The hit, made-for-Netflix, series “House of Cards”exhibits how men craving power will don a public mask in order for private gain. It’s a story about men living with two faces: a public persona and a private will; an image vs reality; a means to an end.
Two-faced men live with the imminent tragedy that their house of cards will crash. One final straw can destroy everything, breaking the camel’s back. Men living this way, will do virtually anything to protect their polished myth. Inner turmoil ensues. Character gets twisted. Relationships suffer. Self-protection takes over. Private division and destruction follow.
This dynamic can become even more oppressive for a Christ-following man. We want to present Christian, play the role and rarely, if ever, let anyone look under the hood. There can exist a disconnect between identity and activity; resulting in a synthetic versus authentic Christian witness that is one card away from collapse.
God’s men often compartmentalize their faith and become “consumer Christians”sitting in the pews waiting to be served, or convenient Christians with a Las Vegas mentality that says “what happens outside of church stays outside of church.”
Jesus taught about, and confronted, this naïve mentality among men in Luke 6:46-49 saying:
There’s an “F” after the “SHI” and before the “T” and, yes, I did it on purpose. I am exchanging the secular phrase for a sacred principle, the silly for the serious, and if I pressed your buttons then mission accomplished. What remains are the two words every believer must consider if they claim to be a follower of Jesus – holy and shift. See for yourself.
“If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NCV
That’s some major shift going down. Oops did it again. Key word here? Everything. God says he wants all of you versus parts of you. Get that. Life with God requires change in God if the relationship is working the way he designed. God himself is telling me in strong, simple terms that when he is at the center of my life I don’t get to pick and choose my changes of life and lifestyle. It’s positional.
“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV
By contrast, if we do call him “Lord, Lord” we will be moving, exchanging, changing, or adjusting our ways for God’s ways on a regular basis. Why? Because when you are connected to Christ shift happens (of the holy sort). The red letters of Jesus in your Bible clearly state one unequivocal fact: change is ground zero of the spiritual life. We dispute this reality of spiritual life internally because personal change is often emotionally uncomfortable for us and requires new character we don’t presently have. Or we flat out disagree with God because we don’t want to give up that attitude or behavior. The result is self styled Christianity, patterned around our comforts, where we live out of spiritual and non-spiritual boxes as the context suits us. Both approaches fall short and neither passes muster with God.
You’ve done it. Stepped over the line and accepted God’s free gift of love and salvation, deciding to become a follower of Jesus Christ. You may feel different, forgiven and ready to start a new life. Or you may feel pretty much the same, but with a whole lot of new questions that come with a decision to do life God’s way. Either way, the next question is...
For new Christians, walking from their “decision” on wobbly spiritual legs, the next few moments, hours, and days can seem bewildering. There’s new vocabulary confusion, or “Christian-ese” that’s easier for theologians to understand than those who have just begun their journey spiritually. And it may seem like every Christian veteran has unsolicited advice for you.
So Every Man Ministries wants to provide some “crawl” steps on your way to what we pray will be a strong walk with God.
S - Start developing your relationship with God.
The entire “Christian” conversation, and the most distinctive part of our faith, is focused on God’s desire to have a relationship with us. He wants to be your friend and heavenly father. He wants you to know him, which is a deeply personal connection. At first, God may seem like a distant being, but He’s not. He’s very available. The more you know him, the more you will love Him and many, many other benefits will come. To know God you need to be with God.
The first, best way to know God is to read, and/or listen to the Bible, which is also referred to as God’s “Word” or “Scripture.” We have created a special series just for this purpose called Digging Deep, which will help you interact, engage, and apply God’s word. Consider God’s word daily bread you can’t live without.
- Tue May 6, 2014
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Some holidays come and go with little circumstance. Others are little more than an inconvenient bank holiday (think Columbus Day). Then, there’s Mother’s Day, which is a road bump en route to Father’s Day, right? Think Mother’s Day is another Hallmark marketing strategy to boost sales of sappy cards, and dust-collecting knick-knacks? Is it a day to make the obligatory visit with your buttoned-up shirt and flowers in hand? Has Mother’s Day become a joke?
Not to God. In fact, an argument could be made that it’s the one holiday we are commanded to honor. Not even Christmas and Easter have the distinction of being a commandment to celebrate.
Taking it 364 steps further, the Bible says numerous times to “honor your father and mother,” which means not just on one day, but every day. If you do, there’s a promise of reward.
- “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” -- Exodus 20:12
If we are really honest with ourselves, I’m guessing the majority of men don’t give enough credit for their moms. But they should. I’m sure there are exceptions, but moms deserve a lot more than a one-day token holiday.
They carried us inside their wombs for nine months, and endured the birthing! That alone deserves a medal of honor. And, that’s only the very tip of the iceberg. If we think about all the mothering that goes on in life, there’s nothing even close to what moms do for us. Nobody can argue that moms give significantly more sacrificial love than men or kids, on a daily basis.
Honoring you mother synonymous with loving God. Did you realize that? In 1 John 4:20, the Bible says essentially that “you can’t love me and not love others.”
We at EMM encourage you to think of ways to honor your mom throughout the year. Consider motherhood a celebration of life itself! So for the upcoming holiday, here are some fresh, and not so fresh but tried-and-true, ideas:
Fight or flight?
When faced with an imminent threat your body releases adrenaline, your heart rate picks up, your brain activity skyrockets, your muscles tense, and all your senses are on “go.”
Fight or flight?
The conversation turns volcanic. You didn’t mean that comeback to sound so visceral but you just verbally napalmed the other guy in front of his buddies. He’d been pushing you around the court all game and, after his latest hack-attach under the basket, you just let him know in very colorful language how you feel. He’s dropping the ball and walking straight over to you.
Fight or flight?
You are not getting through to her. She’s dug in. You’re dug in. There’s been the usual “you always” statements and “if only you would just” clichés but now you are way beyond jabbing – low blows are being thrown. Your face is getting redder by the second, your voice is getting louder, and you are pulling out the heavy armor piercing bullets. Mentally you are loading a new magazine of firepower that will surely cut through the emotional metal of your sweet bride – eventually killing the argument and any chance at intimacy.
Fight or flight?
She’s cute. Really cute. You have no business returning her eye flutters with a smile but you did. “What in the world are you doing?” says the voice inside. Images of your wedding, your wife and your kids flash across your brain. You just noticed that you are hiding your wedding band beneath the table on purpose and feel very conflicted right now. “You’re on a business trip – alone,” says the dark side. “No one has to know and people do this all the time.” While you were battling these thoughts, she has closed the gap from 20 feet to two feet and is standing in front of you! “Buy me a drink?”