This past week I found myself taking two different “assessments” to help me determine those things that lie within me as strengths and weaknesses. Of the results, one was not surprising to me at all, I read the conclusions and agreed with the assessment. The other was more revealing to me. For in it “they” saw things in me that I didn’t know about and therefore could not see. I was glad to have taken both assessments.
Probably because of those assessments, I began some self-evaluation. Then, this phrase BURST into my thinking – “the measure of a man“. I don’t know why, where it came from or the origins of the phrase, but I determined to pursue it, because, here I was considering within me, what my measure was, how was I measuring up, and by what do I measure my life. What, in fact, is the measure of a man?
After sweeping aside the current and ridiculous arguements about what is a man or a woman, and following some shallow search, I discovered that the phrase was pretty much made popular by two speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958. His speeches, (What is Man? and The Dimensions of a Complete Life) were so highly regarded by the attendees at those speeches, that they were published together in a book entitled, “The Measure of a Man”. Voila!
In his “What is Man?” speech, Dr. King addresses what he considers to be the “most important questions confronting any generation”, proposing that man is “a biological being, a spirit being who is made in the image of God, and a sinner in need of God’s divine grace”.
“In his “The Dimensions of a Complete Life”, King finally asks God: “help us to discover ourselves, to discover our neighbors, and to discover thee and to make all part of our life.” (1)
“Help us to discover ourselves” is such a wise and powerful request, and not just for Dr. King.
For when we dare to look within ourselves, to honestly assess what lies there, we will find things that are not at all surprising to us and then again, we will discover those things that we had no idea about, hidden in those deep recesses.
We are right to look within and discover. We are right to assess our strengths, weaknesses, our right and our wrong.
“Those who turn their backs on what they know is right will no longer be able to tell right from wrong.”
Proverbs 28:4 TPT
May we join Dr. King in the prayer to discover ourselves, our neighbor and the measure of a man.
Cheers to you,
(1) Stanford University; The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute; The Measure of a Man
These thoughts today are a follow-up to my recent video teaching, “Lessons from Elite Athletes”. If you haven’t seen it and would like to, here it is:
So, when was the last time you trained for something?
I sat down and made a list starting as far back as I could remember (back to elementary school) of things that I had “trained” for or in and came up with a list of 18 items.
Then I looked at the list and realized it could be broken into two different categories: athletic/body training and skills training in specific areas.
Try it, make a list of the things that you have trained for. Study it. What one stands out to you? Was it that great half marathon you ran? Was it those 30 pounds you lost? Was it surviving Basic Training? Was it competing in the SUP 10K, or scaling the mountain face?
Whatever it was, it showed you your ability to level up and advance.
So, what did it take to level up? What does a training mindset require?
a decision that it is needed – the mental commitment and conditioning to make it happen is the first and perhaps biggest battle
making the time to train – planning, preparation, reprioritizing
being consistent – without diligent consistency no new habits will be formed
pushing beyond comfort levels – “no pain, no gain”
I bet you would agree, you would never have leveled up and made it through your training without those four points firmly established and practiced.
We all have a choice as players in this game of life. Will we be bad players, good players or great players?
” Bad players don’t take much seriously. Good players take practice and games seriously. Great players take warm ups, nutrition, skill work, weight room, conditioning, stretching, film, practice and games seriously.”
Jon Beck – coach
Now, what about that same focus, fervor, determination and sacrifice in your spiritual training? Is it there?
Because way more important than training for an event is the race that we are in spiritually. And again, we are all in the game, the question is at what level. What is our commitment to leveling up spiritually?
The Christian life is a marathon, and we ought not be on the sidelines, but running diligently in the race as contenders for the win!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 tells us we should go into strict training and train to win.
Consider these winning motivating challenges from the “rule book” for the race- the Bible. Practice saying these out loud to yourself:
John 3:30 – he must become greater
Galatians 2:20-21 – I am crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that lives, but Christ in me
1 Corinthians 15:31 – I die daily
Galatians 5:24-25 – I have nailed the passions and desires to the cross
Colossians 3:10 – I put on the new man
2 Corinthians 5:17 – I am a new creature, the old is gone
1 Peter 2:24 – that I might die to sin and live for righteousness
Romans 13:14 – do not think how to gratify the desires of the flesh
Luke 14:27 – whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple
Luke 9:23 – whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and follow me
These statements put our body on notice that it is time for training, your body’s shout for satisfaction is no longer your priority.
Those statements also stir the Spirit within you to wake up and take charge. Remember, those two are always at war within us. So the decision of which to listen to and side with is paramount in our training.
To level up spiritually begins with the mindset and decision that it is needed. We can’t stay where we are and level up at the same time. We must decide to go for it and press in, work at it consistently and leave the comfort of serving self.
That decision being made, then we can prioritize and make time for what we need to do. Do we need to build up our prayer time? Study the word more? Praise more? Fellowship with other believers?
Those things are the basics.
Acts 2 tells us of the new church and their habits that allowed the church to level up and grow.
they continued in the apostles teaching – bible study
fellowship – with other believers
breaking of bread – communion
prayer – worship
These are what I call basic training for Christians. These four areas are the first level of Christian life – the basics. From here, believers are challenged to grow up, mature and level up.
This is where we go into strict training in an effort to grow and mature and be the ones who finish the race strong and win the prize. We are the ones who actually bear fruit and not just express words. We are striving to become like Jesus. He is our standard.
To level up, we not only increase time and quality in the four basic training areas, but we also move into other areas of spiritual maturity.
Here are some areas for us to mature in. These represent meat for those who are hungry for more than baby’s milk.
Serving others, fasting, personal evangelism, missions, giving, baptisms, spiritual giftings, solitude, healing, signs and wonders, casting out demons, preaching the gospel, making disciples.
These are the things that Jesus called his disciples to. These are areas the Holy Spirit is calling us to move into. Jesus said, “greater works than these shall you do”. That is a WOW statement right there, cuz He did amazing miracles!
When? Why not now? Why not you? Are you trained and ready?
THIS is the race that we are in. These are the areas that we are being called to level up to. This is why basic training is not enough. It is only the starting blocks of the race.
For some, perhaps basic training is enough.
But there is an army of believers rising up who are “forcefully advancing the kingdom”. They are not content with the basics. They see the Kingdom of God coming in power and authority and have chosen to be under that realm, sphere and influence. They have trained their senses to discern between good and bad, righteousness and evil, flesh and spirit.
They have learned to fast and pray and hear God’s voice, direction and plan. They have learned to follow the Spirit’s leading. They are expectant when speaking with people about the ways of the Lord. They carry His presence wherever they go and they are contending for miracles, signs and wonders – today, in our nation.
To be in that group, and be a great spiritual player, everything matters. Everything is training. “All things work together for good” in my life and help me to build spiritual muscle mass. I must stay consistent in my training. Even when I fail or trip, I will get back up and get myself back into training and the race.
I am determined and filled with diligence and discipline. I am committed to move out of my comfort zone with consistency, purpose, strength and accuracy.
I’m leveling up. I am advancing. I am beefing up my spiritual regiment. I am driving forward spiritually. I am thriving spiritually not barely existing.
We stand on the verge of worldwide revival. Our nation is ripe for His presence and power. It is coming. He is coming. Allow Him to put His super on your natural and rock your world, flow through you and change lives.
Evaluate your spiritual fitness. What do you need to do to be a part of what God is doing today?
It is time to level up.
God with God.
PS – Leave me a comment. I would love to heave from you.