Nov 6, 2020
The Dirty (Half) Dozen Imperatives to Honor God
Last week I shared about my unfamiliarity with two-stroke engine and having to learn how to use a Husqvarna chainsaw that was given to me as a gift. That refurbished chainsaw taught a lesson to us all about setting our lives apart as men who honor God with our lives, in spite of having a jaded past. I shared three of the six “Dirty (Half) Dozen” imperatives to honoring God that Peter listed in 1 Peter 1:13-18. They were:
Dirty (Half) Dozen #1: “Prepare your minds for action” (13)
Dirty (Half) Dozen #2: Keep Sober in Spirit” (13)
Dirty (Half) Dozen #3: “Fix your hope completely on…Jesus Christ.” (13)
Here are the final three of our “Dirty (Half) Dozen” imperatives for the man who wants to honor God.
Dirty (Half) Dozen #4: Do not Be Conformed to Your Former Lusts (14)
As I confessed earlier, I had great cutting Albert Barnes power of the chainsaw in my hands but opted out, and by doing so rendered myself less powerful. How ludicrous! Like so many men, I surrendered my power. I chose the weaker, less effective, tools like the Sawzall and crosscut saw. I had the power at my disposal but forsook it.
You are reading this a few days after presidential election, and I do not know who will win as I type this on election day. But here is what I do know. My power is not found in any material possession, elected official, or social status. My power is unleashed on humanity when I surrender every lesser thing that competes with my soul for the power found in a life emptied for Jesus.
Bible Commentator Albert Barnes wrote, “Men will imitate the God they worship.”
The god we worship is simply the god we conform our lives to. The only other time the word conform is used in the New Testament is in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Dirty (Half) Dozen #5 Be holy in ALL Your behavior (15)
I was disappointed to recently see a Christian couple dress as a Playboy Bunny and Hugh Hefner, one of the greatest scumbags of our time, for Halloween. When confronted and asked why, the man responded, “It was fun.” It was fun to elevate a man whose entire life was about degrading and objectifying women! We wonder why the church is a mess.
Christians live different and that difference is better. Christians are called to a holy life. Hágios is properly, different, otherness, holy; for the believer, Hagios means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because we are “different from the world.” The core meaning of hágios is being different, set apart for God’ purposes.
Wayne Grudem in the Tyndale New Testament Bible Commentaries writes, “The idea of holiness for God’s people includes not simply a concept of ‘separation’ in general but a specifically moral sense of separation from evil and dedication to a life of righteousness.”
The chainsaw given to me was used, the original owner’s names was even painted on it, but it had been completely refurbished—like new.
Now it is better than ever and able to be used in the hands of its new owner for exactly what is was created for. Ah, you are tracking. This is Christian holiness. When God takes your messed up past and turns it into your message for His glory!
Dirty (Half) Dozen #6: Conduct Yourselves in the Fear of God (17)
While deer hunting last month, I almost stepped on a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. After doing the rattlesnake dance I “introduced it to Jesus” and added its rattles to my collection. I fear the potential of what a rattler can do if struck, which is why I dance when I see one!
Of fear, Wayne Grudem in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries writes, “Fear in this context means primarily ‘fear of God’s discipline’. The translation ‘reverent fear’ is too comfortable for modern readers, for it suggests mainly the idea of awe during worship and allows readers to avoid the concept ‘fear of discipline’.”
Paul would concur, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)”
In Orgon where I live, it seems like every man owns a chainsaw. It is a highly respected tool by all but also highly feared. One wrong move and you could easily lose a limb, or worse! Yes, these men respect the chainsaw, but they also fear what it is capable of if mishandled.
Holiness—a life that honors and is set apart for God—and fear go hand in hand. We love God but have healthy fear of what He can do and has done. Do I love the Lord? Yes! Do I also fear His Old Testament wrath, sacrifice of His son, and the pain I see allowed daily? Absolutely!
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 who 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 called The Arena that meets every Wednesday night at 7:05 that I can only describe as “special”. You need to check it out.