SPEAKING OF FAITH: Change of Address

by Oct 15, 2023OPINIONS0 comments



“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”-Billy Graham, 2018.

Much of present-day Christian rhetoric has evolved around the Beattitudes and the teachings of Jesus about humility, meekness, peacemaking, love, peace, and forgiveness. We know these are good, and our attitudes of thankfulness and gratefulness require us to soften our demeanor and treat others as we want others to treat us. There is nothing wrong with these gentle and peaceful actions and thoughts.

Recently, an article discussed how this constant dialog and message is not good for the church, especially men, because it denies their desire to lead, be a force of nature, and be known as men of God. The constant communication to become meek and mild falls deafly on men leaders. They specifically do not want to hear it consistently as what a Christian should be. The consequences in many churches are the tuning out of men from like sermons and church altogether. Another consequence is the creation of men without salt, conviction, leadership spirits, and vigor to lead Christian lives as ambassadors and witnesses for the glory of God.

Men want to be men. God wants men to be men. Christian men. So how can you be masculine and manly while being asked to be a Christian wimp?

Read 2 Timothy 1:7. No fear! Joshua is one of my favorite Old Testament heroes. God tells Joshua from the very beginning, in verse 1:9 to be strong and courageous.

There is a balance and it is a balance that requires wisdom to manage effectively as a Christian. Paul says to his church, “Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you.” 2 Corinthians 10.1.

The passage sounds like Paul might be living two different lives. When I am with you, I am a nice guy, but I am a tough guy when I am away from you.

Why? Do you ever hear of anyone as bold or as tough as Paul? Yeah, Jesus. Think of all the junk Paul went through to stand as a Christian. Do you need a model tough guy? Paul fits that description. It is Paul who essentially says, what can mortals do to me? They can only change my address. Because if I am not here in the body, I am with Christ my Lord in heaven. “…we are of good courage, I say and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

Jesus tells us who to fear and the only one we need to fear.

“And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom ye shall fear. Fear him, who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him.” Luke 12:4-5

What a dichotomy! Fear the one who gives you the courage to fear no one. Trust in Him and understand that the One you fear ensures you need not fear others. He is great and mighty and will not forsake you. Though you might die in this world, you will live forever with Him.

Does it sound like I am recruiting suicide bombers! I am saying, men, be bold and hear God’s word. I am not the one saying it. It is His word that says in Psalm 56:10-13.

“In God (I will praise his word). In Jehovah (I will praise his word). In God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid; What can man do unto me? Thy vows are upon me, O God; I will render thank-offerings unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death; Hast thou not delivered my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?”

That is not a suicide bomber. That is a sound Christian to walk before God in the light of life. Kingdom living.

So, are you tough? Do you want to be a tough guy? Try being a Christian in this world.

Many of you may not know Alice Cooper. He was a theatre rocker back in the seventies and considered the Godfather of Shock Rock. He was a radical. He wrote and performed many controversial and rebellious songs that the youth of that era admired. Alice Cooper said, “Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s real rebellion” (Alice Cooper, Christian Quotes, 2012). He turned his life and his addictions around with the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ. Do you think it might have been tough for him to stand up and be counted and held accountable as a Christian? Can you?

Not tough enough? What have you got to lose? What have you to gain? Weigh it. Get tough. Fear nothing. Trust God.

From Preacher Spurs, Lamont H. Fuchs Ed. D., 2022, Christian Faith Publishing. Used by permission of the author.