This one’s for the men. Leigh Ann wrote to the women yesterday.
While I realize that I am writing this on a blog pretty much exclusively for women, I am writing this post in the hopes that it will be shared with the men in your life. Ladies, this isn’t going to put anyone straight or fix those pesky little habits of your men, but it will bring encouragement to glorify God and fulfill our roles as Christian men leading our families. Thanks for sharing!
Men, if you’re receiving this from your lady, put down your guard. She’s not trying to fix you. She’s simply sharing one post in a larger series that interests her. Consider the whole picture and not just this one part as a means to seek the Lord together with your wife.
To the men:
Do you remember when you were young? I mean really young. Like walking, talking, and just learning how to pee standing up young!
Do you remember what it was like to have heroes? Someone you looked up to and wanted to be like? At some point we stopped telling everyone who our favorite superhero was, or what we wanted to be when we grew up, because it just wasn’t cool, or even socially acceptable.
As I watch my son express unbridled passion for the heroes of his imagination, I realize he is striving to be like and follow these magnificent heroes as closely as possible. The thing that’s hardest for me to grasp is why? What is it about Superman, or even David in defeating Goliath that sticks with him and makes him want to reenact and pretend to be them?
Sadly, much of it is marketing and the elevation by society of these figures, or in the case of David, he is the center of the story. If we portrayed the apostle Paul in a cape and bright colors, we might see them remember him and pretend to be him more often too.
As grown men, we are not so different. We follow the marketing and the hype of our culture pretty closely. Its the flash, fame and fortune that gets all the PR. While we may not tell everyone we meet who our heroes are, we still have them. They are just mostly unspoken.
Of course, there is, for most of us, the occasional football jersey promotion of our favorite athlete, but other than that, we keep it to the broader team apparel. Too often, we give ourselves over to elevating people and “looking up to” those who have reached success as defined by our culture, we just don’t talk about it as much. Athletic talent, money and positions of power are some of the most glorified facets of individuals in our day. We very seldom look past the surface of their performance to evaluate the character of the person we view as successful, and with the amazing PR professionals filtering what we do see, it all appears pretty glamorous.
I can tell you this though, God knows every detail of every one of them (and he knows the details of every one of us) and he tells us what is really a hero in his eyes … character, humility and a servant’s heart.
Where do I pull this from? Philippians 2:3-7. Actually, I recommend reading the whole chapter, but here is the snippet I am referring to.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Does that sounds like the people we hear about day-in and day-out on ESPN, Fox News and CNN? I don’t believe it does. Does this sound like you?
I screw this one up around 7:30 every morning when my son blasts into the room babbling something about super powers to the rescue …
Regardless of where we fail, this is what we are called to, as leaders in our home: selflessness, humility, and obedience. All of the things our culture tells us makes us successful, and a real man are not from God.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4 (ESV)
God doesn’t care about your income level, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, or the title before or after your name, except that you steward it well. He cares about your heart for Him and your desire to seek Him and do His will for your life.
You see, the number one area you can see character in our lives, is how we lead in our home, and this is called out clearly in 1 Timothy chapter 3. Paul gives Timothy the qualifications of an overseer.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. ~1 Timothy 3:1-7
The character of a Christian man matters to Paul, which means it matters to God.
In order to evaluate the man’s character, Paul lists a number of character traits that are noble and respectable, including:
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s Church? ~1 Timothy 3:4-5
Paul makes it pretty clear to Timothy that if a man is not managing his home well, don’t even consider him.
Our home is the foundation of how we represent Christ in our lives.
While this passage is prescriptive for the choosing of leaders in the church, I truly believe it characterizes what we should strive for as men who claim to follow Christ and who desire to live for God’s glory over our own.
Do you apply the same level (or hopefully much more) of dedication, hard work, patience, and tactfulness at home as you do at work? Do you still give it more than your all when there is not the promotion, bonus, or recognition of your modern day heroes on the line? Sadly it is much easier to follow the motivations of the world than it is to seek to simply please God by being obedient to leading our homes well.
We must change the gaze of our efforts and priorities off of what the world values, and back to what God calls us to.
It doesn’t matter how well you do in your career, if you screw up at home, you did it all in vain.
Scripture reading, devotions, discipleship, evangelism, prayer and leading with dignity and respect should be taking place at home as a first priority.
As we see in Psalm 127:1 ,“Unless the lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
No matter how much we provide for our family and children financially, educationally, or even in affection, if we don’t give them the foundational basis of the Gospel, we have failed to provide for them in the most important way.
Please don’t look at this as a correction or let it be a means of discouragement of where you have fallen short, but as a call to put your best and first into managing your household well, and know that I am running down this same trail with you… daily!
Take the time to reset priorities that have slipped out of line in your life.
Read Leigh Ann’s post that asks the question, “Why Did God Save You?” Prayerfully consider the action steps God is leading you to take in your family.
What can you do to tip the scales back to living the Gospel at home as a Christian man?