My father gifted me a Victorinox Swiss Army knife, complete with a Zermatt brown leather pouch/sheath, when I was a teenager. Recently my four children asked to see my Swiss Army knife. They sat mesmerized as I exhibited the various tools housed in the compact, red, polished Cellidor housing. They wanted to try all fourteen stainless steel implements and know the purpose for each tool. Amazingly, we managed to complete the exhibition without lacerations despite eight hands and 40 fingers flying around the Swiss Army knife.
The Victorinox Swiss Army knife is an iconic and useful knife with distinctive characteristics, or marks: compact and sturdy, many functions in one device – literally a toolbox in a pocket, precision, and the classic red Cellidor housing with the famous emblem – a cross on a shield. One day, I too will give my three boys a Swiss Army knife as they begin to transition from boyhood to manhood. The oldest boy is already six years old, approximately halfway to the transition time. Like a Swiss Army knife, I want my boys to possess distinctive marks, the marks of a man of God. I want each one to be God’s Army Knife.
What are the marks of a man of God? Perhaps the most succinct list is the one provided by Paul in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. Here he describes Timothy as anthrope theou, a man of God, and defines various aspects of God’s Army Knife. Many in the Old Testament bear the title “man of God” (Moses, Deut. 33:1; Samuel, 1 Samuel 9:6; Elijah, 1 Kings 17:18; and David, Nehemiah 12:24), but Timothy alone shares this title in the New Testament. Paul describes the man of God as an active soldier who is full of movement – there is no room for a static, passive soldier. A man of God is to flee certain things, pursue certain things, fight for something specific, take hold of a perspective, and keep something.
Paul tells Timothy to flee these things, referring back to verses 3-10. Flee…
- Errant and self-motivated doctrines
Paul tells Timothy to possess certain qualities. Pursue…
The man of God is to fight the good fight of faith. That is, he is to fight for truth, the contents of the Word of God. Paul reminds us consistently in the Epistles that we are engaged in a spiritual war.
The man of God is to take hold of the eternal life. Biblical manhood calls a man to remember that his citizenship is not this Earth. The called, or saved, man’s citizenship is in Heaven. This perspective helps the man of God maintain his focus on the battle.
Timothy is charged to keep the commandment. A man of God is to obey all of God’s Word and live in a manner that provides a testimony that does not detract others from God’s Word.
Timothy, a man of God, is God’s Army Knife, possessing the sharp blades of Fight, Take Hold, and Keep, and the multi-tools of Flee and Pursue. My prayer is that each of my sons will become men of God, each becoming a well-used God’s Army Knife.