Reality Check

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“Reality Checks” are devotional outlines for outdoor preachers and teachers that have worked well on Creation Safaris, in line with our motto Escape to Reality.  These lessons should be thought out with additional Scriptures, explanations, illustrations, and personal testimonies to make them your own.  Above all, handle with prayer.
 – David F. Coppedge

MIGHTY MEN OF VALOR
A lesson for boys and young men to inspire them to be all they can be in God’s master plan for men.

Theme:  it is a good and desirable thing to be strong and courageous, provided you give God the glory.  Don’t be a “wimp for Jesus.”

Key Verse: (to memorize): I Corinthians 16:13:
“Be on the alert; stand firm in the faith; act like men; be strong.”

  1. Many Biblical characters were described as "Mighty Men of Valor" (MMV):
    Other men described as "mighty" include Abraham (Gen 23:6, Rom 4:20); Moses (Acts 7:22); Daniel (Dan 1:3-4); John the Baptist (Lk 1:80); Apollos (Acts 18:24-28); the great heroes of the faith (Heb 11:32-34).

    Even God applied the MMV analogy to Himself: Isaiah 42:13.  He wouldn’t use this figure of speech if it did not represent something honorable.

    Conclusion:  It's OK to be a Christian and be a real man, too.  You'll be in good company; the Bible is full of "men of God."  (Doesn't "wimp of God" sound like a contradiction in terms?)

  2. Balancing considerations
    1. Some evil men were MMV's: Nimrod (Gen 10:8-9); men of Jericho (Josh 6:2-3); men of Moab (Jud 3:29); idolators of Dan (Jud 18:2); Benjamite sinners (Judg 20:44); Jeroboam (I Ki 11:28); Philistines (I Sam 4:9); Absalom (I Sam 14:25).
      Point:  Being mighty is not exclusively characteristic of spiritual men.  This does not imply, however, that it isn't a godly and worthy goal for spiritual men (I Cor 16:13).
    2. What about I Cor 1:26-29? (not many mighty are called.)
      God calls us weak and makes us strong to confound those who are strong in their own eyes: see Heb 11:34.  Ex: Gideon, Moses.
    3. What about Jer 9:23-24? (let not mighty man boast.)
      The passage does not demean valor, just boasting about it.
    4. What about II Cor. 12:7-10? (I will boast in my infirmities.)
      Paul, who wrote this, was a MMV (II Cor 11:26-28).  What he's saying here is that when he is at the end of his strength (weak) God comes through and receives greater glory.  On other occasions Paul himself used the analogy of strong men in a good sense: II Tim 2:1-6, I Cor 9:24-27, I Cor 16:13.
    5. What about tenderness/sensitivity (Eph 4:32)?
      Not mutually exclusive with manliness.  David had both.  You don't have to be a "crude rude dude" to be a MMV, but while being a gentleman, be able to rise to the occasion with courage and confidence in God.

  3. What is real manliness? (read I Cor 16:13, key verse)
    1. Movie image (false)--real man drinks a lot of beer, listens to raunchy music, uses profanity, blows away anybody in the way (Rambo), and is promiscuous.  None of these require strength or courage—in fact, they are often marks of weakness and/or immaturity.
    2. Thesaurus under "manly"—vigorous, strong, masculine, dignified, straightforward, courageous, honorable, stouthearted, hale and hearty, gallant, heroic, lusty, adventurous, determined, firm, virile, robust, muscular, gentlemanly, valiant, valorous, intrepid, rugged, dashing, chivalrous.
    3. Don't be a W.I.M.P.— Example: murmuring Israelites (Num. 14:1-3)
                      Weak/worrying,        Immature/irresponsible,
                      Murmuring             Party animal or (couch) potato
                      
    4. Be a mighty man of V.A.L.O.R.— Role model: Caleb (Num 13:30, Josh 14:6-14).
                      Vigorous/victorious,                Alert/adventurous,
                      Laboring leader,                    Optimistic,
                      Righteous.

  4. Strength is honored in the Bible.  We are commanded to be strong.
                    Job 38:2-3  God to Job: "Stand up, and gird your loins like a man"
                    Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord and be of good courage
                    Prov 20:29  The glory of young men is their strength
                    Prov 24:5-6 A wise man is strong; a man of understanding increases strength
                    Josh 1:6-9  God to Joshua: "be strong and very courageous"
                    I Chr 28:10 David to Solomon: "Be strong, and do it"
                    I King 2:2  "Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man"
                    Isa 35:4    Say to those who are fearful, "be strong!"
                    Dan 10:19   Angel to Daniel: "Be strong, yes, be strong!"
                    Dan 11:32   Daniel prophesies that the godly will be strong
                    Hag 2:4     Haggai commands the people and leaders to be strong
                    Eph 6:10-18 Be strong in the Lord, put on the armor of God, stand
                    Col 1:11-12 Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power
                    2 Tim 1:7   God has not given spirit of fear, but of power/discipline
                    2 Tim 2:1-6 You therefore my son, be strong in the grace of Christ
                                like a soldier, warrior, athlete, hard-working farmer
                    Heb 12:12   Strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees
                    I Jn 2:14   I have written to you, young men, because you are strong
    
  5. How do I become a MMV?  Answer: Work from the inside out (by faith):
                    Eph 3:16    Strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
                    Phil 4:13   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
                    Heb 11:34      "By faith" ... out of weakness were made strong, became valiant
    

Practical tips:  Get your faith and character strong first.  Then, let a godly manliness show through in your voice, dress, handshake, countenance, mannerisms, posture, and physical fitness.

Activity:  Practice a manly, adventurous spirit on this Creation Safari.  Take responsibility, show respect, exercise leadership when appropriate, have a “can do” attitude, and take part in all the challenges with godly optimism.

Have group memorize I Cor. 16:13 and drill each other.