This past weekend Beth and I were on a great trip with some friends who challenge us to be better in every area of our lives. It was a busy four day weekend filled with long days and lots of fellowship. I had only been getting about five hours of sleep each night and really wanted to sleep in Sunday morning, but my friend, DJ, invited all of the men to join him for a 7:15 am bible study. I was definitely tired, but so thankful DJ invited us to join him. DJ’s message was simple, but powerful and caused me to consider the differences between being a guy and being a man.
We live in a society where the family unit is under attack. There are many reasons for this decline, but one of the biggest ways this has been allowed to happen is because there are way too many weak men out there who are not following God’s will and being the leader of his household. Before I talk about what it means to be a man let me share some perspectives on what does not make you a man. Here are a few things real men do not do:
Use women for personal gain
Use foul language
Now I realize that many of those items on this list are counter cultural. Is that a bad thing? I think not. In fact in almost all ways I strive to be counter cultural. If we look around at the fruit this current culture in America is producing I do not want to be a part of it. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, two thirds of Americans are overweight, both spouses work outside the home, day care raises kids, and the average American household has $16,000 of credit card debt. I do not believe there are many of us out there who WANT those things, but unfortunately way to many Americans have them anyway.
Those actions listed above are perceived by way too many foolish guys to be part of being a man. In reality they are signs of weakness. Real men are held to a way higher standard than just “being a guy”.
So then the question remains what makes a man. There are several insights throughout scripture, but this is one specific verse I would like to highlight is:
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. – Ephesians 5:25
As men we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church. This is an impossibly high standard. On our own there is not one man alive who is capable of this type of love. We cannot love like Christ unless we first know Christ’s love. Being a man has nothing to do with superficial attributes like most people think. Being a real man first starts with surrendering your life to Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the forgiveness of your sins. Before I came to know Christ and felt His Holy Spirit work in my life I was a broken man who tried imitating other guys and never really found fulfillment. Once I experienced Christ’s love and forgiveness I stopped living for myself and started living for Him.
Once you have your identity in who Jesus says you are it gives you a completely different perspective in life. His love and forgiveness transforms us and empowers us to fully love others. It takes A LOT more strength to be gentle with a woman and control our tongues. There have been times in my life when I have said or done hurtful things towards my wife and it was simply because I was not strong enough to love her the way she deserved. Loving our wives is an easy thing to talk about, but it is completely different to walk it out every single day. It requires us as men to grow in our faith and our relationship with Jesus. We must daily read and study scripture. We must intentionally set aside time for prayer and pray specific prayers for God’s love, wisdom, gentleness, humility, & grace. Will you join me in growing to become a real man?
Question: What is one specific area where you are aware that you do not love your wife like Christ loves the church and what action step could you take to change it? Comment below