"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.