In my early radio career I was once engineering a live talk show. The host was taking live calls. One woman said, “You sound like a man of God.” My friend, the host, suddenly became very solemn. During the commercial break he said to me,”Did you hear what she said? She called me a man of God. I’ve never been paid a greater compliment.” He was truly humbled by the experience.
Just what does it mean to be a man or woman of God? Has anyone ever thought of you in that fashion? Do you think you have the qualifications to be a man or woman of God? Being a man of God is not the same as being a saint. The Catholic Church declares certain people to be saints. But the Bible declares that everyone who receives Christ is a saint. But what about being a man or woman of God?
The phrase, “Man of God,” is used very sparingly in the Bible. It’s usage is not how we think of the term today. Sometimes we think of a priest or a pastor as a man of God. In one sense there is some truth to it. But the biblical usage is a little more exact. Let’s look at the traits of a man of God.
The man of God has authority to bless (Deuteronomy 33:1)
The man of God received god’s instructions (Joshua 14:6)
The man of God speaks God’s revelation (I Samuel 2:27, I Kings 12:22, I Kings 17:24, II Chronicles 11:2)
The man of God only speaks truth (I Samuel 9:6-10)
Sometimes the man of God performed miracles (I Kings 17:18, II Kings 1:9-24, II Kings 13:19)
The works of the man of God testify to his truthfulness and authority (I Kings 17:24)
The role or authority of the man of God was not hereditary or passed on to children (I Chronicles 23:14).
Who did the Bible call the man of God? Moses was the first person to be called a man of God, and the most often. The title was also ascribed to Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. What do these four men all have in common? They were prophets. However, the title was not ascribed to prophets only. King David was also referred to as the “Man of God” (Nehemiah 12:24). However, we should note that David wrote scripture, some of which was prophetic of the coming messiah, which could qualify David as a prophet in a limited sense.
In my seventh point I noted that being a man of God was not hereditary. Moses’ children were never referred to in this way. Neither were David’s. If a person is to be a man of God he must come to the title on his own, under the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the New Testament things changed. Timothy was called a man of God by the Apostle Paul. This is ironic because Paul was the apostle who had all of the traits of a man of God, yet he was never titled this way in scripture. I think this signifies a change, for anyone filled by the Spirit is a man or woman of God if they possess most of the character traits listed above. (I Timothy 6:11, II Timothy 3:17). It may be that having the law written on our hearts qualifies us as a man or woman of God if we live according to that Spirit-empowered standard.
So, here’s the question. Are you a man or woman of God? Do these five descriptions characterize you? Consider:
• Do you proclaim God’s truth?
• Do you bless others in word and deed?
• Do you speak God’s greatest revelation—Jesus Christ?
• Is truth central in your life?
• Do your works testify to your authority in Christ?
I want the chief aim in my life to be a man of God. To become a man of God is to become like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). If we are not growing to become more like Jesus Christ then we cannot lay claim to the title, “Man of God.” And the title is not one we ascribe to ourselves. It is something recognized in us by others, revealed by the Holy Spirit about a person who is becoming more like Jesus everyday.