Strategy for Pure and Godly Manhood
1.) God’s precepts and commandments are the expression of who God is. Therefore, God’s commands to us as men are inseparable from the character, person and truthfulness of God. The moral imitation of our Heavenly Father is the key mark of a true child of God (see Eph. 5:1-14). God is FOR us – He is making us like Himself morally – that is the major way that He loves us! His precepts preserve us, protect us and provide for us. Moral purity starts with right thinking about our Heavenly Father’s holy purposes for us (these purposes work for our highest good and highest happiness).
2.) A clear conscience is POWER! It gives us confidence before God and before men. Paul lived with clarity of conscience as a ruling principle (Acts 24:15,16). The fear stirred up by a defiled conscience keeps us from enjoying God’s love and being perfected by that love (1 John 4:16-18).
3.) Obedience keeps us “on track” in God’s program for us as men. God’s program for us is wrapped up in Christ. Christ is the architect of the new man (Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 5:17). He regenerated us, making us new creatures with new desires. Christ is the blueprint of the new man (Col. 3:10; Rom. 8:29). We are being conformed to His image, the image (blueprint) of God’s Son. Christ is the contractor of the new man (Eph. 15,16; Col. 2:19). Our ongoing construction (sanctification) is managed by Christ – He gives the orders and supplies the power source for our change into His likeness. Christ is resident in the new man (Col. 1:27). He has taken up residence in the new creation which He has built – He is the occupant, dwelling in the new man. (The man who walks a sure course toward heaven keeps “putting on” the behaviors of the new man (Eph. 4:24).
4.) Because God is love and holiness, this is a moral universe. As a result, we are required to exercise delayed gratification. In other words, passion and self-indulgence sin against the character of God. They are antagonistic to love and holiness. This truth about God’s character affects all of our moral choices. It’s a bit of a paradox, but our moral choices for righteousness come with a temporary or immediate cost or sacrificial consequence. Our wrong moral choices come with an immediate gratification or positive temporary consequence. The key word is “immediate.” In the long run, there is a complete reversal! The benefits of right moral choices will bring long-term fruit. The opposite is wrong moral choices which “sacrifice the future on the altar of the present” and bring long-term woe.
5.) A man’s commitment to purity begins before he encounters his next temptation. Success in the face of temptation is joined to his decision to “make straight paths for his feet” (Heb. 12:13). As men, we already know where and what the sources of our temptation will be. We are to steer clear of these opportunities to sin. We are to avoid making a provision for sin (Rom. 13:14). Purity is only possible in this immoral generation if we refuse to be “sensual opportunists.” The Christian man who is developing moral backbone guards himself from being a passive responder to sensual stimuli. (The love of Christ puts steel in his backbone.)
6.) The pursuit of moral excellence is the warranty of genuine salvation (2 Pet. 1:5,9,10). The true child of God is known for his daily fight against sin. He never puts down his weapons until glory. Assurance of salvation comes from abiding in Christ (1 John 2:28).
7.) Determine ahead of time to be a bold witness for Christ. It’s amazing that the world is so shrewd in recognizing those who are not of it. When we take a stand for Christ and refuse to be a chameleon, the world will of its own volition withdraw much of its offer of “free” immoral pleasure. He who is regarded as a fool for Christ now will be a priest and king ruling with Him when the Lord returns. Good soldiers of Jesus Christ are willing to suffer hardship (2 Tim. 2:3).
8.) Like a fighter pilot who returns from his mission, do a “de-briefing” of your last serious temptation (moral battle). Analyze just where you became vulnerable in the “dogfight.” Record these findings in a journal and then look up Scripture that answers your areas of weakness and passion. Arm yourself to suffer (self denial) for the sake of righteousness – it is the Lord whom you serve (1 Pet. 4:1-6). Memorize or keep passages of Scripture close at hand in order that you might be prepared for your next encounter (Ps. 119:11; Eph. 6:17). Use temptation as a prompting to pray for strength (Eph. 6:18; Heb. 2:18).
9.) Set aside time each day to enjoy the Lord through worship. It is our joyful evangelical duty to focus our minds and hearts upon the perfections and excellence of the Lord. For it is by these majestic attributes that He has made us His eternal favored sons (2 Pet. 1:3,4). God’s perfections formed the promises that take us from defiled dust to eternal glory. These gospel promises have set us free from the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Pet. 1:4ff.). Use Ps. 103 and Ps. 145 as a model of how to pray back to God His perfections which have been exerted for our benefit and His glory.
10.) Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God. Christ has purchased your victory over sin’s dominion. It is your responsibility to enter into that victory by faith each day (Rom. 6:10,11), (even when you don’t feel like it). Reckoning yourself dead to sin and alive to God is your preparation forpresentation. In other words, each day we are to present ourselves to God (after considering ourselves dead to sin and alive to God). By that presentation we live in a way that says “I belong to the Lord.” Then, the instruments of our body are used to declare our loyalty to righteousness, our new master (Rom. 6:13,14).