are in a life-or-death battle with evil rulers and authorities. The enemy is after us, he is after our families, and he wants to destroy us. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
How are we going to fight against such forces? We would not stand a chance if we were to battle in our own strength. However, the Lord has made a way that we can fight the forces of darkness and emerge victorious. Let’s look at the armor the Lord has provided for His children to do just that.
Have you ever been in a fistfight? What caused it, and what was the result?
The battle is not a natural battle, but a rebellious spiritual war against God. Furthermore, it is not an isolated battle, but rather a series of campaigns taking place through the centuries.
The enemy seeks to destroy God’s purposes and God’s children. The devil cannot defeat God, so he comes after you and me. However, this war has already been won, even though the fighting from the enemy continues: “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven” (Revelation 12:7–8 NIV). Jesus expressed it like this: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18 NLT).
Have you ever mistaken a spiritual battle for a natural battle and thus tried to fight it in the natural? What happened?
Ephesians 6:13–14 (NIV) says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Truth and transparency will keep you from embarrassment. “… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17). Reading the Bible will renew your mind. The praises of God are another powerful weapon. Acts 16:25 (NIV) says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Their praises led to freedom and salvation for others!
Which of these weapons do you feel like you are taking advantage of? Which do you need to use more? Share with the group.
Each of us on earth is engaged in a spiritual battle against the enemy. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. Those of us in Christ are well equipped to wage spiritual warfare, but we have to stand and use the weapons of God.
Put on the whole armor of God in a regular fashion. Use the weapons of prayer, the Word, and praise to win spiritual battles. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).
Sign up for the leaders’ retreat here: https://bwpc.wufoo.com/forms/2018-bethany-leadership-retreat/
What is your favorite coffeehouse order?
Thank You, Lord, that we are the light of the world.
Ephesians 5:1–2 NLT, emphasis added: “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us.”
Everything becomes more difficult when it is dark; it is so tough to see and get around when everything is dark. Similarly, our world is shrouded in darkness. However, we are called the people of the light and have been strategically placed in this dark world to extinguish the darkness by our light.
Have you ever had to go days on end without lights or electricity? What was the most difficult aspect?
Ephesians 5:1–2 ( NLT, emphasis added) says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us.” Additionally, Matthew 22:39 (NLT) says to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
To show unconditional love takes the spirit of Christ. Do you find it easy or do you struggle to love people who do not love you back? Share with the group.
When you know God, you know what pleases Him; but you can know God only when you pursue Him and spend time with Him. Ephesians 5:10–13 (NLT, emphasis added) says, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them.” Verse 11 of the Amplified translation says, “Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them.” We do this “by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character.” We cannot be a light if we are doing all the things that those who walk in darkness do.
As a church, we need to get back to sanctification. What kinds of things can ruin a Christian’s witness in our society?
Make a plan this week to respond correctly to the darkness around you. Separation is sanctification. Your level of fullness will determine how bright your light shines. Let your light shine in the darkness of your day.
Let the Lord fill you with light by staying in prayer and the Word. You become a light when you separate yourself from darkness.