That was the subtitle of the men’s retreat in September of last year. Why is this necessary?
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome to explain God’s righteousness and the salvation from death, which can only be achieved through faith in His only Son, Jesus Christ, he described an unrighteous world under heaven filled with sin that must fall under God’s wrath (Romans 1:18-23). Despite God’s power and glory demonstrated since creation in everything he has created, man continues to turn to worshipping the created, rather than the Creator. Paul goes on to describe God giving these people over to a depraved mind and its consequences (v28-31).
It would be easy to distance ourselves from those described by Paul. But am I that far off just because I attend church, a growth group, Bible study? Do we, who call ourselves Christians (i.e., of Christ), do the above when we go about our day focused on the idols of this world, worshiping the created? A large home and possessions to fill it, fame and notoriety, success in career or business: all these things are good to pursue, but they’ve become my idols. If they are first and foremost in your mind each day, they have become your idols.
Pastor Claude Hubbard charged us during the men’s retreat to recognize just how far we are fallen and how much we desperately need God. But we are not alone. As those who call Christ savior, we have been given the Holy Spirit who guides us. If only we would submit to our Lord and let the Holy Spirit guide us. At the retreat, many of us experienced some of that and learned what Proverbs 27:17 (“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”) looks like. Trusting our God and the work Jesus did on the cross, we turned to the Word and acknowledged our sin struggles in front of each other so that we can sharpen one another. That is fellowship.
Inspired by the other members of my retreat group, I have been blessed to fellowship with them every Saturday morning since the retreat. This is all God’s doing. I do not want to get up on Saturday morning after a long week of late nights of work. Praise Him who knew exactly what I needed, when I needed it. Through many years of being a Christian and despite being in small and growth groups, I have never felt the openness to be honest with my sin as I have with this group right now-and most importantly to be encouraged to submit to God. In doing so, we are just beginning to learn what men-to-men sharpening means. You cannot sharpen what you do not even know is dull.
This is a tremendous blessing that I have been shown just how far I need to grow: to trust in our Lord and rely upon Him. But most importantly, growing by submitting to God, recognizing my sin, confessing, and then asking for forgiveness. In this we can only hold each other accountable to Him.
Men, I would encourage you to pursue this. Together we can live a life of faith in an age of doubt. If you want to connect, email Men’s Ministry and come join us.
Tony Lim, along with his wife and two young children, have been attending GRC since 2009.