Having spent yesterday evening listening to Mark Driscoll with church leaders, this morning’s MenMakers conference was a men’s event. The aim of the conference was to help us become “real men.” Sadly I will not be able to cover the whole event as we need to return to London. I will cover two sessions, however.
The first one was taken by the leader of the Destiny network of churches, Andrew Owen, who spoke about being “tested to making point.” God said to Solomon, “Be the man.” What does that look like? What makes a man? Jesus is the model man. Andrew took us to Luke 4 and the temptations of Jesus. No man has changed our world more than Jesus. Jesus must have told his disciples this story. He shared his private life with his disciples.
Why is there a need for a test? Most people don’t like tests. But we are glad when we visit a doctor or dentist to know that they are certified. God tests us so we will be ready for new heights. Adam failed the test. Jesus is the second man and the last Adam. Like Adam, he is tested. Unlike Adam, Jesus passed the test. We can become like him and be real men.
We need to know our strengths and weaknesses. Our life with God begins with weakness, not strength. God wants to highlight our desperate utter need of him. Whatever we want to accomplish in our lives requires his unmerited grace. If your life is such that it wouldn’t make a difference if God didn’t show up, then it is too small.
Jesus was tested first to prove that he was the son of God. The last words Jesus probably heard before this were those God the Father said at his baptism when he had said this is my Son. We live in a competitive world and we can slide into a prove-it world. We can never do enough to satisfy that. Let God do what he is meant to do, and we should do what we can do. God is the one who builds the Church. Jesus’ reply to Satan was, “It is written . . .” He aligns himself with God. Our identity is in God’s words about us.
Jesus’ second temptation was to worship Satan. We live in a fame culture. Popularity, success, and self-gratification are seductive. We are not to be those with an unhealthy ambition. Jesus knew that his destiny was for the world to be under his rule. He was being offered the same thing, but with a short-cut. Jesus knew what crucifixion would be like. He would have seen the crosses that littered Palestine. He knew what was coming to him. Here was a chance to get it without the pain. We are tempted sometimes to do it in a way that isn’t God’s way. We are not born to be blessed, but to be a blessing. We were born to make a difference. Our challenge is to purposely serve the cause of Christ and his kingdom.
Jesus’ third temptation was to throw it all away. When we are in God’s will, we walk under God’s protection. Satan can’t take us out. He can entice us to take ourselves out. God doesn’t want us to throw it all away. There is sometimes a false drive to sensationalism. You have to believe in the supernatural to be a Christian. If you don’t believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, you are not a Christian. We need the supernatural to be born again. But why stop there? We need the supernatural for our normal, not-so-sensational lives.
We must learn how to navigate life successfully. We need fixed coordinates in our life. What are the defined points? What is our course? What does God want for our lives? The fixed points are the Word of God, a non-negotiable. Jesus is our example. Commitment to God and our family are fixed. We need to keep in a good relationship with God. Then we will miss the shipwreck opportunities in our lives.
God is committed to bring us through to where he wants us to be. We might feel that we have blown it. But God wants to put us on the right path again. Let’s live for a cause that is bigger than ourselves. We might live for a vision, but we will die for a cause. We need to re-Christianize Europe. We must give our lives for something that is worth living for. We are not to be insignificant. We must pass tests and then do what God has planned for us.