Mike Rutledge

www.catalystmovement.net

Real Men… Lead Righteously

“When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.” – Proverbs 28:12

When wicked men lead, people want to hide. No one wants to follow a man who is evil. But I think we need to flush out what wicked means first before we go any further. A wicked man in proverbs is one who first and foremost doesn’t fear or honour the Lord. This guy might believe that God is there, he might read his bible, he may have been baptized, been down at the altar, prayed a prayer, the whole gamut, but it means nothing if he isn’t truly saved, filled with the Spirit and living in new life.  To fear or honour God is to put His ways above my own and, out of love and thanksgiving, submit my life to His way of operating. Not fearing the Lord is to be a hearer of the word and not a doer of the word. (James 1:22) It is to be someone who doesn’t submit to His ways or denies His presence, whether they believe in him or not.

            Continuing down two verses in Proverbs 28, this wicked leader is like a roaring lion or charging bear. He is a devouring animal who feeds off the poor that he oppresses.  He devours them with abusing them. This can be done verbally by withholding words of encouragement and life, while speaking death and belittlement over others. This is done to build his prideful ego up. Instead of being the man God has called him to be, stepping up and manning up, he just puts everyone down because that is easier. Practically this is seen in name calling, violent tones and temperaments in conversation, verbal intimidation, and the like. This wicked boy is impish and a coward.

            He can devour people (wife, kids, co workers, friends) emotionally. This is where abuse and torment cross paths. Torment is being abused with no way of escaping, due to threats, expectation, and fear. He withholds love and depths. Keeps even his wife at arm’s length and then draws close when he wants something. This is usually paired with verbal intimidation and the woman is left emptied and afraid to go anywhere so she endures.  Kids are left hungry for affection, affirmation, and value as Dad is never really there, and when he is he speaks death.  Or he devours physically. Having such deep insecurity and pride, he has a need to dominate to prove himself, to himself. No man would ever even consider abusing a woman or child like this, or in any way, only boys, only impish, cowardly boys.

            This guy has no integrity, he is unrepentant (Prov 28:13), and lazy. He is accountable to no one because he thinks at the base of it all he is God and he decides what is good and right to do. He is an arrogant boy that desperately needs to grow up.

            When this guy is around, everyone runs. Runs fast, runs far. No one wants to be with him. His wife feels trapped, his kids didn’t choose him, and most likely is ignorant of it all. His co workers hide from him, his friends always make excuses for him, he is a joke.  “…but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.”

            BUT when the righteous rule, triumph, reign, there is great glory, for him and for those around him. A righteous man is humble, repentant, trustworthy and encourages. He builds up, lifts up, and covers those whom he leads. When he is leading the people flourish. That’s the big idea.

            All the traits of a Man that I have written on, and still to write on, should ultimately produce human flourishing. As a Man your relationship with God should flourish, or else you won’t be the righteous leader. As a Man your wife should flourish under your leadership. She should develop and be encouraged. She should feel safe enough with you to risk vulnerability and growth. She should be able to become the woman she is called to be because you are not oppressing her, but covering her in prayer and leading her to a deeper relationship with God. Her dreams should be realties (within reason of course.. if she wants to be a 24/7 traveler then that’s not a dream that can happen in every relationship, for example.) Your kids should flourish. They should grow up with affection and affirmation from their father. They should have life instilled in them, destiny seen in them and greatness drawn out of them.  If you do your job well, the whole family and, ultimately, society flourishes. This is a HUGE responsibility, and if you aren’t up for the challenge then don’t get married. Manhood is not for boys who can shave, it’s for real men. Manhood is a responsibility not a right.

           Finally, Manhood is not measured in years, but decades. Just because you think you are doing a good job now, means nothing really. Praise God for His grace in your life that at this present moment you are succeeding. But you will know whether you were a man or not when you’re 60 and your kids are succeeding, knowing that you loved them, gave everything for them, and are living out your legacy of character. You will know you were a Man when you are 75 and your wife still looks at you and knows that you never stopped loving her, that she has no regrets and wouldn’t trade you for the world. There are always situations that you don’t foresee. Children blatantly rebel yet you were a great dad, wives cheat and leave yet you were great husband. There are always exceptions but even in the exceptions your Manhood would shine through. So, there are no reasons why you can’t Man up.

            Yes, it is ideal. Yes, the standard is perfection. No, you won’t measure up. No, you won’t be perfect. But by the grace of God you can still be successful.

Real Men… are Emotion Rich (Not Emotional or Stoic)

In my post on gentleness I spoke about the tough/tender continuum. Today I want to explore a subcategory of that same continuum that deals with the realm of emotions.  On the one side there is the extreme position of emotionalism, and on the other is the extreme of stoicism. Right in the middle is where we want to be, at what I am going to call being Emotion Rich. 

Emotionalism is when a man is overly emotional. He is controlled by his emotions first and foremost. Unless it makes him feel good, he won’t do it. He can be overly lazy, bored easily and extremely arrogant. He is tossed by his emotions as well. He can’t be looked to by his wife, kids, and friends,  in times of trial because he is so caught up by how he is feeling hat  he isn’t anchored anywhere, he goes where he feels like going. There is no security in him. He is also highly reactive. If someone speaks a harsh word against him he doesn’t use wisdom to discern what really going on, he doesn’t work to consider why the person might have acted that way, he immediately reacts at the level of the other, even lowering himself beyond it most of the time. He cares not what they might be going through, his concern is himself.

He is overly sensitive. Everything is taken personally and causes drama and hell in his life. He is inconsistent. Especially with God, but with other as well. As soon as the “feeling” is gone, he leaves, he is uncommitted past what benefits him. When he goes to church its for an emotional high, and not to actually meet with God. If he doesn’t “feel” God there he assume God has left and doesn’t trust in the Word of God. When relationships get tough he leaves.

If you haven’t noticed, this guy is a child. He never grew up. He’s a boy who can shave and is immature and needs a good rebuke. He is also extremely prideful. Life revolves around him. He will never be a good husband or father since these take commitment and sacrifice, humility and thick skin. Yes, there is a lesson we can learn from him, men do need to be in tune with their emotions, but the emotional man worships himself and not God. God is the ultimate, the one in control not our emotions. 

Stoicism on the opposite side is the opposite. He thinks that being a man is not being a woman, so emotions don’t play a role in his life. He is often a great financial provider, but just checks out emotionally for his wife and kids. He bottles everything up and wont be vulnerable or open. He pushes his wife’s advance away and her desire for intimacy scares him so he puts of a shield and says that talking about feelings isn’t manly.  If he does react, its in anger. Since, he hasn’t dealt with his issues no matter what he is going through anger is what you see.  He doesn’t invest in his relationships, doesn’t know how to encourage, and doesn’t know how to love on a deep level outwardly. He to is prideful. He is essentially about image and a twisted sense of manhood. When his wife asks for more from him he always justifies himself by his financial contribution and says she is being to sensitive. He has grow up to have deep insecurity and he is highly self destructive because he doesn’t know how to open up. 

It may seem a little more ‘grown up’ than the emotionalism guy, but it’s the same thing. He is still a child. He needs to mature and humble himself, to accept help when he needs and breath life into his wife and kids.

And so, if we try to work hard enough to find a balance we come to emotion rich living. Being an emotion rich man starts by owning up to the fact that you have emotions. You have feelings and needs, and you need to talk about them. David, King David who fought many wars, wrote beautiful poetry expressing the deepest thoughts of his heart to God. Men often think that stuff is just for pansies and women, but David understood the balance of warrior and poet. He owned his thoughts and feelings and dealt with them. Emotions are here to enhance our life. To allow us to enjoy our existence, our wife, kids, dreams, and use our failures to grow. 

In fact, if you aren’t emotionally moved by injustice and oppression, by death, by salvation and recovery, by reconciliation, by beauty, then something is deeply wrong. We were made with the capacity for passion, for deep seated desire that reflect the heart of our Father, God. God is emotion rich. He is not fickle, he is not tossed to and fro by his feelings, he is stable and consistent, but he still rejoices, mourns, grieves, and gets angry.  But do you? Emotion richness is stability in the face of turmoil. It’s compassion when darkness is surrounding. Its rejoicing when life is good and mourning when it isn’t. We are told in the Bible that there are times to laugh and cry. That we should rejoice and again rejoice. That we should mourn with those who mourn. Jesus even rebukes the church in Ephesus for having all the right doctrine but having no passion, no love, no emotional desire for him.

Men, where does your pride take you? Are you the stoic, who shuts off and protects yourself. Are you not vulnerable with your wife and kids, and those closest to you? Do you think you have it all together and don’t need help? Do you think emotional responses are womanly? If so, repent. Turn to Jesus. Allow him to awaken and free your heart to be an emotion rich man, one who is blessed and stirred to action, greatness and valiance by the emotions God has given us. Man up 

Or, are you overly sensitive? Can’t take a joke. Do you always find yourself deciding by your emotions? Allowing them to define you. Are you reactive and childish when spoken to or rebuked? Are you only doing things for the feeling? Are you uncommitted, undependable, and unstable? Man up. Repent. Don’t turn of the emotions allow Jesus to mature them and redeem them. Use your sensitivity to bring healing into others, redirect it to the benefit of listening and acting for those who are around you.

Man up. Become Emotion rich. Allowing emotions to bless your life, to allow you to enjoy beauty in Gods creation, and drive you a passionate pursuit of him. Let emotions stir your heart to love your wife, kids, and this world. To end injustice, pray for revival and see the brokenness restored. Man up.

Real Men…are Gentle

When someone says the word, ‘Manly’, I’m sure the farthest thing from what comes to mind is the word gentle. Gentleness, generally is ascribed to the women or really wimpy men, but not real tough guys. How stupid.

 In 1 Timothy 3:3 Paul tells us that men are to be, “not violent but gentle…” (ESV) How often do we fail at this in what we think manhood really is. But, what is gentleness? Paul contrasts it to violence, so that should give us a hint into what he is meaning.  A gentle person is controlled, level headed, and fair minded.  Gentleness does not mean that there is an absence of power, ability or authority. But it does mean that the way I conduct myself, how I speak, interact, feel, react, etc. are under control and appropriate.

 You see there is a continuum that men fall on, some call it the tough/tender, others the warrior/poet continuum. Whatever you want to call it, it means that at one end there is all tough, all warrior mentality, no emotion, duty, violent, anger, reactivity. And the other is the passivity, the impish, emotional and easily swayed, no backbone and cant defend himself or anyone else. Either of these two extremes are wrong, are boyish.  A Man works to be the middle ground. Let’s look to Jesus.

 A perfect balance of these two extremes is profoundly observable in the life of Jesus. There are times when he has to be tough with people, we can think of how he interacts with the Pharisees who religiously oppress people (Luke 7, Matthew 15, Matthew 23), how he cleansed the temple and flipped over table because of the sin (John…) and even how in the garden before he was sent to be crucified as he was praying he was sweating drops of blood and yet still saying that his fathers will should be done. (Luke…) When he needed to be he was tough. He spoke with conviction, stood for what was right, fought for the worthwhile things.  But he was also tender. Like how he desired to have the kids come to him, how he spoke to the woman who anointed his feet with her tears, how even on the cross he was looking to take care of his mother, how he treated the woman caught in adultery before the Pharisees, how he wept for the death of his close friend.  Jesus was gentle, he was that middle ground, that perfect balance and what we should strive to be.

 Boys just go with their emotions, which for many men is primarily anger. That’s why Paul contrasts gentleness with violence. Males can be violent aggressive creatures. Men know when it is appropriate and when it isn’t. Boys think punching hard means something. Men are warrior poets who understand emotions yet are willing to fight a worthwhile battle.

So, how then should Real Men live? 

First, what do your words sound like and what is the tone that is behind them? This is a great clue as to where you are on the gentleness continuum. Admittedly, I struggle with this one. I come from a house of 4 brothers and we are loud and not always the most gentle people with each other. And of course it becomes a habit of speech. But how you speak and the words you use do reflect your heart. Are they uplifting words? Or are you often sarcastic, and rude? Are you prideful in how you talk and build yourself up? Do you use your words to intimidate those around you?  If you do that to a women, then you’re a joke and need to shut up until you learn how to speak.  Is your tone giving or taking? Does it breathe life into a situation or person or does it spew death? How you talk is extremely important.

Which leads us to how you react. How you talk is often influenced by your controlled or uncontrolled reactions. Do you react quickly and harshly? Is your temper under control or does it go off in a second? If so you need to repent of being violent. Violence isn’t just physical, it can be emotional. Gentleness reacts slowly, as we are told we need to be, “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19) Gentleness doesn’t expect everything to go my way or the highway. Gentleness honours the other person even in a moment of disagreement. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you. Like, when you and your wife, or anyone, has a slight misunderstanding, are you quick to get angry because she isn’t doing it right? Or said something wrong? Be gentle, be humble. 

Obviously, how you physically act is also defined by gentleness. Any male who would even hit a woman or child in anger, to prove a point, display dominance, intentionally harm is demonic boy. A gentle man never physically intimidates his wife or children. He doesn’t fight them, he fights for them. Gentleness doesn’t mean that you cant physically be strong and be able to defend your family literally.  Your wife should feel safe under your physical protection. Impish boys make their wives do the defending. They make their wives have the backbone. And this is wrong. Men are called the stronger vessel for a reason. Do you physically harm your wife? Stop, get help and repent.  Do you intimidate your children? Grow up. Repent. Are you unnecessarily harmful to creation? To plants and animals? Are you destructive? It’s not just ‘being a man’, it’s sin. Repent, and steward God’s creation.  

Gentleness is not just restricted to anger or aggression its also a positive attribute that adds to a person. Are you sweet and loving to your wife? Does she know she can come to you at all times, with any concern? Do you call her names or bless her with your words? Do you love her the way she needs to be loved? If not, ask her how you can, repent for not, and grow up.  Do you spend quality time with your kids? Do you build them up? Or is that just sissy stuff? Become a Dad, throw out the fake macho act and tenderly love your kids

Boys think that being gentle means being a women, and that is stupid. Gentleness is a deep way the Men get to embody Christ to their families and the world. Men, its time to move past the stoic, macho man definition into true masculinity.

Real Men…take Responsibility

Real Men take responsibility. I wrote a couple weeks ago about how men need to be men of repentance, they need to refrain from blame shifting and man up when they screw up.  But, what about when you have no direct fault? 

The answer: Even if it’s not your fault, because you are a Man, it’s your responsibility.

This is most obviously seen in the work and life of Jesus. To put the gospel simply, when Adam ate the fruit the human race was plunged into the depravity of sin. We were separated from God and nothing that we could do, could ever repair the relationship. So, Jesus left heaven, incarnated as a man, and lived a perfect sinless life, and then was rejected, abused, and murdered to pay the debt of our sin, and rose again to victory.

Now, the key in Jesus’ life is this, he died as the payment for sin after living a perfect life. The Sin wasn’t his fault, he didn’t do anything wrong, but he took the responsibility on himself to deal with it. Men are called to emulate this in how they treat their wives, families, and even in everyday situations. 

Boys try to pass the responsibility on to someone else. Their battlecry is “well it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t do anything to cause this…” Most likely you did. But even besides that, if you are the man in the situation its your responsibility.  It’s your job to man up and start taking responsibility.

This responsibility starts with yourself obviously. Taking care of yourself, growing up, and owning up to the demands of life. Then it must move beyond yourself. You take responsibility for the well-being of a woman and take a wife, you take the responsibility of children and become a father who loves his kids and is present for them, he takes responsibility for the well-being of his church, community, city, country, and world. (Not everyone is called to be a husband and father, but statistically, most of you will)

A Man takes responsibility for the state of his marriage and the well being of his wife. Your wife’s relationship with Jesus is not determined by you, but it is your responsibility to make sure she is doing well.  Sin that is present is her life is not your fault, but it is your responsibility. The health of your marriage is determined by both of you, but it is your job as the man to be the covenant head (more on this in a later post). She might be to blame for the problem, but it’s your responsibility to fix it.  Don’t be a joke and pass the responsibility off onto your wife to do all the work, you need to cover her, pray for her, work for her, serve her.  (For you single guys, this applies to you as well. If you have a girlfriend, and are headed toward marriage, you should be trying to cover her with prayer, and encourage her in her relationship with Jesus as well. ) 

A Man takes responsibility for the next generation. I firmly believe that most men should desire to be a father. (Yes, there are exceptions, but you probably aren’t one) I find that you can tell what males haven’t grown up by the ones who don’t want to have kids, because simply put, they are too selfish and kids will just get in the way. The Bible tells us that children are a blessing and since God himself is revealed as father, there should be a desire to understand that father type love.  Boys want to care about themselves only, maybe get a woman for sex and selfish companionship, not covenant love. Men want to love a woman, and raise kids. It’s about responsibility and seeing the next generation go far beyond the current one. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy and Titus that man is responsible for the spiritual health of his kids. His kids sins aren’t his fault, but it is his responsibility to oversee his kids, and loving lead them to Jesus, to be their pastor. Their purity, morality, physical health, mental healthy, media consumption, education, etc. is your responsibility. No one ever said that being a man was easy. 

A Man takes responsibility for the health of his church. He serves the church, honors the pastors, tithes to the church. He desires to see the kingdom of God move forward and works to it. He doesn’t complains that things may not be going well, he shuts up and stands up and starts serving. He takes responsibility for his church. 

A Man takes responsibility for the well being of his community, city, nation, and the world. He takes responsibility for the place where he dwells. He seeks to bring betterment to the immediate community by creating a proper familial culture in his house and deeply cares for his neighbors. He works for the betterment of his city, seeking to meet the needs. He cares for creation and stewards what God has made.

A Real Man steps up and takes responsibility for himself, for his wife, kids, church, community, city and world. He moves beyond himself and does the hard work of caring for and working to better others.

Real Men…are Pure

     Men desire purity. Men love to respect and uphold the dignity of a woman. Boys desire pleasure. Boys love to use feminine glory for their own personal satisfaction. This post is centered around a series of three verses, Ephesians 5:3, Matthew 5:28, and Job 31:1.

The Standard: Ephesians 5:3 – “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality”

     Not even a hint. Not even the smallest little sin is acceptable. We often excuse the impurity and perversions of boys with the statement “boys will be boys”. A ‘real man’ wants sex and gets its. We idolize males who have many sexual exploits and conquests, and we label the pure and holy guys as “feminine”.  But a true Man knows better. He doesn’t allow his maleness to determine his purity. Just because he is a man doesn’t mean he can’t be pure, or shouldn’t expect to be.  Manhood is a high calling that is unfortunately not on the radar for many boys, especially in the area of sexuality.  The standard God has set is high. Not even a hint. Men, are you allowing more than hint in your life?  Paul says that if we do allow these things we are participating in idol worship. We commit the gravest sin by worshiping ourselves over God when we do not guard ourselves from impurity.  Boys, its time to grow up… especially in this area. It’s time to have some dignity, a clean mind, and respect for the feminine beauty. Stop being a pervert and be a Man.

 The Instruction:  Matthew 5:28 -  “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”

     For Jesus, to even look in lust is the same as committing the action of adultery. That’s what Jesus says.  Men work to keep their eyes pure. It’s a generally understood principle that men are wired, by God, to be visually stimulated. Men love beauty.  But that doesn’t mean, as I said before, that we use it as some excuse for impurity.

     Men do not watch pornography, Boys do. Men actually hate it, are repulsed by it, and want to see the whole industry abolished. Their hearts break from the women who end up there. As the Father heart of God weeps for the women, so does a Man. He hates participating in the abuse and is sickened by the boys who do.  Boys, love the stuff. They hide away alone and consume the fake intimacy and believe that this is what women are for. They objectify women literally to the point of a sex toy that he gets to use. It’s is a grave perversion and utterly selfish.

     Kids are seeing porn by 11 years old, and are being fed lies about sex and intimacy. Sex has been reduced to and fun activity, even casually between friends. But a Man knows and lives better. He heeds the words of Jesus and values the intimate bond between a husband and wife as a sacred thing, not a selfish, exploitive act. Women, don’t be naïve, boys who are hooked on porn have perverted, twisted, selfish perspectives on sex and the ‘requirements’ of the woman. He wants conquest not commitment. Do not settle for the porn guy. He is a bum, he is not worth your time.

     Sexual sin is highly selfish. That is the deepest issue at work in this situation. Boys are simply concerned about how to get the pleasure now, regardless of the cost, the abuse, and the hurt it might cause. Then, these boys get married and nothing changes. Their wife becomes a sex toy not a lover. He uses her for his pleasure and then passes her aside without desiring intimacy. He checks out every girl that walks by, and leaves his wife insecure beyond belief. He is simply an idiot. He needs to grow up.

      Being at a Youth convention recently, surround by hundreds of teenage boys really shows you how prevalent impurity has become. (Yes, teenage girls aren’t the most modest girls out there anymore…) Boys all weekend starring down girls and checking everything out. You can see the lust that fills their eyes, and why wouldn’t they do it? Every influence they have tells them this is what men do. Movies, music, TV, friends, fathers and brothers, who are glorified boys show them men look with lust and desire. But true Men desire purity.

The Covenant – Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl”

     Men can control themselves. They are not obsessed with sex, they don’t desire to use and abuse women for selfish gain. They honor and respect purity in themselves and the purity of women. Men desire commitment and not conquest, he desires to give himself fully, to one woman for his life. He has enough patience and humility to wait until the wedding day. He doesn’t make excuses. A Man doesn’t look to porn, he hates it. His heart breaks for it, he weeps over it. And like Job, he makes a covenant promise, to God and himself, to his wife (when he gets one), that he will not look upon any women lustfully because he desires purity.

            Boys can’t even fathom this. They will ask, How can I not look? A question that disguises a deep seated selfishness and perversion of the goodness of sex that exists within him. He is not willing to put others first and seek righteousness. If you are this boy, I urge, come to Jesus, repent, and stop. Stop your foolish ways. Have some respect. See women as they should be seen - beautiful creations that bring delight to this world, not objects for your pleasure. That false understanding is sick.

Real men…Repent

Men love being right.  I can think of no man who would ever admit to loving being wrong.  But you see, a Real Man is humble enough to know when he is wrong and fix it, with a repentant heart.  Boys love to blame-shift, they don’t want to be corrected and are too prideful to admit a fault. For them it’s always someone else’s fault and they are quick to point out whose. 

It all started way back in the garden. God had made Eden, and proceeded to make us. He made Adam, the first man, and told him to tend to the garden, to take care of it and keep it. God gave Adam one prohibition, that he was not to eat from the one tree. Along comes Eve, for God saw that it was not good for Adam to exist alone. The two, man and woman, husband and wife (yes, married) lived together in that Garden overseeing it together.

But, there is always a ‘but’ with us, Satan went and tempted Eve with the ‘forbidden fruit’, she ate of it and gave to Adam, “who was with her…” (Gen. 3:6) and he ate. And at that moment, sin entered into the world, and when God came to find them they hid. They were ashamed, and rightly so, but Adam hid from God when he should have repented. In fact, God comes and calls Adam out, and here’s Adams response:

 “And [God] said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’

The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” – (Gen. 3:11-12, emphasis added)

Not once did Adam step up and take the blame for the action that he did. He immediately shifts the blame both to Eve and to God! He says the woman that God gave him caused all this. Adam tried to pass blame to whoever he could as long as it made him seem better than he was, even blaming God.

This is typical boyhood behavior. Whenever a boy is confronted with wrong doing he blame shifts and always finds someone else to pin it on, never himself, he is to perfect to be bad after all. It is simply pride. This is no perversion of a good quality, this is no deficit of the good, it is simply disgusting, all bad, prideful. 

Men repent. Men are humble enough to admit to being wrong and work to make things right. They take responsibility, and even love being corrected that they may grow in righteousness. Unfortunately, repentance has been take by a bunch of boys and watered down and destroyed so that they can feel like they are being men by having a sense of false repentance, where saying “I’m sorry” fixes everything. True repentance is characterized by 4 main things: Confession, Reparation, Change, Accountability.

Confession – “Therefore confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16) Repentance is not getting caught! We often are quick to ‘repent’ when we are found out. All this proves is that we aren’t really sorry for our sin. If we were truly repentant and hated the wrong we were doing we wouldn’t need to get caught, we would confess. We would man up and own up. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are sorry when you continue in your sin and hide it. In John 1 we are told that the light comes into the darkness and exposes it. It takes a lot of humility to expose oneself and that is what a man does. Pride waits to be caught then tries to patch it up with a quick plea of shame and saying sorry, Men confess and expose the wrong.

Reparation – Just because we as Christians are people who are supposed to be filled with grace and forgiveness, doesn’t mean we also shouldn’t make things right.  If it is within your power to make things right between you and the offended party, it’s your duty as a Man to do so. This is just another level of added humility. It takes humility to confess and be exposed and it takes even more to say, “how can I fix this?”. In some situations this is obviously impossible, but where it is within your power, you fix it, even if it is a simple flower for the wife.

These last two, these are where you find out whether you are really a Man or not.

Change - We are told by John in his first letter that we are to hate what is of the world – or sin. (1 John 2:15-16) And once we confess our sin, our job is not to do it again and continue sinning, or offending, or abusing. We should hate wrong doing and TRUE repentance is change. It is NOT enough to say I’m sorry and expectant that you can use that as a get out of jail free card.  Repentance can be visualized by a complete turning away from. Imagine yourself hugging your sin, a deep embrace, repentance is marked by a letting go of and turning and embracing Jesus. It’s a 180 degree switch. NOTHING LESS! 179 degrees isn’t enough.

Accountability  - Because you as a Man hate sin and don’t want to continue it, you get accountable. This shows that you want again to be exposed, corrected and matured. To try to be repentant by fighting the fight all on your own is either pride thinking that you can do, which you can’t, you need Jesus and community, or you don’t want to be held accountable because you want to continue in your sin. Accountability says I don’t want to continue, I want to change, and I admit my weakness. Simply, humility.

Men are not like their forefather Adam, a blame-shifter.  Men are repentant. Boys are pride filled, arrogant and shallow. They won’t take responsibility, they won’t change, they won’t pursue what is right and just.

Men grow in humility, grow in repentance. 

Real Men…Worship

It should sadden anyone of us to come to the realization that we live in a age dominated by boys. We have bought into the lie that somehow going through puberty makes a boy into a man. But, truly, age has nothing to do with Manhood. The truth is, all males are born boys and they can die as one. Unfortunately, in our modern day Manhood has been murdered, and it’s time for a resurrection. 

For any of you who may read these blog posts, I will be up front and honest. I am unashamedly a Christian, and will be writing from that perspective. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn, or can’t be challenged to grow. I pray that as I share what true Manhood is, I will continue to grow as I read and write, and you will be able to grow into Manhood. (For the ladies, this will be just as beneficial for you, since we all know you want a real man to end up with, so take notes, don’t lower your standards **but have grace, men do screw up a lot).

Real Men… Worship. 

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman, his children one day, friends and neighbors, is lead them to a deeper knowledge of Christ and his gospel of Grace and life. But in order to do that he needs to know and love Jesus himself. You see, the call to Manhood is literally impossible. To even think right now that you can be a man within your own strength is ridiculous. You might be thinking that you know plenty of “good” men who aren’t Christians, and I don’t doubt that their have been good men, but we need to realize that all of us are broken, all of us sinful. In Isaiah 64:6 we are told that even our good works are like dirty menstrual rags before our Holy and Perfect God, and I’ll tell you this much, I have been a pretty good guy by all the world’s standards, and yet, the one thing I know is that I sin all the time, and even after I have surrendered my life to God, I am in desperate need of his help. This is a HIGH calling, Manhood isn’t for the faint of heart, it isn’t for the weak willed but it is for the humble. Manhood begins in the heart that is humble enough to admit to what you already know, that you suck and you need a saviour. That is the gospel, it isn’t good works, it isn’t earning God’s love, it is humble admission and repentance of sin, it is placing your trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, not that complicated really. 

Once you surrender your life to God, you open yourself up to his work in you and that is where Manhood starts. Here’s why… all the markings of boy (which we will discuss over the next weeks) are sin, and so to grow up in Manhood is to grow in Holiness. Martin Luther wrote that if we can get the first commandment right (Ex. 20:3, worshiping God alone) the rest will just take care of themselves, and that is where the lightbulb should have went off. Sin, or boyhood in this context, is a worship issue. A boy worships himself, he is surrendered to no body, he looks out for number one, takes for himself, uses for himself, and in this place of prideful worship is found all the failings of a man. But when a man chooses to surrender and worship, he begins the journey on Manhood. When he allows the gospel and Christ to shape and transform him, when he can admit his inadequacy and seeks the saviour, he is already displaying the beginning signs of Manhood (surrender, humility, accountability, selflessness). 

And I am not talking about some one time prayer you prayed at summer camp 15 years ago. I am talking about true worship, a deep love for God and his word, a surrender to God’s desires and a continual life intimacy with Him (John 15). This is where I must lament the most, there are way to many ‘Christian’ boys, who are quite frankly jokes. Whether they are 16 or 65, they take the Lord’s name in vain by the actions of their lives and it’s sick. A Real Man loves Jesus, is surrendered to God and wants live out His grace. 

In the next weeks we will look at these signs of a Real Man:

Humility, Love, Sacrifice, Grace, Service, Mercy, Purity, Forgiveness, Repentance, Integrity, Faithfulness, Perseverance, Provision, Protection, Toughness, Gentleness, Wisdom, Generosity, Identity, Legacy, Intercession, Peace, Justice, and I’m positive other that will come in along the way.