God sometimes impresses an idea on our hearts for us to meditate on, to learn from, or sometimes it’s an equipping that happens, where he builds on our faith by giving us some wisdom or truth that he reveals to our hearts. A while back, God showed me that the men of the Bible, the disciples, Daniel, David, and even Moses and Abraham, our “Bible Superheros” were just men – just regular human beings like you and I. They weren’t created from different stuff than we were. They were just men who chose God and who God used, but they were Mighty Men of God nonetheless.
About six months ago, God revealed to me that we, the humans walking the Earth today, can be every bit as spiritually mighty as the “Bible Superheros” of the Bible times. It became a passion of mine to make that my identity. I realized that I could tap into the might of God if I just pressed in and pursued him, had the right motives and, most of all, faith in God’s calling on my life as his son. Then tonight I realized that there is a foundational element to being a Mighty Man of God that I have been aware of sort of unconsciously for a while but hadn’t pieced together.
Giving Mitely, Not Doing Mightily
Becoming a Mighty Man of God doesn’t happen as a result of some amazing spiritual feat of healing or Bible reading or a certain number of hours volunteered at church. It does require effort, but it’s not physical effort. At its core, becoming a Mighty Man of God requires giving. This giving is illustrated best by the story of the Widow’s Mite:
The Widow’s Two Mites
41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Not too long ago, when I heard this story, I always thought, “Yeah, that’s cool. She gave less money than the rich guys, but proportionately, she gave a lot more money than they did because it was more of a stretch for her to give that much money. It was all she had.” The thing is, that’s only part of the story. The thing that made Jesus take notice was not the supernatural knowledge that Jesus had of the woman’s finances. It was his insight into her heart. This widow was a Mighty Woman of God because she was truly giving 100% of herself.
Now, right away, many people will hear that “giving 100%” part and they will mentally squint their eyes in focused determination and roll up their sleeves ready to DO 110% more than what they are DOING now. The truth of this message hasn’t sunk in yet. Jesus doesn’t want your to-do list. He has thousands of other Christians at his disposal who can DO what you can do, but there is only one you who can give 100% of you. The question is, are you ready to give him all you have? For me, it took an extended period of extreme trial to bring me to a point where I gave him all I had to give.
In high school, I suffered from depression periodically, but was able to get by, but later, about 5 or 6 years ago, I started battling with serious depression. I was contemplating suicide on a regular basis. Life was good in almost every other sense. I had a beautiful, supportive, loving wife. My career was going well and I was making enough money to keep us afloat and then some, and we had just had our first child, a baby boy. I should have been very happy, but I wasn’t. I wanted to die, and yet, I had this suspicion that things were only going to get worse. They did.
Years went by and I got help in the form of counselling and medication, but it seemed that every time the drugs were starting to work well, my depression would come back with a vengeance. I was having mood swings and now my thoughts of killing myself were coupled with violent images that flashed in my brain and made me feel guilty. My suicidal thoughts were becoming more and more detailed on how I could do it with minimal mess for my wife to have to clean up. I was diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder and put on more drugs.
The new drugs were working out great except that I was always tired, but I was stable for the most part; stable enough in fact, that I decided I wanted to quit my job and go into business for myself. My family and I prayed about it and felt that this was indeed God’s plan for us, so we took the leap of faith and I started my own company. Things moved quickly and I was having the time of my life until the mental illness surged back into my life. Then my business lost its initial momentum. We coasted along on our savings and watched as our bank account slowly ticked downward. It was apparent that we had to do something.
We decided that rather than miss payments on our mortgage, it would be better to move in with Amanda’s parents in Loveland and rent out our condo. Due to the burst of the real estate bubble, selling our condo was not an option, so we began preparations to rent out the condo. All the while, I was struggling with periods of uncontrollable weeping and despair. I had hit “rock bottom”. It was then that I decided that I was going to start thanking God for what I did have and not focus on what I didn’t have.
This was God’s grace. Amanda’s mother, my Second Mother, had loaned me some CD recordings of Joyce Meyer and I decided that I was going to start speaking out of faith, recognizing God’s hand in my life. I was also determined that no matter how small the task, if I felt God telling me to do something, I was going to do it. I don’t think I fully understood the power of what I was doing, but God was about to show me.
On one of the final days of preparing our condo for rental, I was on my way to Home Depot to buy some outlet covers when I saw a woman begging at the corner. I had seen this woman several times in the past. Her sign said that she was “camping and stranded” and “anything helps,” and I was about to ignore her when I felt a tug in my heart. A thought flashed in my mind, “Give her $200 in gift cards.” I sort of did a mental double-take and thought, “God, was that you?”
Again, money was tight and this made no sense in the natural way of things. We were only a few steps removed from this woman’s situation, financially speaking, and $200 was a lot of money for us, but I was sure that this was God telling me to do this. I pulled into King Soopers and bought $200 in gift cards. I walked over to the woman and introduced myself. Her name was Kelly and she was very thankful. I didn’t linger. I think I said, “God loves you very much,” but that was all the witnessing I did. I was uncomfortable and wanted to be on my way. I got back into my car and began driving back to the condo. That’s when things got REAL.
I grew up in Evangelical Covenant churches for the most part, and we had been going to a community church that was “non-denominational” but was sort of the equivalent to a Covenant church in its doctrine. There was no charismatic movement in the church to speak of, and if there had been, we probably wouldn’t have stayed at that church. I thought that charismatic churches were kind of weird (I still do sometimes). At this community church, I never heard anyone talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At this particular point in my life, I had heard the phrase before and had seen it in my Bible, but I didn’t know what it meant. Driving down S. Monaco Pkwy (image right), just me, God and my car, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, but I had no clue what was going on.
I felt a rush over my body. The air seemed electric and I felt as though I was breathing for the first time. I was overwhelmed with God’s love and I began to weep but this time it had nothing to do with depression. It was like being embraced by a parent but with a million times more satisfaction and love. Even as I type these words, I can’t really describe it.
I pulled into our complex and parked the car, still shuttering and balling my eyes out. I staggered into the condo and made some feeble attempts to try to work but God would not let up. I finally fell to my knees in my empty dining room and began to worship God. This was apparently what God wanted because the feeling of God’s embrace became even more overwhelming and all I could do was mumble, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.”
That’s when another “thought” flashed in my mind: “You’re healed of your mental illness.”
That stopped me in my tracks for a moment, but I just kept worshiping. I eventually was able to pull myself together enough to call my wife and my wife’s parents to tell them what had happened. But I didn’t tell them about the healing thing. I wasn’t sure about that until that weekend when Pastor Jonathan Wiggins of Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland, Colorado gave a message that had something to do with healing and faith. I knew then that I had heard from God and that I was indeed healed.
In August 2010, I slowly weaned myself off of my many medications and, with the exception of some dizziness and nausea caused by withdrawal, I had no issues. I have had no (ZERO) symptoms of depression or bipolar or violent images since (over a year ago at the time of this writing). God healed me completely of mental illness that day and he did it because I gave him 100%. It wasn’t the fact that I gave the woman $200 when we didn’t have a lot of money. It was the act of obedient surrender.
Think of a summer afternoon with hot dogs on the grill. You pick out a hot dog, load it in a bun and reach for the ketchup or mustard and squeeze the bottle. It sputters and spits out a few drops of ketchup. You shake the bottle and maybe close the lid and pound it upside down on the table. Then you open it up again and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze and use up every last drop that the bottle will give you. That’s what God wants to do with you.
That analogy falters a bit at the end because it’s not really God doing the spiritual squeezing. We have to squeeze ourselves. God is waiting for you. He’s not going to force you to open your life completely to him. You have to make the choice, and even if you do all the things in 1 Corinthians 13 with as much love for others as you can muster, if you don’t give your heart 100% to Jesus, you’ll never enjoy the peace, joy, and freedom that Mighty Men of God do. You have to give your “whole livelihood”. You have to be more than Mighty. You have to be Mitey too. You have to surrender your pride and let Jesus wash your feet. You have to let him have every dark, little corner of your heart and let God replace what you hold precious with what he holds precious. It’s not easy and it’s not an instant process. I certainly haven’t completed it. I never will, but I will keep on squeezing!