Influencers Weekly Devotional
Friday, July 27, 2012
No Man Left Behind
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
I was in a fraternity in college. When I went through the pledge program, I learned a very strict rule that was emphasized very emphatically by the brotherhood. We were NEVER to be alone. We were called “plebes” and our fellow “plebes” were our “plebe pals”. If you ever got caught without a plebe pal at your side by one of the brothers, you were in big trouble! For all the nonsense that comes with a fraternity pledge program, I will say that some of these rules truly had some merit. Going through the rigors of this pledge program, always with a brother at your side, built a very real sense of unity that I still experience today with those who participated.
I’ve been seeking to help men find Christ and learn to walk with Him for the past 16 years. I’ve learned some things about men and their behavior, and I’ve learned many things about myself as well. I see clearly that God never intended us to go on this Faith journey alone! This idea of the Clint Eastwood macho man on the open plains by himself, without a need for anyone else in his life, is not from God. However, Satan tempts each one of us to go at it alone. He makes it look attractive to be independent and unattached. It arouses our egos and makes us feel tough.
The truth is that we are weaker when we are alone. Whenever I am leading a Journey Group and one of my men withdraws, it throws up a red flag for me. So often, when men are struggling, they pull away. Satan tells them they are weak and worthless, and facing a group of fellow brothers who seem to have it all together will only make them feel worse. Men make choices to fight their battles alone. Many times, men are indulging the sinful nature, living secret lives, so they must remain isolated, so as not to reveal their true identity. Once again, this is a ploy of Satan. Just like the lion which attacks the member of the herd which has separated from the group, Satan wants to get us alone.
Just look at the life of our Lord Jesus. Two times we see where Satan went directly after Him. First, and most famously, is the temptation in the desert. Before Jesus began His public ministry, He was forced to endure a difficult season of testing and tempting for forty days. Satan came at Him from every angle possible, trying to get Him to stumble. Jesus was alone during this time. At the end of the trial, it says in Luke 4:13 “he left Him until an opportune time.” So, when was that “opportune time?” I believe it was in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus faced His destiny with the cross, He faced His biggest moment of weakness in His fleshly body. As His disciples fell asleep and left Him alone, He prays, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 It says God sent an angel to strengthen Him, but it says, “Being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44
Jesus knew how much we need each other. He knew the risks of facing Satan alone. That’s why He gathered a group of 12 men to teach them how to live this life for God. Granted, there are moments in life when, like Jesus, we may have to face some battles alone. In those moments, He says, “Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:46 There are also times that God wants us to experience intimate fellowship with Him. This was modeled also by Jesus who often withdrew from the men for times of prayer. However, most of the time, Jesus was with His band of brothers.
Guys, in our Journey groups, we encourage men toward that intimate, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. That is where it all starts. That is where we learn to feast on God’s Word, where we learn to Pray, where we connect with the Holy Spirit. However, we recognize this spiritual truth that we should not go on this Journey alone. We need each other. As men bond together in a Journey group, we see a supernatural strength develop and a momentum that could not develop otherwise. We see enlarged vision and increased capability. We see a shield of faith which Satan has difficulty penetrating.
So, as you read this, let me ask you. Do you find yourself alone? Have you withdrawn from other Christian men, perhaps from your family? If so, are you doing it because you are spending extended time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Or is it something else? Why are you resisting the fellowship of brothers in Christ? I encourage you to fight through this temptation and reach out for help. Don’t remain isolated! Join a Journey Group or call a brother you respect for lunch. If you went through a Journey Group and are now back on the sidelines by yourself, perhaps it’s time to get back in the game.
If you are already connected to a group of men, look around you. Do you see anyone in your sphere of influence who has pulled away? You know who I’m talking about. I believe the Holy Spirit puts these men on our minds for a reason. These are the men He wants us to pursue. Pray for them. Call them. Invite them to lunch just to see how they are doing. Invite them to your next Journey Group. Guys, the battle is fierce, and if Satan can take out the men, he takes out families, businesses, communities, churches. Don’t let that happen!
Just like “Influencer” in “The Journey to the Inner Chamber”, who is riding his horse through the refugee camp, scanning the horizon for a man in need, it’s time for us to get on our horses and ride. Let’s leave “No Man Left Behind!”
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Links & Resources
Influencers- Bakersfield, CA
Influencers-Bayside Church, Northern California
Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest"
Tulsa Men of Christ
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