Written by author Bennie Mostert
We cannot really describe him, but we know when someone truly is “a man of God”. When you do encounter such a man, you just know. They carry a mysterious, unexplainable character, and it has nothing to do with titles, position, eloquence, gifts and success. Such a person often seems rather insignificant.
A man of God commands respect without words and he is awe-inspiring, but it is not respect and awe regarding the man himself. In an inexplicable way, we instinctively know that God is in this man.
A man of God has the “fragrance” of God resting on him. His presence awakens hope and brings life, and it draws you, brings peace and faith. But God’s presence in him also brings the fear of the Lord, conviction of sin, reduces our many words and destroys human arguments and wisdom. One moment people are know-it-all’s, they have advice for everyone, and they are only too aware of themselves and their importance. But when the presence of God walks into their midst, carried by a man of God, they suddenly realise their own worldliness, lack of spiritual power and insight, and become intensely aware of the fact that they know only in part and understand only in part (1 Corinthians 13:9).
Bible references to “the man of God”
We repeatedly find the expression “man of God” in the Bible:
“Look, in this town, there is a man of God [Samuel]: he is highly respected …” -1 Samuel 9:6
“Now I know that you [Elijah] are a man of God.” – 1 Kings 17:24
The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says …” -1 Kings 20:28
“If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven” … Then the fire of God fell from heaven … – 2 Kings 1:12
“I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.” – 2 Kings 4:9
… Elisha, the man of God … – 2 Kings 5:8
… the sons of Hanan …the man of God. – Jeremiah 35:4
… David, the man of God. – Nehemiah 12:24
… Moses, the man of God. – 2 Chronicles 30:16
But you, man of God, flee from all this … – 1 Timothy 6:11
So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:17
Paul writes to Timothy and calls him a “man of God”. To be a man of God though, is not reserved for Timothy only. It can be true for every believer today – that includes every man. It is clear from 2 Timothy 3:17: “So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
What comes to mind when you contemplate your own life? Are you a man of God? Be encouraged; God wants you to be a ‘man of God’! What a thought: to be God’s man of God! Just think how much it will glorify the Name of God! What a possibility. What a privilege. What a responsibility.
Why are there so few men of God?
In his book Needed – Men of God, Zac Poonen gives three reasons why today there are so few men of God. There are so many people who are not honest, who are such hypocrites: who live with lies in their hearts and are full of pretence, who have the guise of godliness, but not its power. We present ourselves as holier than we really are. We say one thing, but in our hearts, we think something else, and with our hands, we do things that are not in keeping with our words.
A second reason is the great lack of discipline in our lives. The prevalent overriding spirit of lawlessness today views almost everything related to dedication and discipline as legalistic. In Romans 8:13 and 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul makes it clear that we cannot live spiritual lives and gain the victory if we do not discipline our bodies with their cravings, our will, emotions and minds. Anything is tolerated today; we say what we want, do what we want, think what we want, give in to our cravings and emotions and think it will have no effect at all on our spiritual lives.
Thirdly, we don’t make time for God. Our time is ours. We are so busy and often try to fit God in somewhere – and it doesn’t work. God is too big to fit in somewhere. God must fill the whole space of our hearts, minds, will and emotions. God is too big to live in half a heart. There must be time to spend with God in solitude; there must be silence in which God can be heard. We must be able to wait long enough until all the voices inside us have died down, and we hear only God’s voice. This requires time, silence and solitude. There is no substitute for this. One-minute devotionals for busy people are not the answer. We cannot grow spiritually if we try to survive on instant foods. There are no shortcuts to becoming and being men of God. We need time to study the Word, to reflect on it and make it a part of our lives. Until it can also be said of us what was said of Elisha: “The word of the LORD is with him.”(2 Kings 3:12).
A fourth reason that one can add is that we find popularity, friendship, the opinions and acceptance of people more important than friendship with God, His views and His acceptance. We fear people more than we fear God. The Word says: Fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is also written: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). It is because there is so little fear of God that there is so little wisdom in the world today. The fear of God brings wisdom for the man of God.
In the fifth place, when we don’t live our lives from the perspective of eternity, when we do not evaluate life here on earth and understand it in the light of heaven and hell, we lose the power and insight to be men of God. Without a clear awareness of heaven and hell and the knowledge that people go to only one of two places after death, the calling to be a man of God makes no sense. Jesus, the Son of God, came to tell people about heaven and to warn them about the reality of hell.
Read the parables of Jesus again. Look at what He taught and take note how many times He referred to heaven and/or hell. As men of God, we have the same calling that Jesus had – to make people aware of heaven and warn them about hell. But today it has become “improper” and “unpopular” to talk about hell.
In the sixth place, a man of God must be a servant. We do not take kindly to the idea of being regarded as a servant. How do I know that I am truly a servant? Jesus emptied Himself, and took on the nature of a servant, a slave, and came to serve us (Philippians2:5-11). This He came to do as the Son of God. Are we nobler than He is, more important than the Lord? We read about Elisha, the man of God; he is the man who poured water on the hands of Elijah (2 Kings 3:11). In those days, pouring water on the hands of someone was the work of servants and slaves. Can you imagine that it is announced at a gathering today (when the person’s curriculum vitae is presented) that this person is someone who serves others? Unheard of. But this is how the Word of God introduces the man of God, Elisha, to us. And this is what we read about Jesus, the Son of God: He poured water on the feet of His disciples and washed their feet. This was a servant’s job.
Men of God are not after reputation or recognition. They seek God and Him alone.
Are we servants there where we live and work? Who put the garbage out, who bend down to pick up the piece of paper that fell, who carry the dirty dishes to the kitchen? Do we sometimes make the beds (not because we would like to be seen doing it)?
What do you think are God’s thoughts?
A few years ago, a young man spent time in a prayer room and experienced the Lord asking him four questions. These questions have to do with the very being of our life here on earth and the purpose of our existence. It is worthwhile to repeat them here.
What do you want me to do for you?
Do I really know what I want from God? Is this all I want to ask the Lord for? Will this that I ask last me a lifetime? Is this all I think God wants to give me? Is this all I think He can give me?
What will you do with it if I give it to you?
Is it for my own good that He gives it to me? Will it bring blessings to others if He lets me have it, or will it benefit only me and perhaps be to someone else’s disadvantage?
Do you know what I want from you?
Do I really know what it is that God expects from me? Do I know what the purpose of my creation is on earth and do I understand it? Do I know what God has in mind for me? Do I have a deep desire to know what God wants from me, and when I know it, to do it and to give Him what He asks? What is there that I would not want God to ask of me and that I will not see my way clear to give if He should ask it?
What do you think I will do with what I ask of you?
Do I trust God with my whole life? Do I understand His character? Are there any areas in my life where I don’t allow Him? Do I trust Him, unconditionally? Do I trust God’s plan for my life? Are my thoughts and emotions around God and His plan for my life in keeping with that which the Word teaches us about God’s character?
Find a quiet place, enough time and a notebook. Write down these questions and place them before the Lord. Talk to God about this and write down what you want to talk to God about, as well as that which you experience the Lord saying to you about this.