Will The Real Men Please Stand Up!
"Real Men Love Jesus", goes the bumper sticker. What I want to know is do real men put bumper stickers like that on their trucks? I don't think so. What about the guy who has a bumper sticker that says, "Protected by Smith & Wesson" - is he a real man? I doubt it. What is a real man anyway?
Over the last decade we have witnessed a plethora of "men's movements". Each having a goal of moving men toward biblical manhood. Promise Keepers (I am currently involved in) is a great organization. Manpower, headed by Bishop T.D. Jakes, is another very popular men’s group. But, these movements have only addressed the symptoms of a much deeper problem. What is the real problem? Why don't we have more real men? The problem is that a lot of males have not developed into mature, responsible, God-fearing men. Biblical manhood, as a whole, is largely absent among men today. Especially younger men! The reason we don’t have more real men is because many of the them would not recognize true manhood if it slapped them in the face. They simply don’t know what the Bible teaches about manhood or what God requires of them.” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.” Hosea 4:6
The problem with real manhood is also rooted in the dumbing-down and the easing-up of the demands of the Word of God. It is rooted in the over-simplification and the under-estimation of true discipleship. It is rooted in an aversion to hard work, perseverance, and patience. It is rooted in a revolt against maturity. Maturity is the essence of manliness. Being a real man is being mature enough to obey the Word of God! “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22)
What is Real Anyway? How can young men become real men? Men of God? Young men and men of any age will become real men when they live in such a way, as Titus 2:8 says, "That one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say about you." Real men are those who will not back down from a fight. Not a street fight, but a fight against sin in our lives. As believers, we fight against real opponents of the gospel. The way in which we fight them, however, is with the truth of God's word, and the holiness of our profession.
In short, God is calling men to live in such a way that they shame the opponents of the gospel. Is your life putting to shame the opponents of our faith, or is your life a shame to the faith? Please turn page over…… In 1st Peter 2:11-12, Peter similarly admonished the believers to "abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul. Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that in case they speak against you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God…” Unsaved people will undoubtedly say bad things about you if you are living a godly life. When Paul says that the opponents would have "nothing evil to say about you", he didn't mean that they wouldn't say evil things about you, but that they in fact would have no basis for something evil to say about you. They may make something up, but you are not to give them any real dirt. Here’s John’s take on this subject:
14 I have written to you, fathers,Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.I have written to you, young men,Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:14- 7 (NKJV)
We become real men when we become spiritually strong. We become spiritually strong when get the Word of God in us. We get the Word in us by applying ourselves daily to prayer and the study of God’s Word. It is a matter of discipline. A matter of choice.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank.” (Dan. 1:8)
Daniel was about 17 yrs. old at the time. He was not alone, other men stood also: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Dan. 3:16-18 (NKJV) David, says the following: ”How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psa.119:9-11 (NKJV)
Missing in Action
Why are there so few men in the church? Not just our church, but also many other churches fall short on male membership. Why is that? Why are there more Black men between the ages of 18 yrs. old and 23 yrs. old in prison than in college? Why are 33% of all babies in America born to unmarried women? Why do statistics show that men who choose to shack up with women without the benefit of marriage is up 72% higher than it was ten years ago? Why are men not choosing to marry and become respectable fathers? Why are men abandoning their children and the women that are bearing them? Where are the real men?
Another alarming statistics is that divorce rates among Christians are at 60%. Which, unfortunately, is the same divorce rate in the secular world. The real problem is that divorce affects children long after the parents have re-married and moved on with their lives. As a matter of fact, much of the anti-social behavior we see among young people today is linked in some way to family disintegration.
For example, recent studies have shown that divorce is directly related to promiscuous behavior during adolescence. Researchers from the Oregon Social Learning Center tracked the behavior of 200 junior high and high school boys who lived in higher crime areas. They found that the boys who had sexual intercourse at an early age tended to be those who experienced two or more parental transitions (e.g. divorce, remarriage, re-partnering and so on). Only 18% of those promiscuous boys came from intact families. By contrast, 57% of the virgins came from homes where divorce had not occurred. Saving marriages can save children!
A similar study found that a strong correlation existed between young women who bore babies out of wedlock and those who had been through a change in family structure while growing up. The conclusion was that the stresses of divorce, separation or re-marriage directly impacted out-of-wedlock childbearing. The moral here is: When the father is not around, bad things usually happen.
Solutions for Tough Problems
My intention in writing this is not to criticize those of us who find ourselves in these situations. My goal is to offer Biblical and practical solutions. Please turn page over…
The following are four Bible-based solutions to the issues and questions I raised in the preceding paragraphs:
- Real men are sober-minded – 1 Thess.5:6-8, 1 Tim.3:2-3
Sober-minded means to be sensible or self-controlled. It also means, “to curb one’s passions”. It is the idea of exercising self-restraint. Two areas in particular that young men tend to throw off restraint are with sexuality and authority. Guys must discipline themselves and control their passions and thoughts, lest they enter into sinful lust. Younger men also tend to be impatient with established authority. They need to learn to respect their fathers, their elders and all those in authority, as the Bible teaches.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV) 3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Titus 2:11, 12 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
1 Thessalonians 5:5-10 5You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
1 Peter 5:5-9 (NLT) 5 You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” 6So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. 7Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. 8Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. 9Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.
Real men accept full responsibility for their lives. They do not use lame excuses like blaming the system for their problems, blaming the schools for their lack of education, blaming racism for their lack of opportunities, blaming the economy for their lack of employment and finally blaming God for their lack of success. Everyone loves to point the finger of blame. They say it is always some other person’s fault. Grow up guys! It’s time that we take responsibility and be real men for God and men in business. Don’t make excuses. Make sacrifices. Make progress. Make opportunities. Make excuses, NO. Let’s get over it and get on with doing the right thing!
I’ve already presented one of four areas in the Bible that describe Real Men. (Real Men are sober-minded) Here are the rest:
2. Real Men will do the right thing
Titus 3:8 (NLT) 8 These things I have told you are all true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.
Romans 13:13-14 (NLT) 13 We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. 14But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.
1 John 1:7-9 (NLT) 7 But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
We don’t have to guess about what God expects from us, His Word clearly lays out His will regarding our conduct. Our job is simply to obey.
3. Real Men will ask for forgiveness
Some men are too macho to say, “I’m sorry”. That’s a problem for a lot of guys because they think that it some how diminishes their manhood. Well it doesn’t. It takes a much bigger man to admit when he’s wrong than it does to live in denial. An unforgiving attitude is like a cancer. It eats away at a person daily until it eventually leaves them bitter and miserable. We all need to forgive and we all need to be forgiven. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matt. 6:12)
Mark 11:25 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Luke 17:3-4 3 I am warning you! If another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. 4 Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him.”
Psalm 51:6,7,10 & 17 But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.
17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.
4. Real Men submit their lives to the authority of Jesus Christ
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT) 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.When all is said and done, it is only what we do for Christ that will last. Men, make your life count. Live it for the only One who counts, Jesus Christ.