One of the names of God is El Gibor, which is translated “Mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, … and his name shall be called … The Mighty God, …” It can as well be translated as “God is our hero.”
The word “gibor” can also be applied to men who are heroes, champions, mighty men of valor, strong, brave, valiant. “Gibors” are men who serve the El Gibor, who is God of the champions and the heroes. He is God of the valiant.
Paul Cole, president of the Christian Men’s Network, says, “The fate of every society is determined by the character of its heroes and the strength of its warriors.” True, godly, biblical manhood is exemplified through men who are champions of the El Gibor, the God of the Champions. They are not hindered by the obstacles they are confronted with, but determined to overcome them.
Henry Varley once wrote to D.L. Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.”
I want to make the choice every day to be godly, to be Christ-like, so others can see what a true man, a true champion for God, can be—not in the ways the world defines manhood. But in the ways in which God establishes His character, nature, and Spirit in us so that we can be the men He calls us to be in our roles of father, husband, ambassador, heroes.
The Apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We don’t want to follow the examples of the world; we need to reflect Christ and let people follow Christ in us.
BE A MAN FOR JESUS
Back in the 1980s, I was ministering one evening in a homeless shelter where I met a man named James. He was going through a lot and was very confrontational with me. I said to him, “James, if you have the courage to be a man and get help, I challenge you to call me tomorrow morning. I’ll pick you up and take you to church.”
I really didn’t expect him to call me, but sure enough, early the next morning I got a phone call. “Doug, you said if I call you that you would pick me up and take me to church.”
I did not feel like going to church in that moment! It was early in the morning, I’d been up all night, I was exhausted. But I was committed to what I confessed, so I picked him up, brought him back to my apartment to shower, then took him to church. That morning, James experienced a beautiful encounter with the Lord and gave his life to Jesus.
I took him to lunch then asked if he wanted me to take him back to the shelter. He said, “No, take me to the streets because I need to tell some people what happened to me.”
I had invited James to a large Christian event in downtown Houston that night, where I was volunteering as a counselor, and he told me he would come. While I was there, some of the counselors came and told me, “Doug, there’s a group of homeless people here looking for you.” James had told others what happened to him and brought them to the meeting with him! He wanted to be a man who was obligated to what he confessed, as I had been. The words he said, in fact, were: “I want to be a man for Doug because he was a man for me.”
Those words resonated in my spirit and filled me with a revelation: I want to be a man for Jesus, because Jesus became a man for me! While I was still yet in my sin, Jesus, the Exalted One, left His highest place to pursue me and to pursue you. That revelation is at the core of biblical manhood.
The first two weekends of June, I was scheduled to speak at men’s events in Houston and Tampa Bay. One afternoon I took a break from my preparation to go to the gym. When I do my chest sets, I normally finish off with 225 pounds on the flat bench, which I can usually do on my own. But I decided that day to add a little more weight, so I needed a spotter to help me.
The same is true in life! There are times that we all go through heavy lifting, and sometimes we can do it alone. But other times we’re confronted with obstacles and challenges that are overwhelming. We feel like our backs are up against the wall and the wind has been knocked out of us. We feel the heaviness of the pressure, the fears, the anxieties, and the stresses of life. In those times, we need a spotter. We need buddies to help us stay accountable. We need those who can encourage us and motivate us to stay the course and be the godly men we’re called to be. But first and foremost, we need to keep our eyes and our gaze fixed on the Lord Himself.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith …” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Ben Kinchlow and Dr. Cole used to say was, “Christ-likeness and manhood are synonymous.” If we’re going to truly reflect Christ in a world that is so mixed up, divisive, and confused—especially in the area of identity—we need to reflect Him in a way that the world can see Him living in us. He is the only hope for a world in desperate need. He is the example of true manhood.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
We live in challenging times. The nations are perplexed and people’s hearts are failing them. But Joel 3:9 says, “Wake up the mighty men.”
D.L. Moody is quoted as saying, “There are no limitations to those who have been in the presence of the Lord.” And John Wesley said, “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and we can change the world.”
In Christ, there are no limits. There is no fear, no shame. There are no excuses, no looking back, no turning back. As James 1:12 (ESV) says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial or difficulty, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
Courageous manhood is to live for a cause greater than ourselves, to be men for Jesus because He became a man for us. By the grace of God, alongside many others, I want to be able to say, “I am that man!”
There are times when men need to man up and take responsibility for the moment. Dr. Cole used to say that maturity is not based on age, but on the willingness to accept responsibility. I believe we are living in one of those times. Fostering and focusing on our disappointments can lead to disillusionment, which distracts us from the greater destination and purpose God has for each and every one of us. Remember, God’s love never disappoints.
The most priceless commodities are not found in earthly treasures but in how we steward our time, friendships, and relationships. Our true legacy doesn’t come from the sermons we preach or how many followers we have on social media. It’s not the size of our church, organization, ministry, or business; but instead, it’s the lives we live before we enter the portals of eternity that determines the influence we leave for the next generation.
I want to be a man of God. I want to serve the El Gibor, the Mighty One. Through Him—the God of the champion, the God of the hero, the God of the strong and mighty men of valor—we are empowered to be examples to others, because Christlikeness and manhood are synonymous.
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
When I was a wrestler in high school, my sensei used to say, “Ganbatte yo! You can do it, Doug! You’ve got this, go for it!”
In Christ Jesus, we’ve got this! We can do it. We are part of a Kingdom greater than ourselves. Our strength is not in ourselves, but in the grace of God bestowed upon us. If we say yes to Him and make ourselves available, He can do a work in and through us so we can make a difference in the world around us.
Throughout Scripture, the Lord Himself commands us to be of good courage, to stand courageous. But we can’t do this alone. We need each other. It’s time to buddy up, to encourage and motivate one another, to make each other accountable so we can be the godly men that God has called us to be.
With His help and the help of those around us, we can serve the El Gibor—the God of the champion, the hero, the brave, and the valiant. God is bigger than all of our circumstances and every giant we encounter. Through Him and by His grace that leads us in the path of righteousness for His namesake, we can stand courageous. We can link arm in arm for a world that desperately needs to see the living God in and through us. Our sons, daughters, and a watching world will notice. We can be men for Jesus, because He became a man for us!
You can listen to this message on Doug’s podcast, A Word in Season with Doug Stringer & Friends.