June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Taking the Hill

Throwback Thursday is a series of posts, wherein I will on (some) Thursdays post a piece of writing from back in the day. Generally not from this blog. I will edit lightly for readability, but my intention is to allow each piece to stand basically as written. Over the years my mind has shifted on many things, as my knowledge of life, the Scriptures, and myself has grown. I'm not in the business of hiding this fact, so these will probably (at least on occasion) contain some things which even I think are crazy.

Originally posted on Facebook as, "Night of the Mighty Men", April 24, 2010

So tonight a bunch of us guys had an ultimate guy's night. We dressed in ridiculous outfits, some in kilts, some in torn shirts, some in things not fit to be mentioned in polite company. We had jousting, caber tossing, ax throwing, and hand to hand combat. We ate meat off the bone, cooked beans over a fire, ate them without silverware, and put our root beer in a wash tub to dip our cups in. And it was fun. But we had some profound discussion, much of which was on topics that I have been mulling over for quite some time, but really hit me again tonight. And I will address a few of them here tonight, not at great depth, but hopefully deep enough to get some important points across.

First, what does it mean to be a man? Our world throws so much out there at us, be it via TV, internet, radio, whatever...we see greatly varying themes, be it the 40 year old teenagers playing video games and munchin on Cheetos as promoted by MTV, the successful businessman making a six figure paycheck, the guy working a 9-5 so he can afford to party hardy all weekend...we see and hear a lot of different things. Maybe you think being a man is to make a lot of money, sleep with a lot of women, maybe you think it's just being the opposite of a woman so you don't cry or wash the dishes. There's a lot of stuff out there being thrown at us from all different angles. But what is truth? What does it really mean to be a man? Well, let's take a look at God's word. There are a lot of places we could look for examples of Biblical manhood, be it David's mighty men (2 Samuel 23); Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3), Daniel (Daniel 6), Gideon (Judges 6-7), and the list goes on. But I want to focus on two verses primarily, and really dig into what the implications of their meaning.

Ephesians 5:25-26 (New King James Version)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.

Here is what it means to be a man. To be like Christ. And how does that play out in practical application? Well I think there are two major areas exemplified by Jesus' life that really give us a clue as to how we ought to live.

1)the first is selflessness. Jesus was totally and utterly selfless in what He did for us. To realize this fully, we must first understand a couple things about Jesus. One being that he is fully God (Philippians 2:6, John 1:1). Jesus Christ is God. Stop and think about that before we move on, because it really is profound when you realize what all He did for us, first hinges on the fact that although He was and is fully God, He chose to humble Himself (selflessness) and come to earth and be known in human form. He is the only member of the Trinity to reveal Himself to us in a physical form, so just that right there is quite remarkable. Then, despite being God and already having humbled Himself just in the fact that he was walking on the earth, He takes on the same temptations and trails that we do (Hebrews 4:15). Then, on top of humbling Himself, on top of being tempted and facing hardship, He suffers and dies the most excruciating of physical deaths-crucifixion-but not only that. Because although He was facing the most painful of deaths possible in the physical sense, that was not enough to satisfy the justice of a Holy God. So He, though He was without sin, took on the sin of the entire world, and paid for it with His death. Jesus, in the ultimate act of selflessness, paid the penalty of our sin, our transgression, our shame. He took it all. He took responsibility for it. Wow. So that means, as men, we are to have an abiding deep love in us, especially for our wives, that we would go through anything and everything this world could possibly throw at us. We have to lay aside our selfish desires in order to put others before ourselves, which brings us to my second main point on what it is to be a man. And that is...

2)to take on responsibility. I started with selflessness, because being responsible first starts with a recognition that it's not all about me. True responsibility in the Biblical sense, really starts with an understanding that nothing is about you and nothing belongs to you. You are a steward of God's time and property which He graciously allows you to take care of. This perspective will change a lot of things. First, as stated earlier, it will get the focus off of self. By doing this it allows us to see the things in our lives that need to change. This is particularly convicting for me, because I'm a very individualistic and selfish person. I care about me, my rights, my time. Me, me, me, me...and yeah, don't forget me. But Jesus isn't like that. He is creator of the universe. He made you, yet you choose to sin and to hate Him. So instead of just setting us all on fire or pulling away and letting us just die and go to hell like we all deserve, Jesus takes responsibility for our sin. He also shows us how to be responsible in our own lives, as He lived here on earth for 33 years without sinning. I have a hard time going 33 minutes without sinning. I don't even know if I can do that. But Jesus gives us an example of taking responsibility, first in our own lives, and then in the lives of others. In our lives that generally looks like

a)getting yourself right with God. Nothing else in your life is going to work like it ought until you are spending the time you need to in prayer and study, seeking out God's will in your life. Get yourself right with God, and start living your life for Him.

b)take responsibility in your family. God calls men to be leaders in their homes. Maybe some of you aren't at the point where you have a family yet, in that case you need to be preparing yourself with extra shots of step one. But when you get there, you need to be providing for your family, not just financially, but also emotionally, and more importantly, being a spiritual leader in your family. Christ loved the church to wash her and make her holy, that has direct application to the man in a family. Time to step up and be the leader you were called to be.

c)Church and State (by State I'm including all forms of government). After you have the first two taken care of, men need to be ready to step up and take responsibility in their church and in their world. Time to get off the sidelines of whiner-ville. Quit complaining about your church and your country. If things need changed, then you ought to be man enough to step up and help get them changed. The church in America is dying because men are too lazy and too limp wristed to step up and be leaders and inspire other men to do the same. We serve a God who is worthy of a lot more than warm bodies in a pew. Get off your lazy butt, get into your Bible, and start letting other people know what it says.

Which brings me to another point, I was gonna stop at the second one, but

3)we need to be the kind of men who take the hill. We are to be a city on a hill, one which cannot be hidden. Well right now, the "hill" of Biblical manhood, is one that is rather vacant, and the way up is treacherous, covered in razor wire, and the enemy has dug in. We aren't gonna get to the top by being sissies and trying to sneak around and hoping not to be noticed. We have to carpet bomb the dang thing and take it by force. It is time people, especially men, started getting bold about their faith in Jesus Christ and quit being ashamed about it. You try to sneak up the hill and you'll get shot. Sit at the bottom and you save the enemy the trouble of shooting you. In Philippians 4:13 we are promised we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We need to charge up the hill in bold confidence that the almighty God of all creation is on our side. Jesus didn't spend His life on the sidelines. He preached to huge crowds, turned over tables in the temple, in His three years of ministry, Jesus turned the world upside down. It is time to start relying on Him. Time to start serving Him. It's time to take the hill.

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About Me

Follower of Jesus. Husband of one. Father of four. Pastor at Remsen Bible Fellowship (remsenbible.com).