When you go to Outback Steakhouse, you can order the coconut shrimp, or a salad. But is that why a man goes to Outback Steakhouse? A seasoned, seared steak is why I go. That’s their signature. That’s what a steakhouse is known for, and that’s why I put my name in, wait for a table, and lay down an Andrew Jackson when I’m done. Nothing against veggies, but it’s definitely not for the salad.
If "God’s man" is your identity—your signature, to borrow from our Outback Steakhouse analogy—then the main characteristic your spiritual life hangs on is one thing: faith expressed through obedience. This was the test for Adam in the Garden. This was the issue when He told Noah to build the boat. This was the gauntlet for Abraham when God asked him to leave home and "go to the land where I show you" with no clue where that was. It was the issue with Moses bringing Pharaoh a message from his Maker. Obedience was the issue when Joshua and God’s people crossed the Jordan River. Not taking God at His Word was King Saul’s flaw but was King David’s strength (mostly). The legacies of the Kings in the Old Testament were based on whether they did evil or good "in the sight of the Lord" during their reign. You get the picture. You can look like a duck but if you don’t waddle and quack, you are a decoy.
Actually, I often need this reminder myself: I know way more than I obey. I'm far more educated in what I need to be thinking and doing than I actually pull off in my real time, day-to-day choices. So my goal, and the goal of every "God's man," is to close that gap as best as he can. King David got pretty far on this one when other men fell short (King Saul in this case). God described him this way, compare and contrast style:
"After Saul had ruled forty years God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I have searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him’” (Acts 13:22, MSG, emphasis mine).
What does God like to see most in us when He speaks into our lives? Inner agreement matched by prompt obedience. If we’re known for anything, it should be for our willingness to respond to God’s direction in the face of great personal risk. It’s easy to obey in our pleasures but it’s not so easy in our pains. The real measure of God’s man is: Will you do what God tells you to do, even when it means losing:
- a relationship,
- a good feeling,
- a secret,
- a job opportunity,
- your image at church,
- a dream,
- control over the outcome,
- or simply your way?
Loss for the sake of loss is stupidity. But suffering a loss, real or imagined, for obedience to Christ is faith at its very best. The reason God loves prompt obedience is that it exposes the authentic God’s man from the synthetic poser.
"We know that we have come to know the Lord if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him” (I John 2:3-5).
Heavy words. That's why it's called beef. Think about 'em.
Kenny Luck is the Men's Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is also the Founder and President of Every Man Ministries which helps churches worldwide develop and grow healthy men's communities. Please visit www.everymanministries.com for more information.