A Man You Would Write About
All of Scripture is ultimately about one person - Christ Jesus. The Old Testament not only alludes to Him and His first visit, but prophesied His arrival as well. The first part of the New Testament documents the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, The Messiah. While the later half of the New Testament deals with the creation of the church, the sustaining of the church and the return of Christ for His church. In this book of instruction that Christians call The Bible, Christ Jesus is viewed as the ultimate example or standard in all things.
There is a retired Christian band named 4Him that performed a song entitled "A Man You Would Write About". This song spoke about the desire and pursuit of being the type of Christ follower that people would write about favorably during and many years after the life of that person.
While Christ is the believer's forever model to follow, before Christ's arrival and after His ascension to God The Father - there were certain quality people that stood out who I believe Christians should study and emulate in addition to Jesus.
Here are some suggestions of key people in Scripture that I am looking at emulating and perhaps other believers in Christ might want to consider imitating. This is not an exhaustive list, but the additional Biblical people to mirror would be - Noah, Enoch, Joseph, David, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel and John the Baptist.
Why these particular individuals? The relationship these people had with God was honored by others. Family, friends, the public, servants, angels and God Himself honored the holy, intimate relationship they held with The Lord by recognizing God's presence, leadership and provision in their lives. Let us study to get a glimpse of why these relationships stand out?
Noah - "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked faithfully with God." (Genesis 6:8-9)
Those are some awesome qualities to possess. Noah was honored by God and the community. Why? Noah was "righteous" - in right-standing with God. He was "blameless among the people" which translated to a man of integrity and "he walked faithfully with God" which meant he was not wishy-washy with his beliefs in a world that was so wicked that God was soon to destroy it with the flood. Righteousness, integrity and faithfulness are great ingredients for honor in the believer's life and Godly favor in the Christian's life.
Enoch - "Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away."
Once again faithfulness is magnified. I believe this is important because God is faithful. One of His titles is Faithful and True found in Revelation 19:11. Notice that faithfulness is a walk, a journey, a lifestyle in a relationship with God - not an instant characteristic given as a gift, talent or skill. So, since steadfast faithfulness to God's precepts and relationship is important to Him, I believe we should walk in it always, like Enoch displayed. Who knows, perhaps one of us will be snatched up early also.
Joseph - "The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered," (Genesis 39:2) and "The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." (Genesis 39:23)
The Lord can be with anybody so that they are comforted, protected, counseled - whatever the need for the Lord to fill in that person's life is. For Joseph, the Lord blessed him with a type of Midas Touch. Everything Joseph put his mind and hand to in life, the Lord prospered and/or gave him success with.
Joseph followed God's leadings, promptings, visions and dreams in his life. This cost Joseph rejection from his own family. Trust in God is a huge lesson here. Wherever Joseph went and whatever situation he found himself in, Joseph flowed from God's counsel therefore he succeeded. But that success was all built on a foundation of trust in God's constant leadership and presence in his life.
David - Samuel, speaking to Saul says prophetically about David, "But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command." (1 Samuel 13:14) In addition, when the time came for Samuel to anoint the new king, God brought Samuel to the house of Jesse. "One of the servants answered, 'I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.'" (1 Samuel 16:18)
I find it interesting that of the whole household of Jesse, no one you might expect speaks up about David to put him forward as candidate for King of Israel - not David's father, nor mother, nor siblings, but a "servant". In addition, the servant saves the best characteristic for last - "And the Lord is with him." Could it be that the servant knows a servant spirit and immediately identified that in the shepherd boy, the shepherd king - David?
A servant spirit or serving characteristic serves one well. The return on developing this trait is enormous. Not only is it the better thing to give or serve than receive but Jesus says about both - "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)
Elijah - "Then Elijah said to them, 'I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets.'" (1 Kings 18:22) and "As they [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." (2 Kings 2:11)
Boldness and courageous zeal for the Lord are qualities Elijah exemplified. With no other prophet left to do the Lord's bidding, the mantle fell on Elijah and he wore it well. Even though Elijah, the mentor, had Elisha as a friend, Elisha was an apprentice and co-laborer of God and evidently not considered a full-time prophet. If you read Elijah's story you will come away with a sense of him being a man of God that took-the-bull-by-the-horns and got things done for the Lord. I believe the Lord rewarded Elijah's tenacity and no compromising of the faith and holy behavior with an early, living departure to Heaven, also known as a rapture.
Elisha - "When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?' 'Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,' Elisha replied." (2 Kings 2:9)
I cannot blame Elisha's request for the double portion of that incredible blessing on his mentor's life. After seeing his mentor and friend receive an early heavenly escort out of this life, I hope I would have asked for such a blessing as well. One of the proofs of this double portion being exemplified came after Elisha's death.
"Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet." (2 Kings 13:20-21)
Take-aways from Elisha's life that I observe are -passion for more of the things of God, continuation of a mentor's good work and establishing God-centered relationships.
Daniel - At the beginning of Daniel's exile to Babylonia, Daniel could be described by King Nebuchadnezzar as part of a group of - "young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace." (Daniel 1:4)
However, the angels of Heaven compliment Daniel also. Daniel is not called just esteemed by the heavenly beings but "highly esteemed". Gabriel, the chief messenger angel of Heaven, tells Daniel this in Daniel 9:23 then another angel echoes that sentiment in 10:11 and 10:19. Why? I believe because Daniel never compromised his faith in God for anything or anyone. Sounds like a re-occurring trait that requires attention, doesn't it?
John the Baptist - Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11:11)In this one statement, Jesus gives one of the greatest compliments to a family member ever and then sets the record straight with the word "yet". Jesus explains that He is the exception. There is someone greater than John because He or Jesus has made Himself least in the kingdom - Christ, the Servant Savior King (Philippians 2:6-11).
Cousin to Jesus, John the Baptist was the herald of Christ Jesus the Messiah. As the baptist, he was to baptize new converts into the kingdom of God. However, in addition to that duty, he fulfilled all that was required for Jesus to publicly acknowledge Father God and Father God to acknowledge Him in being baptized or emersed in water by John.
In this description of John by Jesus, Christ teaches He is not only greater than John but should be viewed as the believer's book ends, the least and the greatest in the kingdom, the servant and the master, through one of the largest compliments of a family member to ever have been made. This tells me that no matter what your station is in life, no matter your societal status or life experiences - Christ has loved us enough to experience it all and conquer it all. And that He can use us all for His glory.
Summary - According to Jesus, one of the highest compliments anybody could ever give a believer in Christ is - "I praise God for you." In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus was teaching on being light and salt to the world. Now-a-days to be salty means to be bitter, but the Word of God portrays being salty as flavorful and healthy. The last part of this passage Jesus instructs - "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:16)
You know the song "This Little Light Of Mine, I'm Going To Let It Shine"? I challenge all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, don't hide your light under a bushel, as the song says, or anything else, let it shine! I am going to try harder, with God's help, to remain in right-standing with God, live with integrity, trust more in God, be confident in my Godly role in life, be zealous and passionate for the things of the Lord, have a servant spirit about me, while being faithful and not compromising the faith.
That is plenty to work on, but I have The Holy Spirit to help me along The Way. Two of the traits emphasized in my study go hand-in-hand and I purposefully listed them last. Faithfulness and No Compromise. If I am not faithful, I have compromised. If I have compromised, I have violated my faithfulness. I pray that in all things Christ-like I will be faithful and in light of those men that came before Jesus that I have mentioned - I desire to be A Man You Would Write About.