A Man or Woman of God
The Bible provides many instructions to enable us to perceive in our mind a picture of a man of God. Some components that depict such a man or woman of God are:
➤ Growing in the Lord
➤ Accepting our faults
➤ Breaking of bread
➤ Desiring Christ’s appearing
1) Growing in the Lord It is important for us to assess whether we are growing into the stature of Christ or regressing. Sometimes it is difficult because we find it hard to see our own failings when we are what we have chosen to be.
There is a benefit for us to continually review our lives, our thinking, our priorities and what we do and deem to be important. We need to be measuring ourselves by the heroes of faith, mostly following the superlative example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Daily reading the word of God and seeking the help of our Father in prayer, are crucial in the need for growth in Christ. “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves” (James 1:22).
2) Self-examination Self-examination is one of the important things we are called upon to do as believers of Christ Jesus. It is good that we should all be aware of, and sensitive to, exhortations that touch upon known weakness and failings. We find it hard to see ourselves as others see us or, more importantly, how God sees us. The problem lies in the flesh, the heart, the mind of men, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). Only God can, truly see us because He knows our thoughts - He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Therefore, as servants of the Lord, we must recognise how deceitful the human heart is, how prone to defend itself against criticism, even when we know it to be justified and true and we must also forgive and to learn to ask for forgiveness. 3) Accepting our faults A believer of Christ who practices self-examination eventually accepts his/her faults or sins. When we are under accusation or allegation, we tend to become very self-justifying and refuse to accept the guilt before God for our real sins for which we should feel guilty.
We should, of course, welcome constructive criticism of our character and be thankful that someone has been courageous enough to speak with us about a fault or a sin. For many times we become experts at diagnosing the faults or sins in others whilst being blind to our own shortcomings. This is not a characteristic that we ought to have as a brother or sister (Mat 7:3). Judgement upon our fellows belongs to God who will determine who goes on the right hand or the left. We need to be more aware of personal weakness and sin and learn to ask forgiveness. There is a responsibility to speak to a brother/sister about a fault or sin, albeit discreetly, all the time being conscious of our own shortcomings. We need to remember how frail we are, and that we are utterly dependent on the grace of God. For we ourselves are nothing and have nothing (Job 1:21; 1 Tim 6:7). Pride and selfishness come before a fall. We just need to be spiritually attentive to fleshly desires that can lead us astray and intoxicate us so that we have a mistaken view of our own importance. Paul the apostle calls upon us to be “kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).
4) Breaking of bread The memorial service is the most important time in our week. The word of exhortation is designed to prepare our minds to share in the bread and wine - the symbols of the Lord’s body and blood given for us (1 Cor 11:23-32). Reflection and introspection is needed so that we should not eat and drink unworthily, so coming under condemnation at the last day (1 Cor 11:29).
5) Desiring Christ’s appearing Where there is a will there is a way.
An important attribute of a man of God is a firm belief in the return of Christ and the setting up of God’s glorious kingdom on earth. By having lived a life focused on that wonderful time now, giving diligence to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:11).
Bro Isidore Mwibeleca (Nyarugusu, Tanzania)