I write from a Christian perspective. My commentary on corruption in Samoa counters much that a strongly religious society preaches. I pass on the modern phrase that I am a “spiritual” person. I don’t attend church and am a “non-denominational Christian” but as a self-professed “Man of God” I describe the concept (granted, a label) in greater detail. I give examples from my own life of what a Christian man of god looks like, and equally importantly doesn’t. Enjoy.
If there’s one thing that detractors and haters of Christ enjoy, it is taking down a Christian. It’s almost as if finding that a Christian has faults justifies theirs. That’s a prime logical fallacy of course, but common in the lower echelons of thinking circles. The Romans made an artform of this with big cats and spectacle. Nobody really likes the thought of human flesh being ripped apart for entertainment, especially that of those who have families that they love, personal integrity, are people who care, and simply dare to claim that Christ is King, alive and the Son of God. That is, unless they are fooled into believing a lie.
1. Love truth
The essence of being a Man of God, in my book is that we love truth and choose to love. Put these two abstracts together in perfect balance and there is only one place in the history of mankind that matches – the cross of Christ. All other religious leaders have one or the other in varying degrees, but the claims, performance and achievements of Jesus peak them all.
2. Pay the Price
One can claim to “have Christ” for reasons of love, faith, knowledge and more but I am a truthseeker first and foremost and Christian second. Over time I have recognised that this makes me a Man of God – one who loves truth, and truly loves. In the seven years I spent in Samoa, engaging cross-culturally I was fortunate to be challenged as well as to challenge. One of the Paramount High Chiefs whom I befriended noted very early on that I touched him because I was prepared to pay the price for speaking it like it was. This is unusual in a country and a culture where diplomacy is king; where fudging issues to prevent offence is commonplace; where social norms are to deceive for reasons of honour. Another wealthy businessman sought my commercial services and in short order got reprimanded for skiting about his sin. Clearly, nobody had dared to challenge this man to that date, but his life will never be the same now. He’s totally turned his life around now and I consider him a true Man of God, sure, in the making but someone who recognises truth, loves it and loves others enough to now DO the right thing. What more can one ask of a man? I could though have lost a client as a result and this would have been a huge cost for my fledgling business. The result wasn’t the thing that mattered – it was the process where I was prepared to pay the price. The journey, not so much the destination matters most today.
3. Hear & 4. Obey
A Man of God, as do all of us, is forever challenged with two things above all – to HEAR His voice and then to DO His will. God is not a sugardaddy sitting in the sky instructing us to “do this, do that” and even more pertinently “don’t do this and don’t do that.” He is a Creator. He created then bequeathed mankind dominion. He explained how things were setup and told us the rules. When we broke them He engineered things on earth for His solution to occur, using time (which He created and thus has as much as He wants) in His own way (He never changes and has wisdom exceeding ours) and using Men of God along the way who DID what He wanted, [generally] when He wanted, and [
mostly sometimes] the way He wanted. So many seek desperately to hear God. Why is this so hard? The art of hearing requires more though, something that most refuse to give . . .
5. Choose Humility
Like human engagement, we must have established a relationship to communicate. Hearing comes from relationship but proud people don’t listen. His chosen people went their own way, thus failed to show the way as He asked them to. It’s now (for the moment) the Gentiles’ turn to show the way. This requires us to humble ourselves, so that we CAN hear . . . then the humility (which is a choice) to DO the right thing which builds the quality of that relationship. In a recent post I tried to explain how this outworks in a Samoan context, written as the word is getting out now in the Samoan diaspora who the PM’s Mistress is, and as more people jump on the “Corrupt! Corrupt! Corrupt!” calls on the current political leadership in Samoa. Yes, it is important that the people realise that their leadership is corrupt and also HOW corrupt they are, but they must humble themselves to do the right thing individually. It’s so important to understand this concept that corrupt leadership receives its authority from proud, foolish people. Strong, good and godly leadership can only come from Men of God at the lower levels of society. How can you build a team of great All Blacks if your talent pool is shallow and the vision for world-domination does not exist as a nation? Our desire for a better leadership must be acted upon at a lower level of society, individually BEFORE we can even think of changing things at the top. We must humble ourselves FIRST, then we will have the spiritual authority and resources to correct and replace the corruption.
The Christian walk is a process of becoming like Christ. When we first convert, there is often a rush as new thinking, new experiences and feelings take over, but we are still the same imperfect person as the day before. As the sanctification process continues we, as Men of God, make increasingly wiser choices in all areas of our lives and become more recognised as Men of God, “Oh he’s a wise/good man” etc, but this belies the fact that ALL of us are crooked to the core. Jeremiah puts it well when he says that the heart is forever deceitful. The claim to be perfect is foolishness and simply pride. The claim to be a “nobody” too is founded upon pride too, especially if we are a Man of God. This is false humility.
Somewhere in the middle is a godliness that faces reality. I put it like this for myself, “I am a Man of God. I have spent a lifetime listening, and choosing to do the right thing and increasingly I recognise this as godliness. For that I naturally then must recognise the leadership role that I am destined to play in some sectors of our society. I am however still the same guy that I always have been. I choose to do the right thing, day by day!”
Then when challenged and found wanting I simply confess, correct and keep on going. That’s teh way a Man of God deals with life.
7. Submission to Him, FIRST
The penultimate concept for this post is the issue of submission. In traditional Christianity, certainly since the Roman Catholic church established the religious systems that have pervaded Christendom since, we submit to a system that in turn claims authority from the Creator. This intermediary, be it the witch doctors of Africa, the Pope, Bishops and Priest of the RC church or the Pastors and Ministers of Protestant streams introduces structural filtering of the direct relationship that Christ came to establish and indeed offers to His people today. As the “little people” in Christendom realised the significance of a personal relationship, they have sought less religious conduct. This has flowed through to a reduction in church attendance and a shift in submission from traditional organised Churchianity to a freer people. Men of God indeed can exist outside of the submission structures of organised Christianity. I am but one example of this. Expect to see more in the coming decades as the organised church turns increasingly apostate and true Men of God step up and be obedient to Him, and Him alone.
Lastly the claim that one is a Man of God is offensive to many who aren’t. I’ve shared previously that when I first met the Prime Minister of Samoa Tuila’epa I identified my arrival in his country as a response of faith in the Lord’s calling. While his Catholic bias prevented him understanding what this meant – either for me at the time, or him in time – he always knew that I was different, and acknowledged that, to his credit. An important part of Christ’s ministry was that He did, in ways that were appropriate claim to be the Messiah. Likewise, in ways and times that are appropriate I think it is important that we too as Men of God do not shy away from the fact that we are who we are.
Sure, this may mean that people like myself become targets and can get trashed at the hands of evil ones, but I say, “bring it on”!
The master told us it would happen after all, didn’t He?