Recently our Church hosted an all day event called Men Stepping up. The topic and reason for the event was simple, for us men to learn how to step up and be the real men God calls us to be. Some men think being a man to God's standard is easy. Do manly things like watch sports, and hunt, then go to Church every week (or so). Some guys think being a man means bringing home a good paycheck and make sure your family does what you say. If you look at the qualities Jesus had, there not quality’s that our society would consider manly at all. Scripture tells us that Jesus was humble & gentle (Matthew 11:29). He was compassionate (Matthew 9:36, 15:32). He was dependent on His Father (Matthew 24:42). Jesus Cried (John 11:35, Isaiah 53:3). He was a servant (John 13, Phil. 2:7), hugged children (Matthew 19:13-15), loved His mother (John 19:26-27), and needed the fellowship of others (Mark 14:32-33). For some reason, we have developed our own ideas of what makes someone a man.
Vodie Bauchan explained that our society measures manhood by the 3 B's; the billfold, ball field, & bedroom. Our culture says that if you have mastered those 3, you are a real man. The problem is that by continuing down the path that society encourages, we are headed to destruction! Reportedly more than 90% of American men believe in God and 5 out of 6 call themselves Christians. If that was where the statistics ended, that would be great news. The problem is the statistic goes on to say that only 1 out of 6 attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ but fails to see the value in going to church.
That is horrifying! Ephesians 5:25 tells us “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” The Greek word translated as “love” means a love that continues. Not just liking them a lot or a sexual passion, but a deliberate attitude and action that is consumed with the others well being. Hence why it says “as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her”. As men, how can we say that we love our wives and families if we are not leading them and setting the example of how to walk with Christ? It doesn't matter how much money you bring home or what you're able to provide for them, if you're not providing them with a Christian household that is actively seeking to grown closer to God.
As men, not only have we dropped the ball, we have freely handed it over to our wives and let them run the family. US men have been imitating Adam ever since the fall. Adam was passive. When eve was tempted by the serpent, Adam should have stepped up and lead eve back to trust in God's direction and away from the devil.
Now most of us are blessed with wonderful wives that can do a great job of running the house. By no means am I trying to discredit or belittle women. I have heard women say they are just as capable of even better at running the household. Some even say that they are stronger than their husband's and don't need a man over them. Well I'm not saying that women have to submit to their husband's. I'm not saying that men have to love, care for, and spiritually lead your families at all costs. God does! By not fulfilling our biblical role, we are ignoring God’s perfect plan and that can only lead to destruction.
With 5 out of 6 of American “Christians” not attending Church on Sunday’s, it’s easy for those of us who do attend Church on Sunday’s to say and think they are doing better than most. Well this is true, but there is more to it than just attending Church on Sunday’s. A Christian is a follower of Christ. Someone who is constantly seeking Him more than once a week.
Robert Lewis, the founder of Men’s Fraternity explained a 4 point definition of true manhood. A Man rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects a greater reward. As men, we are not rejecting passivity. Society has been telling us, and we have come to accept that women can run the household just as well as we can. Rather than rejecting society's message and relying on God’s perfect plan for families, we have embraced passivity stepped down from our role, and left a void in our families. A man doesn't take the easy road; a man doesn’t let his wife lead the family so he can watch the game. A man doesn't let his family miss Church because they are tired from a busy week. A man accepts his responsibility to lead his family courageously, because he knows that his reward is not on this earth, but in heaven.
For many people, the emergency responders on 9/11 became the example of real men being courageous. They put their fear aside and did what was right. Being courageous has nothing to do with not being afraid. It’s putting your fear aside and doing what's right, regardless of the cost. Courageous men trust God! In the story of David and Goliath, David put his fear aside and went to fight the giant. This wasn't because he had some ingrained lack of fear. He didn't think he was bigger or stronger than Goliath. He went toe to toe with the giant because he trusted in God. See, God isn’t just calling people with extraordinary talents or skills. He is calling all of us to trust in Him, put Him first, and do His work.
We all know that we are not alone in our quest to serve Him and serve other. We know that the Lord is there to lead us and that He will never leave us or forsake us. We are also called to help each other grow closer to Christ. By being in a mentoring relationship with others, we can truly strengthen each other. In 2 Timothy 2:2, The Apostle Paul writes “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” The duty to preach the Gospel does not just fall on the Pastor. It is up to all of us. We should be committed to strengthening each other.
Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Just like a metal file sharpens a ax, or sharpening steel sharpens a knife. When two friends come together to help each other grown, one sharpens the other.
Most men will say they either don’t know how and/or don’t feel qualified to mentor someone else. Knowing how is easier than it sounds. Mentoring someone else doesn't have to be formal. You don’t have to follow a lesson plan. Whenever I think about men mentoring other men, I always think about the scene in the movie Courageous. When the 4 Police Officers and friends are sitting in Adam’s backyard, discussing what they are going through & encouraging each other to grow in Christ. Mentoring someone else is just that simple.
Many people also feel they are not qualified to mentor someone else. The qualifications are actually quite simple. You need to be willing to mentor someone, be willing to listen to them, willingness to provide Biblical truths, and able to trust in God. In other words, you just have to be willing to help others, and trust in God for the result.
This week I had the opportunity to talk with a man who had been drinking heavily as a way to deal with the stress and sadness over his son being in jail. He knew that turning to alcohol was wrong but said that was the only thing that helped him feel better about what was going on. He went on to say that he wanted to talk to his pastor about his problem but he was too embarrassed to admit his problems to a preacher. I tried to explain to him that none of us are perfect, we are all sinners and without even knowing his preacher, I'm sure he has had areas of his life that he was not proud of either. If you're still facing challenges in your life, give your burdens up to Christ and find someone to help and mentor you. If you have a checked part that you have overcome, someone else can benefit from your testimony & mentoring.
I read analogy this week. There are 2 kinds of theology. Cat theology and dog theology. Let's say two pets have an amazing, kind, generous owner. The cat thinks: "I must be an amazing and valuable cat." The dog thinks: "I have an amazing and valuable master." The blessings I have are not because I am a amazing and valuable person, it’s because I serve a amazing and valuable Master.
Folks were not perfect. I'm sure we all have times in our life we would love to do-over. We can't change the past but you can change the path you on and make a difference in the future. God has already promised up that when we repent from our sins and follow him, he will cast our sins as far away as the east is from the west. So don't let regret stop you. Make a commitment today to step up and answer gods call. Make a commitment today to lead your family.