Oct 29, 2020
The Dirty (Half) Dozen Imperatives to Honor God
I was recently given a Husqvarna chainsaw from my Mom’s man friend, Kelly “Chainsaw” Dodge. I nicknamed him “Chainsaw” because he loves refurbishing old “Husky” chainsaws into better than new condition. To him, owning any other saw makes you less of an American. My chainsaw gift taught me a great lesson on honoring God from 1 Peter 1:13-18 that every man should know about.
1 Peter 1:13-18 (NASB)
Subtitles of this section vary based on your translation (NASB offers no subtitle). New International Version subtitles it, “Be Holy”, “Called to Be Holy” in the English Standard Version, and “Living Before God our Father” according to the New King James Version.
If I were to subtitle this section, it would have gone with none of the above, opting instead for, “The Life that Honors God”. Sadly, all of the above implies a tragic truth of Christendom, that there many “Christians” who do not honor God with their lives. The hope is that you will assess which category you fall under after you read through what I call the Dirty (Half) Dozen Imperatives for the man who honors God.
Here is the passage:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.”
Dirty (Half) Dozen #1: “Prepare your minds for action” (13)
I have avoided engines all my life. Why? Because I am unfamiliar with them and can never get them started. It is only recently that I have grown a little more familiar. Two-stroke engines have similar operating systems—pull the choke, pump the gas bubble a few times, pull the cord 1-3 times, put the half-way in, pull to start, and put the choke all the way in.
William Barclay writes, “In the middle east, men wore long flowing robes, which hindered fast progress or strenuous action. Around the waist, they word a broad belt; and when strenuous action was necessary, they shortened the long robe by pulling it up within the belt to give themselves more freedom of movement. The English equivalent of the phrase would be to roll up one’s sleeves or to take off one’s jacket.”
In my ignorance, I avoided the two-stroke engine just as many of you have avoided the Bible. But that is no excuse for a believer, especially a man who should know the Word better than anyone in his family. Biblical ignorance is the excuse of the weak, lazy, and afraid. You have to read the manual to understand the operating system of an engine and faith in Jesus.
Dirty (Half) Dozen #2: “Keep Sober in Spirit” (13)
Probably the biggest reason why a chainsaw won’t start is that the engine is flooded due to a clogged fuel filter from too rich of a mixture of fuel. “Clear gas” (Matthew 5:8) with no pollutants and the right mixture is needed.
We live opulent lifestyles that hinder us. They do not serve us well—comfort never does. Just as a fuel that is too rich chokes out (Luke 8:14) the engine from starting or running efficiently, an overindulgent life leads to mental or physical intoxication. Do not overindulge it anything that desensitizes, numbs, or alters your spirit’s passion for God.
Wayne Gruden, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries writes, “Be sober forbids not only physical drunkenness but also—since the phrases before and after have to do with attitudes of mind—letting the mind wander into any other kind of mental intoxication or addiction which inhibits spiritual alertness, or any laziness of mind which lulls Christians into sin through carelessness.”
In other words, anything that numbs your spirit through physical drunkenness OR mental intoxication must be executed with a vengeance and without mercy!
Dirty (Half) Dozen #3 “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (13)
Wiley Online Dictionary, “In the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.”
I had a perfectly good chainsaw that sat in my shed for three years without use. Why? I had flooded the engine with a toxic gas mixture and had no hope of fixing it. It sat there until I gave it away!
I resorted to limbing trees with a Sawzall and hand saw! Oh, how fast we will fall without hope! If your hope in God’s promise is broken, fix it! Don’t give it away or hang it on some obscure shelf of your heart.
Has life left you wounded? Are you filled with questions? Is your faith shattered? Is your hope broken? Fix it. Transcend your feelings and do what is right by setting your sights on Jesus.
Boots on the Ground
In my 30 years of full-time ministry, I have found that those who stay broken, hopeless, and wounded are the men to choose to remain isolated in the figurative tool shed, unwilling to get outside of themselves. Men in the Arena offers local and virtual teams for any man willing to take the risk. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
If you live in the northern Oregon area, we have a weekly gathering call The Arena that meets every Wednesday night at 7:05 that I can only describe as “special”. You need to check it out.
TO BE CONTINUED…