One of the greatest joys I have found as a Christian is learning how to be a man—a real man. One who is honest with his wife, who plays with his kids, who takes care of the needs of the family and strives to give wherever there’s a need. And I see a few men around me who, by God’s grace, are in pursuit of the same things. Two of my best friends are very much good, strong Christian husbands and I look forward to the day when they’re good, strong Christian daddies. It’s going to be a joyous day.
These guys bring great joy to my life and I’m incredibly grateful for them, especially the older men who are willing to speak into my life and the lives of others.
But there are some guys… Guys who are grown men, but act like little boys wearing man-pants.
Some live in their moms’ basements well into their twenties, have no jobs, no ambition to hold onto one if they do get one, and basically play video games, watch movies, and mess about on the interweb all day.
Others have all the outward trappings of being grown ups, but abuse their wives and children with a controlling and domineering attitude.
There’s this short verse in 1 Corinthians, that I find myself coming back to again and again. It says:
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong.
1 Cor. 16:13
Stand firm in the faith.
Act like men.
Four commands for men.
And in some ways, all summed up in the third: Act like men.
A man will be watchful—He’ll be watchful of his doctrine and of the welfare of his family and local church.
A man will stand firm in the faith—He will read his Bible, he will repent of sin. He will sin to be sure, but he will always repent of it in the end. He will take care of his family. He will love them and provide for them, because a man who does not provide for his family has denied the faith and become worse than an unbeliever.
A man will be strong—Strong enough to admit that he’s as broken and sinful as the rest of us. Strong enough to receive correction. Strong enough to be a servant to his family, and sacrifice himself for his bride, as Christ did for His.
He will act like a man, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When I see and hear about men who repeatedly fail to act like men—little boys who refuse to repent of sin, get and keep a job, move out, love their wives, teach their sons to treat women as precious jewels, teach their daughters that they deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect—and when all I see is them being able to continue to get away with it, continuing to serve in their churches because they do a good enough job of keeping their sin hidden… Honestly, I just want to lose my mind!
When I see guys like that, I want to grab them and shout:
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?
When I see these little boys—these shameful, pathetic cowards—dismissed with a pat on the head because they’re snowflakes and God especially loves them… Honestly, my anger gets to the point where it can easily turn sinful.
If you’ve caught that I’m a bit riled up, you need some explanation:
I did not grow up with a positive male influence. I love my dad, and we get along very well now, and I believe he’s actually a pretty great Granddad to my daughter, but he had some serious junk when he was a young man. And because he was essentially a non-presence for many years, I never saw how a man should be. My mom, she’s great. She worked really hard to take care of my sister and I. But she had to do a job that she shouldn’t have had to alone. No parent, mother or father, should have to raise their children on their own.
But such is life.
I don’t write this because I didn’t get enough hugs or anything like that. I write this because this is truly the great issue in our churches: Men fail to act like men, so men disappear. I truly believe that regaining an understanding of God has created us to be as men if we’re going to see the church become healthier in North America.
He’s called us to be men who love the Word of God, and desire to know it deeply.
He’s called us to be strong, to be able to do what’s right.
He’s called us to be providers, both financially and emotionally.
He’s called us to be leaders willing to lay down our lives for our wives.
He’s called us to be men of prayer.
Those are a few of the characteristics of what it means to be a man.
By God’s grace, I know some men who are like this. We are blessed to be a part of a church where the elders model this well.
And if you’re a man, a real man—a man who hates sin, loves Jesus, wants to know your Bible, strives to take care of your family—understand: I love you. Men like you make my heart soar. Persevere. Don’t give up. Stand firm in the faith.
Now, if you’ve made it through this post and you’re the other guy, the little boy in man-pants: Shame on you! Repent before you must face the judgment of God. Because truly, you don’t face my judgment, or the judgment of any man around you:
You face Jesus.
And it will go badly for you.
So, I beg you: Repent.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith.