Tony Evans - The Life of a Kingdom Man
Car is shaking a little bit, and I wanna find out what in the world is going on, so I take it to the repair shop to get it analyzed, and I go back, and they say, "Well, you have a problem and your problem is your car is out of alignment," all because I was trying to get from where I was to where I was needing and trying to go with things not aligned properly. One of the challenges today in terms of men is alignment, men who are not aligned properly and are discovering things are shaky, things are shaky in their individual lives, things are shaky in their family, things are shaky with their children, things, but they're still trying to get where they're trying to go, but things are just not wearing properly.
One of the key verses that you need to know as a man is 1 Corinthians 11:3, because 1 Corinthians 11:3 makes a profound statement to all of us as men along this concept of alignment. "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ". He says there is an alignment of how life is supposed to work. God is over Christ. Christ is over every Christian man. A man is over a woman. Not all women, a woman. He says there is an alignment. When Jesus Christ was on Earth, he aligned himself underneath God. Every Christian man is to do to Jesus what Jesus did to God: align himself. And then, a woman is to align herself under a man. When you lose alignment, you lose covering.
That's why he uses the word "head". The word "head" has to do with governance, guidance, covering, and responsibility. God took responsibility for Christ. Christ takes responsibility for all Christian men who are aligned under him, and a man is supposed to take responsibility for a woman, and that is what is being a head, what is being the leader, what is being the responsible party in the relationship. But if a woman is following you and you're out of alignment from Christ, then not only are you messed up, but she's messed up for following you, because you're out of alignment. Jesus was never out of alignment with God. He was in perfect alignment with the Father, so what does an aligned life look like?
And we're going to use my favorite passage of Scripture: Psalm 128. The reason I love Psalm 128 is it's a psalm that describes the alignment of a kingdom man, what a kingdom man looks like when his life is aligned properly underneath God. We know he's talking to a man because he says in verse 3 "your wife". We know he's talking to a man because he says in verse 4, "Behold, thus shall the man be blessed," so he brings up this issue of alignment, and he covers the four major areas of life. We wanna focus first of all on your own personal life. Verse 1 and 2, "How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you". He pronounces a blessing on men who fear God.
Let me define a blessing again. A blessing is experiencing, enjoying, and extending the goodness of God in your life. It is to have God's goodness to you so that it works through you. In fact, let me give all you men a secret. Whatever you want God to do to you, tell him if he does it to you how you will use it through you, because when he sees you're gonna extend it and not just wanna receive it, he's much more interested in granting it, because he knows it will abound to the expansion of his kingdom and not just personal benefit to you. Then you become a conduit and not a cul-de-sac man, and so kingdom men, God says, "I want to bless, and I will bless," and the criteria is fearing God. "Blessed is everyone," this is a psalm written to men, "who fears the Lord".
The question is, what does it mean to fear God? This concept of fearing God is critical for every believer, but especially for men. It is the foundational principle of God working in your life. In fact, the Scripture lets us know in Isaiah 33, verse 6 that the fear of God is the foundation of life that opens up the treasures of God. The fear of God opens up God's treasure. It's like a master key. I have a master key, and it will get me into any room on campus because it unlocks all the doors. He says the fear of God is the thing you want to unlock all the doors of your life and particularly of your manhood underneath the King because you fear the Lord. What does it mean to fear God? Well, it's two concepts that are married together. One concept is to dread or to be in terror of. We're used to that. "I'm afraid. I fear". But there is a second concept, which is to reverence, awe, or hold in high esteem.
When the two are married together, that's the biblical concept of fear. We can put it in another way. To fear God means to take God seriously. To fear God simply means to take God seriously, and he says it is the key to blessing. We live in a day when God is not taken seriously. He's much like a filling station. When we're running on empty, we pull in 'cause we need to fill up, but then we go about our business till we go empty again. He's like a spare tire. He's there in case I need him, but if I don't need him let me keep him in the trunk until it's time to call on him. God wants to be taken seriously. He does not want to be taken casually. Many people today, they go to church. Many men today, they reference God, but he is not taken seriously. What we have done with God is we've lowered the definition of God, but then because we've met that definition we think we're okay. To take God seriously, to fear the Lord is to relate to him on his standard and not dumb him down to our standard down there and think we scored.
So, he says blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, and he's talking to men. This is a man psalm. My wife asked me one day, she said, "I want you to go to Walmart to pick up some things for me". Now, you have to understand I hate anything with "mart" in its name. If "mat" is in its name, I have no interest in it, but on this occasion she had some other things to do, so I said, "Okay, I'll go, and I'll get what you need". Well, I wanted to be the first one in and the first one out of Walmart. I drive onto the parking lot, only to discover the rest of Dallas has already arrived. This Walmart store was jam-packed. People are everywhere, and it's just opened. I go in and go through all of this stuff to get the goods she needs. I'm standing in this long line still trying to figure out how this early on a Saturday morning are all these folk here and beating me here, only to discover this Walmart was having a store-wide sale.
In other words, everything was on discount, so everybody showed up early to get their goods at discount prices. Well, unfortunately, that's what's happening with God. We want him. We just want him on sale. As long as we can get God cheaply and he doesn't have to come at full price, then we don't have to really deal with him, so we want to cheapen God but still shop there for the benefits that accrue from him. That means we're not taking God seriously and that's why we're not seeing the blessings that come with the fear of God. Like Dallas and every other city, there is a loop. The loop goes around the city. You can circle the city. The loops in cities are on the margins of the city. They are surrounding the outskirts of the city. They are close enough to give you access, but far enough out that you don't have to deal with downtown traffic.
What most men have today is God on the loop: close enough to look respectable, far enough not to be bothered with. They want him in the vicinity. They just don't want him taking over and that's why we're not hearing from him, seeing him, and this treasure chest that comes from the fear of God. Isaiah 33:6 we are not experiencing. The fear of God is missing. I was driving down the street one day and as I was going down, actually, it was the highway. I'm driving down the highway and a police car comes on the on-ramp. A police car comes on the on-ramp while I'm driving down the highway. As this police car comes down the on-ramp and comes on to the highway, he greatly affects my driving. My driving changes. My right foot goes north off of the accelerator and leftward toward the brake. You know why I made that change? Because I was in his presence.
My eyes kept looking at the speedometer to see how fast I was going. I could have cared less before I recognized that I was in his presence, but once I recognized I was in his presence and he was in my presence and we were in each other's presence, I kept looking at what I was doing and paying close attention to it. I would not pass him. I dared not pass him, lest he think I'm trying to make a statement to him, because I was being infected and affected by his presence. I kept looking over and grinning, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, because I was affected by his presence. Three miles down the highway he peeled off. I went back to life as usual. When we as men decide to take God seriously, because he is always riding beside us, better than that living in us, then we begin to see him unfold his purpose, his blessings that he has destined for us. That's what it means to fear God. It means to take God seriously.
Two verses I wanna quote to you. Paul says in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, that you will see worked out what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". The blessed life is the life where God's will is at work for you, but he says to get there you gotta take God seriously. He says present your body as a living sacrifice. In other words, give God all of you. Don't be a part-time Christian, because you're a kingdom man. You operate under this umbrella. He says be fully committed and take God seriously, not like the story of the chicken and the pig.
Chicken and the pig are walking down the street one day, and they come across a grocery store and there's a sign in the window that said "bacon and eggs are desperately needed". The chicken looked at the pig. The pig looked at the chicken. The chicken said to the pig, "Hey, the grocer needs some bacon and eggs. I'll give him the eggs. You give him the bacon". Pig said, "You got to be crazy". Pig said, "You done lost your mind". The chicken said, "Well, what's the problem"? He said, "It's real simple. For you it's a contribution, for me it's the whole thing".
God is not looking for an egg here and an egg there. He want pork chops, bacon, and chitterlings. He wants the whole thing. He wants the total commitment of the man so that through the man and in the man he can express his will. What God is asking for is full commitment, which is the fear of God. It is total commitment to him. He gives you the opposite of that. He says be not conformed to this world. The word "world" here means that organized system headed by Satan that leaves God out. That's the world. It's a system that has got one goal at it: to keep God out of the discussion and to keep God out of the equation. Satan doesn't mind you going to church on Sunday as long as God has nothing to do with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. He'll give you your one hour, if you're white, two-and-a-half hours if you're black. He'll give you your time in church as long as it doesn't carry over to fearing him and taking him seriously in every dimension of life. He says be not conformed to this world. Be not conformed to this world. Don't let this system squeeze you and push you so that you leave God out.
When a scuba diver goes into the water, he carries a tank on his back, 'cause that's foreign territory to him. That's a foreign realm. He can't survive in that realm, so you know what he does? He takes what he needs to survive in his realm, and he takes that with him to the foreign realm. This world is a foreign realm for the Christian man, for the kingdom man, so you're supposed to have strapped on you the fear of God, and you're gonna take that with you to the other realms that you live in so you can breathe in a foreign place. Because if you try to breathe as a Christian man in the world, it's like a scuba diver trying to breathe in water with no tank. You're gonna choke. As a kingdom man God rules. You're under alignment with him. He is the head, and he pronounces a blessing.
In fact, he tells you, before we get to the blessing notice what he says. How do you know if you're fearing God? He says you're fearing God when you walk in his ways. You fear God with your feet. You don't fear him with your words only, don't fear him with your talk only, with your lips only. He says you fear God with your life, with your walk, the steps you take, the movements you make. That demonstrates you are serious about fearing God, so the man who fears God is going to take the time to ascertain what God's purposes are for him. The best thing you can do in fearing God is to get up in the morning and start your day with a God focus. "God, this is your day. I am your kingdom servant. You are my King. I want to represent you in everything I do and everywhere I go and whoever I interact with, and I give you permission today to rule my world. I wanna take my steps, walk my walk, talk my talk in fear of you, taking you seriously, and then I want you to unlock the treasures of your will for me, my life, and my destiny".
He says if you begin to walk in the fear of God and not merely talk in the fear of God, then you have opened up the treasure chest to the blessings that God has for you. What are those blessings? He gives you three. He says you will eat the fruit of your hands. Well, that's your fortune. That's your productivity. That's your work. The fruit of your hands, man, what you got from your work. He says you will be happy. Well, that's your feelings, feelings of happiness. He says it will go well with you. Well, that's your future. Your fortune, your feelings, and your future. He says, "If you will take me seriously, if you'll let me run the show 'cause I am the head, and you come unto me with your walk and not talk, I will look after your fortune, I will look after your feeling, and I will look after your future".
Now, what better person to go ahead of you in the job market, to go ahead of you in your emotional stability, to go ahead of you to your tomorrow and set it up for you while you're still in today than God? He says those are the three blessings that God has for you and has for me, so the challenge today is to walk in his way so that we can experience his will. But this is about alignment, as you'll see in our upcoming sessions. As I said earlier, if you're out of alignment, then the natural result is that which is following you will be out of alignment, too. Or, as I like to say, if you're a messed-up man and you have a family, you're gonna contribute to a messed-up family.
If you're a messed-up man and you're contributing to a messed-up family, and your messed-up family goes to church, well, your messed-up family is making its contribution to a messed-up church.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family that now contributes to a messed-up church and your church is supposed to be a light to the neighborhood, then your messed-up church is making its contribution to a messed-up neighborhood.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family, resulting in a messed-up church, causing a messed-up neighborhood, and your neighborhood is part of the city, well, now your messed-up neighborhood makes its contribution to a messed-up city.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family, resulting in a messed-up church, causing a messed-up neighborhood that resides in a messed-up city and your city is part of the county, well, now your messed-up city makes its contribution to a messed-up county.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family, resulting in a messed-up church, leading to a messed-up neighborhood, that resides in a messed-up city, that's contributing to a messed-up county, and your county is in the state, well, now your messed-up county makes its contribution to a messed-up state.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family, resulting in a messed-up church, causing a messed-up neighborhood, that resides in a messed-up city, that's part of a messed-up county, that contributes to a messed-up state, and your state is part of the country, well, now your messed-up state makes its contribution to a messed-up nation.
If you're a messed-up man contributing to a messed-up family, resulting in a messed-up church, causing a messed-up neighborhood that resides in a messed-up city, that's contributing to a messed-up county, that's part of a messed-up state, that's part of a messed-up country, and your country is part of the world, well, now your messed-up country makes its contribution to a messed-up world.
So, if you want a better world composed of better countries inhabited by better states that are composed of better counties, made up of better cities that are composed of better neighborhoods, that are illuminated by better churches 'cause they're made up of better families, you see it starts with a better man. It all starts with you and me. It starts with you. Yeah, I may have problems with my wife, problems with my kids, problems in my church, problems in my neighborhood, but what does the alignment look like? Am I having problems everywhere else because I'm out of alignment and everybody is following me, because I am not under the kingdom umbrella, the headship of Jesus Christ, who is under the umbrella of God? He says God will bring blessing to your life. God will bring his unique presence to your life as a kingdom man when you fear him. That is, you take him seriously.
I'll never forget an experience that I had in my life. It was while I was going through seminary, and I was working for a Trailways bus station, and I would work the dead-man shifts 'cause I went to school during the day, and so I worked three or four nights down there from 11 to 7. Well, they had a scheme. They had a scheme that you would punch out for lunch, but you didn't punch back in. Somebody else punched you back in after an hour. You went and slept for three hours and then you did that for the next guy, so everybody had a night in which you could sleep for three hours but get paid for it because you would be actually punched back in even though you would be away sleeping.
So, when I went to work there they told me what my day was, my day to punch somebody else in and my day to get punched in, so I would be covered, and I would cover somebody else. So, I said, "I don't think I can do that". They said, "Well, why? Everybody does that". I said, "But, you know, I'm a Christian and that's stealing, and I can't do that". Well, now I'm the most popular man on campus because everybody is doing it, okay? So now, you know, here is this guy. He's not part of the program, so when the guys were sleeping, the way they would get back at me is they would not show up to help unload the buses, so I would be there a lot of times by myself having to unload the buses because I was not part of the program. I was not fitting in with the world's order of leaving God out of this work equation.
Well, that didn't make me happy, and it was very frustrating, but, you know, that was part of the suffering for Christ, because the reason I did it was because I was a Christian. Two months into this regime, I get a call, and it is a call to come to the office. I go to the office and now I'm a little nervous, "What's going on"? And the head of that particular Trailways said to me, "For the last month, we have sent a man down to observe the work habits of the men on the dead-man shift, on the night shift. We are very much aware of the scheme of punching people in and letting them sleep while they're getting paid. We're also aware that you are not part of the scheme. Therefore from this day on you are the new supervisor of the night shift".
I saw God bless my decision to put him, it would have been easy to join in, and I was lonely not getting in, but I sure knew it was worth it, to know that God was watching when I made the decision to choose him. If you put him first, gentlemen, you will discover him working on your behalf. You will discover him blessing you in ways you never imagined. You will discover him doing things for you that will demonstrate, your fear of God is going to be rewarded by God, and he's going to do some amazing things and bringing you into your destiny, and one of the amazing things you're going to see is he's gonna bring your your family back in line, amen?
A kingdom man's life starts with his personal submission to Jesus Christ. It starts with his fear of God. To fear God means to take God seriously, as opposed to taking God casually. It has to do with the fact that you live with a divine awareness that God is ever present wherever you go and whatever you do. It means that God's view, God's thoughts, and God's Word comes on the front end of decision making, not the backend. And when you fall short you go back to God, and you confess it, repent of it, and get back in sync with surrender. God wants us to cry "uncle" when it comes to him.
If a man refuses to submit to God, then God cannot control his personal life. And when God can't control the personal life of a man, all the other areas of that man's life become suspect, because he has no divine support for the other areas as husband and father, as churchman, as a community leader. You don't have divine support because God has not taken over ultimate control of your life, and so what God wants you to do on a daily basis as a kingdom man is to come before him and say, "God, I give you my day. I give you my life. I give you my mind. I give you my mouth. I give you my walk, my talk, my movements. You own me today, and I give up ownership, that your Spirit might use this man to be the man you created me need to be and help me to settle for nothing less.