“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV).
It is impersonation to pretend to be another person, to imitate the appearance, voice, character or style of another person, or to assume the title or name of another person.
Frankly speaking, many of those who go about parading themselves as “men or women of God” in our generation are mere impersonators.
In the Bible days, the name or title, “Man of God” was sacred, held in high esteem and greatly revered by the people. Sadly, the reverse is the case today.
The name or the title, “Man of God” today has been stripped of its honour and reduced to a mere title, slogan or cliché (MOG).
Many people now view with high suspicion anyone who goes by the name or title, “Man of God.” What a reproach we have brought upon God’s name!
If these impersonators stop at just craving to be addressed as “men or women of God,” one may not be bothered and may just be praying for them to be delivered from self-deception and delusion.
But, it is disgusting and sickening to observe how these spiritual fraudsters go about deceiving, manipulating, defrauding and exploiting the spiritually immature, undiscerning and gullible people of God, thereby bringing a great reproach upon the name of God and His Church.
These impersonators go about giving bogus prophecies to entice and manipulate the gullible souls and giving strange visions to frighten and enslave unstable souls.
They go about compelling and manipulating undiscerning believers to sow or give all sorts of seeds, offerings, or gifts to them as a means of averting the looming dangers or evils they have seen in a vision, or as a means of obtaining a special favour, miracle, deliverance, breakthrough, or victory from God.
They are a bunch of liars, and according to God’s Word, “they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all…” (2 Tim. 3:9 NKJV).
The main thrust of this piece is to examine the Bible to discover the credentials, qualifications and qualities of a true man of God, so that we may know who to address as a “Man of God” lest we become partakers in the sins of these spiritual impersonators.
When you call someone who or what he is not, you are simply validating, applauding, and encouraging him to continue in his deception, thereby partaking in his sins (Rom. 1:32).
In these days of much deception, it is certainly wise to know who is truly a man of God lest you fall prey to the hungry and greedy impersonators hunting for preys all over the place.
Who is a man of God?
What distinguishes a man of God from other men?
Thorough examination of some noted men of God in the Bible would clearly reveal these qualities.
Let us take Elijah and Elisha as a case study.
First, a man of God is a man with a right standing before God:
Although Elijah and Elisha lived and operated under the Old Covenant, yet they were called “men of God” several times in the Bible. They were men with high reputation or esteem before God. A standing before God implies having a valid position or reputation in God’s presence.
A standing connotes uprightness, integrity, and faithfulness. It speaks of permanence, establishment or continuity. So, whenever Elijah or Elisha said, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand” (1 Kings 17:1, 2 Kings 3:14), they were referring to the validity of their lives and ministries before God.
They were also referring to their uprightness, integrity or faithfulness before God. God’s instant response to their prayers and confirmation of their words with unusual signs and wonders certainly validated their claims.
Unfortunately, many who are boasting today that they are men of God and lording it over God’s people have no standing before God. God cannot bear witness to their uprightness, integrity or faithfulness.
Neither can God point them out or boast of their devotion, integrity, or steadfastness before men and Satan as He pointed out Job to Satan, saying, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8 NKJV).
Even Satan could bear witness to the holiness, righteousness, or uprightness of the true men of God as it was in the case of Paul and his team when a demon-possessed girl followed Paul and his team, crying out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17 NKJV).
The evil spirit the seven sons of Sceva were trying to cast out challenged them, saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15 NKJV).
Even demons know the true men or servants of God!
Second, a man of God is a man of the Word and Spirit of God:
A true man of God is a man who is unreservedly given, yielded, or devoted to the Word and to the Spirit of God. It is absolutely impossible to separate a true man of God from God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
A true man of God is a man who is thoroughly equipped for every good work by the Word and Spirit of God (2 Tim. 3:17). He is a faithful steward of God’s Word and God’s mouthpiece, declaring God’s Word truthfully, simply, clearly and boldly to his generation.
Jehoshaphat bore witness concerning Elisha, saying, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.” (2 Kings 3:12 NKJV).
The widow of Zarephath also testified of Elijah, saying, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.” (1 Kings 17:24 NKJV).
The true men of God are those who “have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4:2 NKJV).
Like the early apostles of Christ, true men of God cannot be intimidated, manipulated, or persuaded to stop proclaiming the truth. Their response to the haters of truth will always be: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20 NKJV).
True men of God are those who shun all distractions, just as the early apostles did, so that they may give themselves “continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4).
They are men who live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). They are not debtors to the flesh, but are Spirit-led and heavenly-minded men (Rom. 8:12, 14). They are men not given to the lusts, desires, or passions of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
Sadly, many of the so-called men and women of God today are carnal, lust-driven, and worldly.
Third, a man of God firmly stands for God and His cause:
Not only did Elijah and Elisha have a standing before God, they also stood for God and righteousness in their generation. Even when it appeared he was the only one, yet Elijah stood for God and advanced His cause. He would not follow the multitude to do evil, feed from the table of Jezebel, or bow before her.
Elijah was a crusader of righteousness and agent of revival in his generation. In the days of apostasy or polluted worship, Elijah boldly and publicly confronted the backsliding nation of Israel and defeated 450 false prophets in a spiritual contest (1 Kings 18).
Likewise, the early apostles were known to be men given entirely to the advancement of the cause of Christ. They were accused and punished for filling Jerusalem with the doctrine of Christ (Acts 5:28). They were branded, labeled or marked as “the men who turned the world upside down.” (Acts. 17:6).
Sadly, many supposed men and women of God today are not known to stand for righteousness or any godly cause. They lack the courage or boldness to speak publicly and clearly against injustice, immorality, racism, corruption and such social vices in the society. They always strive to be “politically correct” and be in the good books of the ungodly political leaders. How sad?
Fourth, a man of God is a man who God validates or attests to his words, calling or ministry with signs and wonders:
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter pointed out to the people of Israel that Jesus was a Man “approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” (Acts 2:22 KJV).
The Bible describes God as the One “Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers…” (Isa. 44:26 NKJV).
God will not allow the words of His true men and women to fall to the ground. The Scripture said concerning Samuel, a noted man of God, “So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Sam. 3:19 NKJV).
The Bible gives ample evidences to show that God always confirms His Words in the mouth of His men with great signs and wonders to validate their words, calling or ministry (1 Sam. 12:16-20, 1 kings 17:17-24, 18:36-46, 2 Kings 3:14-27, Acts 14:3, Heb. 2:4).
Lastly, a man of God manifests both the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit:
True men and women of God are not merely known by the supernatural works they do, but also by the supernatural fruit they bear.
The Lord Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets, but discern them by their fruits.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (NKJV).
Beloved, it is dangerous to receive or accept someone as a man of God only on the basis of the miracles, healings, and deliverances he performs, or simply because of his charismatic display, eloquence, scriptural knowledge, or teaching and preaching skills or prowess. Why?
Because servants of Satan can also perform great miracles, signs and wonders, and speak fluently!
Jesus warns, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:24 NKJV).
Therefore, don’t believe or receive anyone as a man of God solely because he performs or demonstrates some signs or wonders. But, look beyond his miraculous works to his words, actions, conduct or lifestyle!
You will know a man of God by the fruit of the Spirit he evinces, namely love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).
Moreover, before you receive anyone as a man of God first check out for the witness of the Holy Spirit in your heart. The Holy Spirit will always bear witness with your spirit when you meet, see, or hear a true man of God (Rom. 8:16, Luke 24:32).
However, it is very important to note that a man of God at his best is still a man with same human nature like other men. So, a man of God can be tempted, stumble and fall into temptations, make mistakes, experience lack, become discouraged, weak or sick.
Elijah was a man with a nature like other men. He became fearful, tired, and discouraged (1 Kings 19:1-7).
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. (NKJV).
Barnabas and Paul also confessed that they were men with the same nature as others.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out
15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,
16 “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. (NKJV).
We must not worship any man of God for any reasons, but must honour and pray for men of God.
1 Thessalonians 5
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. (NKJV).
2 Thessalonians 3:
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my eyes to know who is truly a man of God. I pray you expose all those impersonating themselves as men and women of God in my generation and validate all Your true men or servants, in Jesus’ name. Amen.