"Those who are standing for truth, must stand"
What does it mean to be a man of God; to be a godly man?
One aspect is to stand for truth no matter the circumstance. To be a man of God is not to be manly in the way the world tells us to be manly. The world demands consumption. The world demands exertion of power. The world demands us to put our own needs before those of others. The world compares people against each other, is constantly changing, and follows it's own desires.
In a letter from the apostle Paul to his disciple, coworker, and true son in the faith Timothy, he gives instruction of what a man of God is to do. 2 Timothy Chapter 4:1-8 says the following:
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."
Here in this passage alone we see a number of points relating to godly men standing for the truth.
I'll break it down into three main points:
The man of God must stand for truth as defined by the One that is Truth.
The man of God must stand for truth in his word.
The man of God must stand for truth in his deeds.
1. The man of God must stand for truth as defined by the One that is Truth.
In this passage Paul's charge begins with an exhortation of who God is and that is where our foundation of truth must come from. God and Christ Jesus: judge of the living and the dead, king over all creation, whose righteous reign is coming quickly. God is not small, He is great beyond our understanding (Job 36:26)! He is not finite, He is eternal and enthroned (Psalm 90:2)! He is ultimately the one through whom His church will be established and through whom His grace will be known (1Cor3:5-7, Eph2:4-7). It is He through whom we live and have our being (Acts17:28). Christ Himself claimed "I am the way the truth and the life" (John14:6). He is truth, He is majesty, and He is the one through whom truth was established in the earth.
On the other hand, we have the world's shifts. If we allow our truth to be defined by society or culture, what Paul said will happen, "the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Tim 4:3). If we go by our own desires we will give up true teaching, we will give up truth, and we will be as one who has built their house on shifting sands (Matt7:24-27).
The man of God must stand for truth as defined by God Himself, Truth Himself.
In the previous chapter, Paul also exhorts Timothy to know the sacred scriptures well, the Spirit-inspired words of God. In Him we know truth.
2. The man of God must stand for truth in his word.
The second portion of the passage focuses on a short list of commands, "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Tim 4:2). This list contains a variety of actions, but each relates to speaking and teaching truth. Although some may argue, 'only some are called to be teachers. I'm not, so this list doesn't apply to me.' I would argue however that all believers are called to make disciples as God's Holy Spirit works in us (Matt 28:18-20) and that we are all called to teach those who are younger than us, men and women (Titus 2:3-4, 1 Tim2:1-2).
Summing up the list, it says that we get preach, reprove, rebuke, exhort, and teach. Teaching really covers all the other four, so let's dive into them briefly:
Preach (κήρυξον) - To proclaim after the manner of a herald used frequently in regard to public proclamation of the good news of the gospel. The word suggests formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed. We are to share the truth with those around us who do not yet know it.
Reprove (ἔλεγξον) - To find fault and to convict, refute, or confute and expose that fault to the one in the wrong. To correct by word (chide, admonish, reprove, to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation) by deed (to chasten, to punish). We are to correct in truth.
Rebuke (ἐπιτίμησον) - to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, censure severely; to admonish or charge sharply. express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions. We are to call out those who are in the wrong and point them back to the truth.
Exhort (παρακάλεσον) - To speak to in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen. We are to encourage and strengthen others in truth.
This is in all of these things, in every area of speech, to those struggling, to those in error, to the weak, to those who don't know the truth; the man of God must stand for truth in his word and help others grow in that truth lest they continue in the way of the world which would stand opposed to truth.
3. The man of God must stand for truth in his deeds.
In the last portion of this passage Paul calls Timothy to: "be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5). Standing for truth is not merely a thing to be done theoretically, but in earnest and action as well in response to God's action on the cross. Here, Paul is calling Timothy to be self-controlled and calm in the Spirit. To patiently and with hope endure any suffering caused by doing good (1 Peter 2:20/3:14). This is to encourage to continue to take action, to go to those who don't have the truth as an evangelist, and to serve others by doing the ministry prepared for him in the church at Ephesus.
Those who are standing for truth must not only understand the truth and leave it. Those who are standing for truth must stand. This is echoed in Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” As well as the words in James 2:26, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." Faith requires a response. He refers to Abraham, the father of faith, that it was credited to him as righteousness when he acted on the trust he had in God's promises and faithfulness.
Finally, Paul ends this section with the example of himself and how he has stood for truth since his conversion. Even now, at the end of his times, he was looking forward to the hope he had in Christ and in God's promises. Even in death he was standing for truth. "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing" (2 Timothy 4: 6-8).
Whatever it is that God has called us to, in all areas of life, to those works God has prepared us for (see Eph2:10), the man of God must stand for truth in his deeds.
Speaking directly to this call to stand for truth in a corrupt and twisted world, in the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom12:1-2)
A man of God must stand for truth as defined by God allowing his mind to be renewed. A man of God must stand for truth in his word as Paul did to point the Romans to the true ways of God. A man of God must stand for truth in his deeds, presenting our whole body as a living sacrifice to a just God who is worthy of all our affection and worship.
A final note to add is that inevitably we will fall short of perfection, we will compromise, we will give in to temptation. But even then we are called to stand in the truth which says that God has made a way through the cross for forgiveness and salvation, and through reliance on His holy Spirit in us we can live lives that are glorifying to Him. May we stand for truth in His strength not ours.
Disclaimer: I believe this is a key component of what it means to be a man of God and although I am phrasing it in that manner it would be good here to note that the points may equally well address this aspect of being a godly woman and in no way do I mean that to be a woman of God would be the opposite.
Currently working on his Master's degree in Toxicology, God has given him a heart for His Word and bringing the gospel to the nations. His current goal is pursuing tent-making missions in Asia upon graduation and trusting in God's plans as he seeks to share Christ with those around him.
One day I cried out to God, “Please, Get me out of here!” Spiritually, mentally and emotionally I was spent. So many incidents had led to my current conundrum; finding out about my husband’s affairs and potential other child, lack of self-value, not enough income, uninformed decision making and unresolved emotions to name a few. Even my enthusiasm for my cleaning company I enjoyed so much in the beginning was starting to wane in my mind. I had a lifetime of working in positions but up to this point not a whole lot of satisfying works. My dilemma was buried under my titles of wife, mother of a very blended family, pastor’s wife, minister and usually whatever else I needed to be at the time. These cycles were going to cause me to crash and burn if I didn’t do something fast.
Let Me Off This Rollercoaster Please!
After a couple of months, I moved out of what I knew as home and into a small apartment with my kids and the work began. The immense grief of the days ahead gripped me. My family as I knew it seemed to have been ripped away and I had been abandoned, betrayed, rejected and even more ridiculed. My heart cried for change for myself and my family, but I knew the work would have to start with me. I made a decision to get spiritually and naturally in-tune to where I was as a person and where I wanted to go: I knew that there was more to my faith and my life than this! I was missing something but what was it? My dreams of becoming a life coach; traveling speaker and servant in ministry seemed as far away as the Land of Oz.
My bridge to breakthrough would come from some deep soul searching and healing. The only way off the rollercoaster of repeat was to get off and commit to doing the work. I knew about the pit and the prison, and I was ready for some palace moments in my life.
Time for Work
This is never easy but necessary. To say the days ahead for me were trying is a colossal understatement, some days I thought I was losing it but I had found the missing piece. It was time to unpack the pain through prayer, bible study, support meetings and some very candid conversations. Out of this intentional time of what I like to call soul-work, I re-wrote a book and a follow-up work book. This was a great turning point but I still experienced inconsistent revenue and had yet to breakthrough into fully realizing my dreams of healthy relationships, speaking, financial wellness and coaching. So, where would I go from here? How could I or anyone else breakthrough? Well, there are several ways but let’s narrow them to three steps that revolutionised my existence:
Renew- renew your mind concerning your value. You are partially here not just because of what someone did to you but in some cases, what you allowed to happen over a period of time. You matter, act like it! By renewing your mind about your value and taking responsibility for where you are, you take power for your life. Be honest about where you have allowed people to de-value you and where you have devalued yourself or played small, then build yourself up and stay there. Protect your precious soul-work. The renewal stage includes getting rid of the victim mentality and taking ownership for knowing yourself, your needs and desires. You are God’s masterpiece!
Rededicate- Re-dedicate your efforts to dream again and take responsibility to write your life vision and make it plain so you can go with it! Do you need to go back to school? Change careers? Start a business? This is where you become intentional about what you want and how you want to feel. You can do this by creating a vision board, taking a life-skills class, most importantly get around other like-minded people on the journey to purpose. Keep toxins out! Even when you miss your target and you sometimes will; use mistakes and problems as fuel to learn new lessons on your journey of purpose, adding to your expertise. Pastor John Ramsey says, “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
Rhythm- Once you’ve gained momentum, keep it at strong regular repeated patterns to see results. Accept your life’s new rhythm it will give voice to your purpose! Unearthing pain and unprofitable habits helps you to clearly see how massively creative you are and that you were born for good works! Your new rhythm will look a lot like new circles, new jobs, and new freedom’s new doors opening, all to make room for the gifts you’ve discovered. If you allow, this new rhythm will give voice to your pain and purpose when given the right opportunity.
When you need a breakthrough, a common misconception is that it is an “aha moment” and it happens overnight. Breakthrough is as much about process as it is progress. I still had my cleaning business and my first speaking engagement did not come for months but I remained faithful in my giving and new healthy habits. When I walked in the auditorium to speak on breakthrough, I was a different person. I courageously stepped up to purpose and finished the assignment and I was blessed with an honorarium of $400! I opened myself up to answer God’s call on my life and increase showed up. So when you are tempted to give in to frustration because things aren’t moving fast as you’d like, maybe step away and check your state of mind; commit to praying, reflecting, and recalibrate by remembering how far you’ve come and where you want to go from here. You are worth the effort to advance your dreams and get off the rollercoaster of repeat and on to your purpose.
Kimberly Lee is a transformational leader, author and the director of the Bridge to Breakthrough Experience. She is fiercely committed to those who are processing their pain and yet pursuing their purpose so they can come into their own value, voice and life vision. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, runs a small company, and in her spare time you can find her spending time with family, creating videos for social media, teaching classes and honing her coaching skills. For more information and her book, you can find her on her website.