Sunday was a great day at church. We observed Baptist Men's Day, and a manly day it was. Testosterone was dripping all over the place; in fact, I think the chandeliers were growing hair by the end of the day.
The entire day was devoted to encouraging and challenging men to be the men God has called us to be. Men filled the choir in both the morning and evening services, and two fine sermons challenged us. Michael Flowers of the GBC's Men's Ministries preached in the morning services and one of our own men, Ken Hall, preached in the evening service.
Christian men face a major identity crisis in our society. The entertainment media portrays men as ineffective, bumbling idiots, contemporary socio-trends feminize manhood, and unfortunately, even the church all too often lets men off the hook by letting them dabble in church without calling for real commitment and providing opportunities to honestly explore our God-given masculinity.
Genesis 2 tells us that God created both male and female – two distinct genders with complimentary but differing perspectives. Yet we have essentially clouded the distinction and emasculated our churchmen.
This emasculation has created two unwanted side effects. Some men feel frustrated by an increasingly feminized church experience and they have checked out on church all together. I recently read a fascinating book on this malady titled, Why Men Hate Going to Church. The book was an eye opener for me and I commend it for your reading. The book explores the hollow experience felt by men seeking a place to be real and authentic. A second unwanted by product is the rise of some men in the church who overcompensate for the lack of masculinity and feel the need to over-assert their masculinity to the point they appear to be church "bosses."
Men, I offer for our example of perfect manhood, the perfect man Himself – Jesus. Jesus exemplified the perfect synergy of strength and meekness. We often confuse meekness, with weakness, but Jesus was not weak. Believe me, Jesus was a REAL man. Think of what He endured BEFORE going to the cross, the beating He took. How many men would have even made it to Calvary after such a beating. He was a strong man. Yet, He was so meek and mild that even the children loved to come a play with Him. Jesus had a loyal following of Godly women, another proof that His strength was not crude, but tempered with meekness.
Men, let me challenge you with some words from the Apostle, Paul. In this passage, Paul challenges us as men to develop five areas of Biblical manhood:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
- Be on your guard. Men, watch what you see and hear. Be careful. Protect your heart and your mind. Know the devil wants to attack you and do not let him catch you unawares.
- Stand firm in the faith. Don't be wishy-washy. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Allow God's Word to shape your worldview and refuse to compromise when it comes to Biblical principles – first for your own life, then for your family.
- Be men of courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the dogged determination to move ahead in spite of fear. Don't be afraid to do what you know is right, even if there is great risk. Be a hero.
- Be strong. Man up. Develop a regimen to continue your spiritual growth. Read your Bible, get into accountability relationships with other men and challenge each other to stretch your faith and increase your spiritual muscle.
- Do everything in love. Love sacrifices self for the benefit of others. I am afraid that we men are tempted to be self-centered and selfish. We are quick to look after #1, even if it means we move to the back burner those who are most important to us: our kids, our wives, and yes, even our Lord. Jesus gave His life for you. For whom/what are you giving yours?
Recommended further reading: (just to name a few . . . I have a TON of suggestions)
Disciplines of a Godly Man
by Kent Hughes
Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family by Steve Farrar
The Man in the Mirror : Solving the 24 Problems Men Face by Patrick Morley