Last night I gathered with about 65 men to enjoy a time of fellowship and worship. We ate, laughed, sang, listen to great teaching and enjoyed fellowshipping with one another. It was a time with men from many churches across Southeastern North Carolina for the purpose of encouraging each other in our walk with Christ. This time also provided encouragement for many to return home with a fire burning within their hearts to reach the men of their churches and communities.
The focus verse for the evening came from 1 Corinthians 15:58;
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
With the emphasis on being Steadfast and Immovable. There is so much men are struggling with they need encouragement from other men to be steadfast in their resolve to follow God. We need each other so we can be strong and immovable when it comes for standing for the things of God. As we looked at this we correlated it to the idols that is in our lives.
We watched a video from “33 The Series” titled ‘A Man and His Traps.’ As the video warned us we have allowed temptations and “traps” to neutralize our effectiveness as men. Too many of us have wrecked our lives and the lives around us. Too many of us are living in shame, guilt, and are in hiding. We looked at four key realities about our lives and how idolatry is framed in our lives today.
Often, we think of idolatry as being some stature or pagan worship that will evade our lives. But idolatry is really anything that we put before God; including our own personal wants and desires. For instance, feeling significant; always seeking approval. Because of events early in my life this is something I was always seeking in my young life. Even today, as a – uh..mmm… – senior adult, I still find that need creeping into my life. What we fail to realize in our walk with God is that anything, no matter how insignificant it may seem, if it takes our focus away from God can be construed as an idol.
Recently in my reading I found myself asking, “What does it mean to walk with God?” We can come up with a lot of answers like, “Doing His will.” “Spending time in the Word.” “Praying.” All are good answers and all we should be doing; but, I will submit there is more to being in an attitude of walking with God. Let me ask the question differently. What does it mean, ‘to walk with a friend?’ When you are walking with a friend or spending time with them your focus is on them. You are doing things together, talking, listening to one another. Nothing takes your focus away from that time with your friend. Walking with God should be taken with the same attitude.
So often we get up in the morning and we say, “Thank you Lord for another beautiful day. Allowing me to wake up to another day You have created.” And within a few short minutes we have wondered on to other things and we have forgotten all about God. We have allowed the idols of the world to creep into us and shift our focus from God to the busyness of the day.
The reason I asked myself this was because I recently thought of Enoch. You know, the man in Genesis where it said “Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him” (Gen. 5:24). Apparently, Enoch walked so closely with God that God decided to just take him home. Why do you think Enoch walked so closely with God? I believe it was because he focused his whole life on God. He didn’t let anything, or anyone distract him from focusing on his relationship with God.
This is what we need to do. Keep our focus on God. This is why we need men in our lives. Men who are seeking God and have a focus on God in their lives. This is why we need to gather as men from time to time. To help us be ‘Steadfast’ and ‘Immoveable.’
We ended in the evening with a “Prayer Huddle.” A time when we gather in a circle with our arms around each other’s shoulders; each taking a turn to speak one word of encouragement from the night, then we prayed. What a sight that was to look around and see men with their arms on the shoulders of other men, a symbol of being locked together to be Steadfast and Immoveable as we encourage each other to stay focus on God.
Men, don’t be a man of isolation. Gather with other men to help you be Steadfast and Immoveable in your walk with God.
Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men. – Mike