Updated: Mar 25, 2021
“No one who is emasculated or had his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord”.
“But the people who know their God will display strength and take action”.
I wanted to come up with a message that addressed men, in particular (I know. How sexist!), and I was pondering the words “man” and “men”.
If we just compare a 30-year-old male of today with one of even 30 years ago, we will find that, as a gender, we don’t really seem to be living up to what these terms mean. In fact, we seem to be uncomfortable these days even using the terms “man” or “men” in reference to one another. We have somehow become “dudes”. If you call me a dude, I have this instant feeling like I am off the hook for something; I feel like as a dude there is a lot less expected of me.
The men of olde tended to be much more strong and stable and responsible than today’s dudes. For me the word “dude” does not conjure images in my mind of a father disciplining or patiently encouraging children, or a husband complimenting his wife without any agenda, or a man throwing himself on a grenade to save his brothers. A dude is more likely to be wearing his hat backwards with wrap-around sunglasses, trash-talking his wife to his buddies, while holding a beer in one hand and trying to hold up his pants with the other.
Ok, let the world do whatever it is going to do. But if we call ourselves Christ-followers, shouldn’t the picture people get when they think of us look a bit more like Jesus, and less like Ray Romano or Peter Griffin? And I’m not talking about the Jesus in all the religious paintings we associate Him with–the pale, frail, wispy character with the immaculately trimmed beard and spotless, gleaming white robe, staring off somewhere, pensively. I’m talking about the zealously obedient, strong, selfless, focused and often disruptive model of courage and fierce intention, who said things like, “Whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks behind him is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven”, and, “Get up and walk!”, and to the religious leaders of His day, “Hypocrites! Brood of vipers! How will you escape the condemnation of hell?!”, and violently chased people out with a whip who had decided to turn the church into a shopping mall.
Unfortunately this is not the Jesus who comes across the pulpit in churches these days either.
Until we actually get to know Him via His Word, and are in Him and He in us, and are one with Him and the Father, it is likely just a somewhat vapid, passive, safe and sterilized Jesus we have had painted in our minds by religion. And even if we do develop more of a true identity of Jesus, and manage to follow Him as a model of manhood, it will still be via striving and toil and methods, and merely knowing about Him, until we have touched and experienced and know and possess Him.
And so, being that I myself am certainly but a work in progress, that is maybe the best I will be able to give you today—some method and insight and hopefully inspiration, and to maybe raise the bar for us a bit, as far as our identities, and help us really consider the power of our influence, good or bad. If you are resigned to being a lukewarm, complacent, nominal Christian male, who thinks his influence on anyone is inconsequential, or you are content to believe that changing anything is best suited to someone else who is more “qualified”, then I wouldn’t be offended if you took a nap right now. Go ahead. But I would like to propose to you that there is a reason you have read this far, and that those qualified men are actually you and I, if we can at all allow God to demonstrate Himself through us.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could recognize and begin to step boldly into our true position in the Kingdom of God, amidst a generation of compromising, wimpy, lethargic and irresponsible “dudes”, who seem to all be waiting for somebody else to do something about this apparent circling of the drain of human society? And, tragically, it is not just happening outside the church, but inside it, as well. And we are supposed to be the solution! Jesus said that if we are not helping His cause, we are actually hurting it. If we are a believer, we are very much on the hook here!
Let’s talk some more about what being a man means, and modern day culture’s false perception of it, which, I'm sure you will not argue, is due in great part to today's media and it's alignment with the fierce rebellion against masculinity that feminism has become. It is one of a network of isms and ideologies currently at work to breed a society of spiritual eunuchs, and a totally false image of what true masculinity is (among other things).
Also among the things that strip a man of his inborn sense of purpose and responsibility, leaving him feeling weak and empty and often unable to even grow up are the absence of a Godly earthly father, and the resulting ignorance to the fact that Jesus is the ideal example of how to be a man. Without these models, a young man becomes emotionally insecure and indifferent about the things he should be standing up for. He ends up seeking an escapist lifestyle, running from his responsibilities and turning to things that only gratify himself, and justifying it, however conscious (or not), by measuring his substandard performance against the substandard examples all around him. Like the typically inept, blundering family man of TV sitcoms, or even some pathetic examples of manhood he may see in the pews of his church on Sunday. Okay, but that’s another message...
On the other hand, there is this other type of guy who thinks he is fooling everybody with his adopting as his persona some form of the macho Hollywood portrayal of a real man. This is probably to cover up the insecurity of how he thinks he measures up. At least he knows he is not measuring up, but for him it is little more than the costume he adopts, and not so much of the actual nobility and courage that the Hollywood heroes sometimes do possess.
At any rate, the standard of true manhood has actually been set by the life of Jesus; standing boldly and strongly for what he knows he has to do, knowing there will be a great cost to himself, with the confidence of one walking in integrity, putting others before himself, without any concern for crafting a “life” to facilitate his own comfort and pleasure above all else, and at a great cost to those dependant on him for strength, guidance and security. A man is not selfish. He offers himself. He spends himself. Know any dudes like that?
God has placed the desire in every one of us to be a warrior, a hero, a conqueror, and a champion. I am not talking about guys who vainly devote their lives to professionally fighting over a ball, or chasing a puck around on a slippery surface in a funny outfit. We were built for real life warfare, to fight for life and death things that matter and affect eternity. Because life in the Kingdom is war, plain and simple. Men are created to fight for things, for the lives and hearts of others, like Jesus.
We need to reclaim our identities; to allow the Word of God to show us who we really are and cultivate that, instead of believing and succumbing to the lies that continuously try to build a false image of us. Only then should we hope to discover what our purpose is here in this big, weird place called the world. And it most definitely has nothing whatsoever to do with blending in with it, but becoming separate from it, to show it’s lost citizens that the Kingdom of God is a marvellous thing, and make them want a part in it’s awesomeness. Not to think that a Christian is just some thing that some people choose to be, but that we have access to another realm, where God the Creator lives, and we are His sons, and can do what He does, and we can change things with His power, which He gives us. Holy COW!
Let me try to say what the nutshell of it is, at the risk of sounding crude:
You have much responsibility if you have a penis.
It does not stop at being a financial provider for a wife or family, or being an obedient cog in the machine of society. You were designed with skills and abilities, passions and propensities, which God knew you would need to be the male human He intends for you to be.
Now, Satan’s strategy has always been to divide God’s people wherever they are united, so that he can take them out more easily, because he knows we are weaker when we are alone.
And it is in our homes where he likes to begin.
Ephesians 5:23 states that the husband is intended to be the head of the marriage, as Christ is the head of the Church. If the enemy can pervert or distort our understanding of what our roles are within a household, according to God’s design, and cause us to be confused within the domain of our very identities, it will surely cause confusion within the family, leading to shame and insecurity, and consequently to resentment and strife, and ultimate destruction of the family as a unit.
Once the enemy has destroyed the family, he can then go hard after the church. If he succeeds in dividing the Body of Christ, he can destroy it as well, or at least turn it into something he can use as a tool for his own means; to make God look bad to the rest of the world, and make himself look more appealing to them. And if the enemy succeeds in destroying the true Church, what hope does the lost world have, if we are the hands and feet of Jesus?? And by the true church I mean, obviously, the Body of Christ, whose members have passed through death and bear the mark of the Cross. They operate in Resurrection power, and Christ is everything, actually.
If you haven’t noticed, by the way, Satan is very quickly succeeding with his plan. Does this anger anybody?? If so, that is great. That is a righteous indignation that God put in you to cause you to rise up when there is unrighteousness (picture again Jesus cleansing the Temple with the whip). A little righteous (not self-righteous!) anger will get us standing up straight and maybe even pulling up our pants, but it’s still going to take courage. Let’s talk about that word:
Courage is a byproduct of what we believe—our convictions. It is defined as, “the quality that enables a person to encounter hatred, disapproval and contempt, without departing from what is right”. It means that there is something more important than our fear. It means stepping through our fear and to that other something. It means that fear will not control us. Fortunately, as we know from 2Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.
I would bet that there are very few men (OR dudes) reading this, who don’t have some sense that they are meant to be something more than their lives are reflecting (That’s okay, me too).
Man was made first in the Garden of Eden, and woman was made from the man's rib, when God declared that it was not good for him to be alone. He was made to be the head of the marriage, but he dropped the ball at a most crucial moment–the very first documented test of his manhood–he failed, and that is why the better percentage of the billions of people now occupying the planet who have not accepted the redemption provided by the Cross are in the mess they are in. Is there an any more intense picture of the cruciality of our roles as men? It should motivate us to begin to challenge and help one another to begin to uncover our true identities, die to self, and learn to take up our crosses and follow Him. Because things are FAR from okay the way they are, and the slope is getting more and more slippery. There is a very real story still taking place as we live and breathe. Yes, it has a happy ending, but we are called to play an amazing part. There are roles to be stepped into; battles to be fought and destinies to be realized. There is so much we can do to make our lives mean something, and a whole world full of people to be brought into alignment with the Truth, and who they really are in the story, so that their lives will make sense.
Jesus doesn't come back until many things are in place, including as many of His children's hearts having been turned back to Him as He knows will be.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.
Where has this image we have of ourselves come from? We have to begin to see ourselves in light of God’s Word, in order to realize who we really are, which is mighty men of valour, created by God for good works; to conquer, to overcome evil, fighting for our children and wives, and for a screwed up, broken world. I would venture to say that anything less is doing a great disservice to our families, to the Body of Christ, to the lost world, and to ourselves. I am sure that there is nobody who thinks that everything is just fine the way it is. And men, I hope that we can see:
It starts with us.