One of my many concerns about manhood in our day stems from modern notions of strength. When we think of strength as men we think of that massive offense lineman whose bulked up through a good diet and lifting weights. We’ve been taught as men from a young age to seek after being men of strength. We were taught to hold back those tears and to be macho. Almost everything we’ve been taught about manhood is completely wrong and not biblical. Biblical manhood begins with Jesus who is not only the example of what a man should be but is our Savior, Lord, King, and God. The command to love our wives is rooted in His command to obey His teaching. The only way we can obey God is not only because of His grace but because the Holy Spirit empowers us to do so.
True godly strength is about knowing when to use your position as head of the home and when not to. Godly strength is measured not demonstrative. Yet this is exactly what many men in my generation have been taught. We see how our fathers yelled at our mom’s and we think that’s okay but deep down we know it’s not. We also know it wasn’t okay when our dad’s yelled at our mom or when they yelled at each other. We know deep down that there is something better. We know that these are the effects of the Fall. Just like you know, men that looking at pornography isn’t what God expects of you. Instead of living up to God’s commands and standing in Christ you instead give up. I want to call you to stand up and in Christ in this article. I want to call you to steady yourself in light of Christ. Won’t you stand now! Wake up o sleeper Christ is coming again! Praise His name!
Men, God has called you to come out of the darkness and into the light of His presence. He has transferred you from the Kingdom of the darkness and to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Men let’s face it, we need to raise the bar. For far too long we’ve excused ourselves. We’ve said I’m just plain tired of fighting. And yet I want to call you once again to fight. I want you to fight for your manhood. I want you to fight for your purity. I want you to fight for loving your wife. I want you to fight for loving your children. I want you to fight for worshipping the Lord every single Sunday and gathering together to hear the Word preached in gathered worship. I want you to fight for your personal time in the Word of God.
I am deeply concerned about men today. We’re told that it’s okay to be passive to just sit on that couch and do nothing. Well, this man is done with that kind of manhood. I’ve been done with that kind of manhood for a long time, but I’m sick and tired of it, I have to speak up. I’m compelled to do so because of Christ. I see many men settling for second best when God has called us to His very best in Christ. It’s because of Christ that we can be men of strength. It’s because of Christ that it’s okay to admit I don’t have it all together. It’s because of Christ that we’re being conformed into the image of Christ. It’s because of Christ that we can stand. It’s because of Christ that we don’t yell at our wives or treat them as objects of pleasure for our own enjoyment. It’s because of Christ that we see our ongoing need for His grace and turn from our sin, and to Christ. It’s because of Christ that we care for our wives when they are sick. It’s because of Christ! Do you see what I’m saying? Do you see your great need of Christ?
Men, I plead with you today to stand in Christ. To stand saturated and trenched as you are in the love and greatness of Christ. He is not just some example for you to follow. He doesn’t call you to just believe and then do nothing with what you believe. God calls you to obey Him and provides the means for your obedience through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The lie of worldliness for many men is seductive. Many men have heard and heeded the siren call of worldliness instead of the summons of King Jesus to come hither to His throne of grace for mercy and help in time of need. The seductress that is the world promises us much. It tells us that we can be happy, but the truth is we won’t be happy—we’ll be guilty. Instead of happiness, worldliness promises much but results in guilt and shame. Jesus came to deal with our worldliness. He came to address our shame and guilt before God. He died in our place and for our sin to take away our guilt and shame. To not only address it but to carry it away. Jesus took our guilt and shame and carried it away into a sea of nothingness so now by His shed blood, we can stand in Him no longer under condemnation but in Christ.
Many men live in condemnation instead of freedom. Christ has come to deal a death blow to condemnation. When you were transferred from the Kingdom of Jesus to the Kingdom of Jesus, He signed and sealed you with His own blood. You’ve been adopted as a child and signed, sealed and delivered by King Jesus. This is where we need to come, men.
In order to raise the standard of manhood in our churches, we must come to Christ. We must see and know Christ in the brilliance of His splendor. We must be undone as Isaiah was in Isaiah 6. He was undone because he saw his sin. As men, we come to the end of ourselves today by acknowledging our need for Christ. We come to the end of ourselves by refusing to trust in and boast of our good works. While our work is important, we need to trust and rely on the works of Christ first and foremost. This is especially true those of you who have a long history and patterns of behavior of impurity, anger, bitterness. Your struggles are real. They take time to overcome. But rest assured because of Christ you who are enslaved can be made free. That truth is guaranteed by Christ for He came to set the captives free and bring liberty to the captives.
Are you tired of being a captive? Are you tired of living for yourself? Look to Jesus. He is your relief. He invites all who are weary and heavy laden to find rest in Himself. He is your rest. But not only is your rest, He is your life. He came to bring you who are dead in sin to new life in Christ. Not only new life but to a new hope with new affections, a new identity and to take away your old heart and give you a new one. This is the promise of the new covenant which Christ died for you to have. And now men stand because of Christ.
It’s time to stand up. It’s time to raise our standards for purity to God’s. He who has called you is holy. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. Because of Him you can reflect His holiness in the world. You can shine His light. Together, we can shine the light of Christ, and march on for this is the battle cry of the gospel. This is also what men who understand biblical manhood do. Biblical men love their wives, are faithful to their wives, and serve in the local church because of Christ. They stand and serve and do all they do because of Christ. They do it because Christ gives them strength in their weakness. So now man of God grow ever in His grace and stand now in His grace. Be the man God has called you to be. Men, be a repenting, God-fearing, Jesus-loving, Church-attending, Gospel-proclaiming and servant-hearted son of the King you are. That is a radical call in an individualized culture that devalues institutions I know, but it is God’s call to you. So I pray you’ll hear it, heed it, and obey it by His grace. For when God commands He always empowers His people to obey His commands.
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Have you ever felt like you don’t know how to show your wife love? More than one study has shown that men have a hard time loving their wives, despite the fact that the Scriptures require it. Five times in typical English translations of the Bible (and six times in the Greek) in Ephesians 5:21-33 Paul exhorts the Christians to love their wives. As Paul often does, he builds upon the teaching of the rest of the Bible to support his case. After all, Jesus teaches that Christians are to love Him and love their neighbors (Matthew 22:37-40).
Early on in my marriage I was one of those men who struggled to figure out how to love and care for my wife. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my wife either—I did and still do very much. But we’ve been taught that “love is often fickle”. People often think if they don’t feel like loving their spouse then they don’t have to. That isn’t love, that’s feeling—“warm fuzzies” to be exact. The love that Paul speaks about in Ephesians 5:21-33 is based on something more than feelings; it’s based on the sovereign work of God’s grace. In other words, the “love” being spoken of in Ephesians 5:21-33 is based on covenant. Marriage is a covenant between God, one man, and one woman, seeking to live life together under the authority of the Word of God.
It’s popular in our day to hear others say to married couples, “If you’re not happy in your marriage you can just leave or get a divorce.” The sad thing about that statement is the fact that it’s not only unbiblical, it’s also wrong. When a couple gets married, they sign up for life together—not just when they feel like it, but to stick with it and work at loving each other. After all, the man and woman have both said “I do” in front of family members and friends. They have pledged that they will love, cherish, and take care one another. The sage wisdom of the world in regards to love is nothing more than foolishness before God’s Word.
Men, what our wives need more than anything is for us to understand that they need the “love tank” of their hearts to be filled. You may not have thought about loving your wife as filling her “love tank” before, so let me elaborate on what I mean. As I mentioned earlier, loving our wives is not optional, it’s a command. Jesus empowers His people to do that which He commands; theologians call this the indicative (what Christ has done) fueling the imperative (what we are to do).
Men, if you were to stop reading this article right now and ask your wife what she wants the most, I think what she (or most wives) would say is to know that she is loved and cared for by you (or maybe for you to take out the trash…kidding). Men, as you know, we live in a culture that encourages us to not be proactive in our marriages or relationships with others. Instead we’re encouraged be passive, rather than to actively lead. This idea reinforces our sinful (fleshly) propensity to be apathetic. This is why, if you’ve not tended to your wife’s heart in some time, she may seek comfort and affection—which she needs and desires—from other sources, like friendship with other men, her job, a romantic novel/show/movie, or other “filler” things. Yet, what God calls men to do is to tend to the garden of her heart, thereby filling her “love tank”.
You may ask, “But how do I do that?” The answer is simple: we do that by speaking true and godly words to her, filling her heart with Jesus’ love as you are likewise filled. Since I minister to men on a weekly basis from all across the country via email—both in full-time ministry and secular jobs and at my local church—I know well what men are struggling with. My purpose here is not to shame you, because chances are you already know the weight of guilt and shame in this area of your life. Instead, I want you to look to the One who can take away your guilt and shame—Jesus Christ. Jesus died in our place and for our sins, to remove our guilt and shame before the Father. He stands as our Advocate now and pleads our case before the throne of God. He intercedes on our behalf whenever Satan accuses us. And it is through His shed blood that we are forgiven, and by which Jesus serves as our High Priest.
You may not feel like you have love to give today and that’s okay. Love is more than a feeling, and through Jesus you can love your spouse. I encourage you to pray and ask Jesus to fill you with His love. This is a prayer that He will always answer. Paul tells us this in Ephesians 3:16-19:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
God desires to fill us with His love after all, which He spilled for us when He died on the Cross.
I realize that you may not feel entirely loving all the time, and I want you to know that it’s okay. Real love is sacrificial, but it also recognizes its own limits. By recognizing that you’re a work-in-progress by His grace, you can come to understand your wife’s need, which is the same as your own: more of Jesus. You may think that you have enough of Jesus in your life, but the truth is that we always need more of Him. We need more of His care, more of His grace, and more of His love.
How do you fill your wife’s “love tank”? First, by recognizing your need for Jesus. Secondly, by speaking true and godly words to your wife. Focus on not being sarcastic and poking fun at your wife, but instead on building her up, focusing on what God is doing in her life. This will require you to get into the trenches and build your relationship with your wife, using intentionality and hard work. This brings me to my fourth point—filling our wives’ “love tank(s)” requires us to be the shepherd leaders of their hearts. And lastly, filing your wife’s “love tank” will require you to sometimes speak hard, but truthful, words. As you do this, keep in mind that your wife isn’t “one of the guys”. This means you shouldn’t shoot from the hip. Your wife, while she may appear to be tough on the outside, is soft and tender. She needs your words to be tender, caring, and affectionate, not harsh and cruel.
While you might think that all this “love tank” business is nonsense and that you don’t need to do it, I encourage you to understand the work of God’s grace in your own life. You don’t deserve to be shown mercy when you fail, rather you deserve the full wrath of God. Instead of having blessing after blessing poured into your life, you deserve to feel the full brunt of His wrath. Instead of air in your lungs you deserve to be six feet under. Everything in our lives is truly a gift from God, and if we’re honest, deep down we know we don’t deserve anything in life. Everything that we receive is a gift of God’s grace. If we really think about it in the way I’ve described in this article, we will come to see that not only do our wives “love tank(s)” need to be filled up regularly, but ours do as well. After all, Jesus said in John 13:35 that “the whole world will know us by our love”. So let’s abundantly display the love of God in our lives, in our marriages, and in our ministries—to the glory of God. By doing this, not only will our marriages improve, but so will our relationship with God and others. This is why Paul lists LOVE as the first of all the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Love should be a natural overflow in our lives, since it is the fruit of the love we have is received is from God. Therefore, let us demonstrate to our wives (and others) the great love of God.
For all you parents out there, please pay attention to this post as I am going to share something that is quite frightening, something, which you might be turning a blind eye to or are completely unaware could be taking place in your home. What is this horrible issue you might ask? Your child is almost assuredly being exposed to porn.
I hope that caught your attention. Now an understandable response is “That is impossible. We do not watch porn in our home and we ensure that no inappropriate programming is allowed.” I get that; however, your child is almost assuredly being exposed to porn. How can I make that claim? I can make it from personal experience.
In my home, we do not even have cable or satellite television. Late in 2014, we made the decision to view whatever channels we could obtain via an indoor television antenna. We also subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime which allows us to oversee and monitor what is viewed in our home. Even with those moves and this level of oversight, the ability to access porn remains. We are big users of mobile electronic devices, specifically the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. My wife has one. I have one. Our daughter has one. The good news is they are all connected to the same account and thus, we have the ability to monitor what has been viewed. It came to our attention that the filtering and parental controls on this device are insufficient when it comes to blocking unsavory content.
Our daughter likes to watch videos on YouTube that are about different ways to decorate her room. Even when she inputs a search for something completely benign, within a couple of clicks on various videos, more often than not, something perverted is available for the taking in the list of recommended viewing options. I hasten to imagine what would appear if our daughter searched for a meatloaf recipe.
After taking a look at the viewing history on our daughter’s Kindle, we noticed she had clicked on a number of videos that were far from something that glorifies God. We are convinced those viewing choices were not deliberate. Even still, it was disturbing, frightening, and disappointing all rolled into one bundle of emotions. This situation afforded us the opportunity to have a discussion with our daughter regarding godly and ungodly viewing habits and the reality that perverts in the world are preying on young people in an attempt to get them addicted to this type of material. Cleverly, those who peddle such perversion have purposefully tagged certain videos, which in turn results in their filth appearing as a viewing option even when the most innocent of search criteria is entered. Given the heart is exceedingly wicked and curiosity will often draw young minds to view such filth, the reality is your child will click on that garbage and will have their hearts and minds muddied by the grotesque and twisted waters of porn.
Outside of completely cutting yourself off from the outside world, what are the options for parents when access to porn is just a click away on any and every electronic device in your home? Is this a lost cause? Should parents just throw their hands up in defeat with the attitude that we cannot control everything our children do, so if they view such filth, we hope it is minimal at best? Or is there a better way, a more balanced approach that allows for access to technology yet ensures with the utmost care and oversight that our children’s viewing habits are not being drawn to the rotten garbage of porn?
I suggest throwing your hands in the air in a state of defeatism is not the answer. I also suggest that complete withdrawal from everything electronics related is not the answer. The answer is for parents to be parents, to provide guidance, oversight, and accountability for their children. Below are five ways to provide a needed covering to shield your children from porn. These five ways will provide opportunities to teach your children the difference between how to be holy in a world determined to suck your children into the dark side of pornographic addiction.
First, have an open and honest discussion with your children. When we discovered that unsavory material was being viewed by our daughter, we sat down with her and explained the dangers. We told her that it is our job to be the covering for her in all matters. This was not a yelling conversation. Make no mistake though, we told her that viewing such nonsense was wrong and that if we observed such viewing habits in the future, her access to the internet would be restricted. In addition to that, we used this opportunity as a teaching moment, a chance to help her better understand the world we live in and those who prey upon young adult minds. We talked with her about what godly behavior patterns are all about and the battle we all face with the temptation to walk down the path of unrighteousness.
Second, set the example. There is nothing worse that extolling the virtues of righteous living while you as parents do the complete opposite. If you are reading 50 Shades of Grey, stop immediately and burn that book. If you have inappropriate music and movies in your home that are not God honoring, destroy them immediately. Demonstrate to your children by your own actions what godly viewing habit are all about.
Third, utilize filtering software. This is something my wife and I will be exploring. Covenant Eyes does an excellent job from what I am told. Additional suggestions include using parental controls on devices such as iPads, Kindles, smart phones, and all other electronic devices. When you install such controls, make sure you discuss why you are doing this with your children. Ensure you have shared with them it is for their own protection.
Fourth, pray. It is of the utmost necessity that you pray for your children. We live in a world full of sinful people. As Christians, we are engaged against an enemy in Satan and his minions that has as their sole purpose in life, the destruction of your children. Do not turn a blind eye to that reality, thinking everything will be okay and that harm will never befall your children. Pray for your children and most importantly, pray with your children.
Fifth, be committed as a family to the reading of God’s Word. There is nothing better than turning off the television, shutting down the computer, or putting that gaming device on pause and spending time as a family reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. As the old saying goes – garbage in; garbage out. If we are feeding our minds and hearts with garbage, the desire for more garbage will be the result. Conversely, if we are filling our hearts and minds with the truth and light of God’s Word, we will be equipped as a family to identify truth from error. As parents in encouraging regularly Bible reading, you will be fulfilling your God given mandate to train up your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Finally, this is a battle. Do not sit on the sidelines. Be active in the lives of your children by identifying what they are watching, what websites they are visiting, and what they are feeding their minds with regardless of the medium they are using. Talk with your children about the dangers of porn. The filth available to even the youngest of children today is addictive, destructive, and is within the reach of your children. Be aware, be active, and be godly parents. Your children deserve it and God commands it.
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Gentleness may not be the coolest of qualities among young men — and this is a travesty. Gentleness is a mark of a gospel soaked man. A man that is gentle, is one that has been smashed by the gospel. A prickly dude appreciates the gospel, but hasn’t been devastated by it. Especially among young pastors, we need to be reminded that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, not hardcore-ness (Galatians 5:23). Brashness, flexing, my-way-or-the-highway-ism, and a kind of bulldozer-ocity are not marks of a godly man but a fool. A bully, not a pastor. Sure, there may be tons of passion in that man, but that kind of man needs to be saddled. A wild colt is of no benefit. Though — they do make for great glue. Lately, I’ve been troubled by the attitudes of many church planters. They parade themselves as steamrollers, but not shepherds. I’m all for telling a wolf “the way it is” but even that is to be done in gentleness (2 Timothy 2:25). And sadly, I’ve been there too.
WHAT IS GENTLENESS?
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary provides some great words to describe gentleness: humility, courteous, unpretentious, tender, unharsh, mildness, kindness, and an unassuming attitude. How many men fit that bill?
JESUS DOES. HE IS OUR MODEL AND MEANS
Jesus does. And in the gospel, Jesus invites us to learn from Him — to learn this way of life.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart… (Matthew 11:29).
The good news is that gentleness is not naturally ours, it comes supernaturally from Jesus. James instructs us that gentleness comes down from above (James 3:17), and that the inverse, harshness, pride, assuming attitudes etc., these are demonic (James 3:16). Gentleness will not come from our hearts, but by the life of Jesus being lived out in us (Galatians 2:20).
PAUL WAS A GENTLE GIANT
We tend to think of the Apostle Paul as an “in your face” kind of guy. Because he rebuked Peter face to face? Ok — he did that. But I’m sure he still helped Peter with a spirit of gentleness, as he instructs to do in the same letter (Galatians 6:1). But what is often forgotten about Paul is his incredible gentleness. Paul was wrecked by his own sin. Wreckage is the soil of gentleness (the end of Romans 7, the “chief of sinners”, “unworthy to be an apostle”, etc., all show Paul’s personal devastation over the gospel). Look at how he describes his ministry to the Thessalonians:
1 Thess. 2:6-8…we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
He was gentle among them like a nursing mother. If you have children, you have seen this first hand. The young mother doesn’t berate her children, she doesn’t chastise them, nor does she get fed up. She is patient, kind, tender, helpful, loving, nurturing, and attentive. She sacrifices sleep, time, and her schedule — to serve. There is much for us to learn here.
WHAT MARKS OUR LIFE & MINISTRY?
Paul’s words here were a milestone for my ministry and life. God doesn’t request that we be gentle — He kindly demands it.
- The Bible calls not for quarrelsome men, but gentle one’s (1 Timothy 3:3).
- God wants us, especially youngsters, to chase after gentleness more than coolness (1 Timothy 6:11).
- The Spirit wants us to speak evil of no one, not pick fights, and be courteous to all (Titus 3:2).
- The Bible demands a lifestyle of gentleness, even to the biggest jerks (1 Peter 2:18).
THE GOSPEL LEADS US INTO GENTLENESS
We ought to be the most gentle of all, because we see how gentle God has been with us. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us rebels. God has been kind to us, when all we earned was His wrath. To this day, in the midst of our struggles, Jesus is still gentle with us. He leads us besides still waters. He makes us lie down in green pastures. His shepherding staff is our guide. He doesn’t snipe us, He shepherds us. The gospel reminds us just how weak we are, and the second we are tempted to think of others as lesser-thans, we must remember that we are sinners too. God wants us to realize our weaknesses, so we can be gentle with the wayward and ignorant — who we deem to warrant our silly wrath (Hebrews 5:2). The wayward and ignorant don’t need cold body language, angry tones etc., they need to see the heart of God — from us. We need to show them the kindness of God, because that is what leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). We don’t wink at unrepentant Christians, but we also don’t napalm them. We rebuke with gentleness. I’m praying for a generation of gentle pastors. A generation of men who are so struck by the holiness of God, that they are brought low, face to the ground, humbly devastated to serve God’s church. I’m hopeful for a generation of pastors and churches, that not only take other peoples sin seriously, but also our own.
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It has been said that a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
An arrogant negativity, as it were.
There are also other characteristics that define cynicism, such as a lack of trust, lack of grace, ungrateful, arrogant, bitter, jaded, hopeless, skeptical, pessimistic, etc. I could go on giving words that describe the cynic, and paint word pictures for you that you potentially would be all too familiar with, as I’m sure you have your own pictures that arise when you think of the Cynic in your life — maybe you see yourself.
I think though — and I could be wrong here — that the route of cynicism is mere brokenness. The cynical man has been jaded by life’s circumstances. His positive outlook on life has been chipped away at over the years by failed relationships, unmet expectations, and unforeseen events. People have hurt him along the way. Things have happened in his life that have all but crushed him. He is not even close to the success he hoped to achieve when he was younger. His mistakes are piled as high as his regrets. He now views the world through a foggy lens of negativity, and he’s absolutely certain — or hopeless — that it will always be this way. For this type of man, things will never change. He is hurting. He is indeed broken. He feels cursed.
He needs a King.
In reality, cynicism is idolatry. It’s a displacement of God for yourself. It’s a response to the circumstances of life where you are the center of everything. The cynic has a view of man, events, or the future that denies God’s goodness, sovereignty, grace, and power. Again, he may not speak this way in his theology, but he lives this way in his heart.
Allow me to explain myself.
The gospel shows me that I am a broken man. Without Christ, I am nothing. The cynic, however, is a pretender. He knows this to be true in his mind, but this truth is not being watered in his heart. Or maybe, it can no longer be watered. His heart has been hardened by his experiences. This man’s experiences has led to his brokenness. The gospel, however, shows us that we are and have always been broken apart from Christ.
The cynic needs a fresh or new reality to take place in his life. He needs to be reminded — like we all do — that brokenness is not a state that we “arrive at” because of the circumstances in this world. We are broken. He have always been that way.
Our hope must forever and always be grounded in the King. It is King Jesus who takes our brokenness and fills it with hope — a hope that transcends the circumstances, events, and relationships of this world. In fact, when Christ becomes the King of our world, our circumstances, events, and relationships are seen with a new perspective. A fresh perspective. A redeemed perspective.
After all, it was Jesus who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
This is what the cynic needs.
Rest. Restoration. Redemption. Newness. A King.
When we realize and embrace Christ’s Kingship over our lives, then we come to understand that our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a great price (1 Cor. 6:20). When we realize this, our cynic minds become humble, gentle, tender, and hopeful minds.
Cynic, I encourage you to trust in that truth. Believe in that truth. Hope in that truth.
After all, to hope in the hope of this world is no hope at all.
This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.
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Yet another resolution post? Not at all. This is a plea—an urgent call, of sorts—to my fellow brothers to chase something the rest of this year that is much more substantial than a gym membership, self-help technique, hobby, or hygiene etiquette—I seriously resolve to floss more every-single-year.
Furthermore, this is not a how-to-post or a 7-things-to-do-post to procure a more mature manhood. This is simply a bare-bones, man-up plea to pursue Jesus with a furious, war-like training that is equal to a fighter training to step into the Octagon or a warrior training to sprint into war. The vocation of mature manhood is a training regiment—a way of life.
As I write this, I am not necessarily conjecturing about the seminarian, or young pastor, who might be reading this post, though this post is for you. I am primarily thinking of, and writing to, the men I pastor at my local church—the men I get to do life with daily.
These are, first of all, the men to which I resolve.
The business of mature manhood, however, is a vocation every man can obtain. Whether you are married, single, have no kids, have 10-kids, have a seminary degree, pastor a church, coach a basketball team, or work in a factory, mature manhood is your terminal aim. The Apostle Paul seems to liken mature manhood with the “stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13).
Men, it is to this vocation I resolve.
It is no secret that manhood is being attacked in our culture. It is increasingly risky to be a man who possesses complementarian values. Men, today, are taking the heat of feminist word bombs. Manhood is neutered in the media, especially in television and movies. It is no longer culturally proper to be a man whose manhood calls him to be the spiritual leader of his home, or serve well in his local church, or work hard, or date his daughter, or strive for purity. I am saying here that those are the most befitting things you can do as man. In fact, they are the manliest.
It is to these pursuits I resolve.
Men who tote guns on their hips, have long beards that dribble with stew, or can conquer mountains by only wearing their Chacos, often are the personifications of manhood as it is commonly displayed in the church. These traits, however, are not necessarily the qualities of mature manhood. The reverse is also true. Men who work as baristas in the inner city, sport skinny jeans, and don earrings are not the antithesis of biblical manhood either. What is more, if the skinny jean wearing barista pursues Jesus with a ferocious posture, and the mountain man does not, who is manlier? It is always the one who labors towards the “fullness of Christ.”
This is mature manhood, and it is to this I resolve.
When a man stamps his daily routine with the foundation of steady spiritual disciplines, the resolve to mature manhood becomes more realistic. Without regular bible reading and prayer, how can a man pursue the fullness of Christ? How can a man venture toward mature manhood without a love for God’s Word and a vibrant prayer life? The man who is disciplined to protect the state of his soul will also be more disciplined in caring for his physical body. He will also see this as a mark of mature manhood.
It is to this sort of discipline in my sanctification and care for my physical body I resolve.
Furthermore, there is a gentleness that exudes from a man’s character when he chases after the fullness of Christ. It is fleshed out in how he talks to and pursues his wife, prays with his children, laughs with his friends, and seasons his speech with salt. The trappings of Christ then become our most momentous marks and the bullets of our speech.
It is to this manner of speech I resolve.
When a man pursues the fullness of Christ, the mission of Christ then becomes more compelling than his hobbies. Instead of becoming hobby-less, his hobby is redeemed to become the call of God on his life. His hobbies then become the pursuit of Christ and his mission—to make disciples. What is more, his family becomes the jewel of his earthly enjoyments, and his local church becomes the storehouse for his time, talent, and resources.
It is to this rank of hobby I resolve.
The pursuit of mature manhood makes the characteristics of risk-taking, courage, and boldness become more manifest in the life of a believer. Under fire, he holds a stoic composure. He speaks truth winsomely. His decision-making is always for the benefit of others, and he carries himself with a humble courage.
It is to this kind of posture I resolve.
Therefore, men, as the Apostle Paul says, “Imitate me, as I am of Christ.” I, too, say to you who are reading this post—imitate me, as I am of Christ.
But I don’t stop there; I furthermore say, “Let me imitate you, as you imitate Christ.”
Let us resolve to mature manhood together. Let us pursue this Christ—this Warrior King— together. Let us go to war, shoulder to shoulder, armed with Truth, and together pursue the fullness of Christ. Let us repent when we fall short of mature manhood, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for us in Jesus. This is good, and it is to this I resolve.
Men, I truly believe if we pursue the fullness of Christ side by side, spurring one another on, then nothing can stop us. Everything will change—our marriages, homes, hobbies, work, friendships, churches, cities, culture, and love for the nations—because Jesus changes everything.
I resolve. Do you?
This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.
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