Like a Man1
Be a man! We hear and use that phrase so often that I assume we know what it means. Lately I am not so sure. Every year it seems, more young men come up to me and ask questions like: What does it mean to be a man? How should I lead my family? How should I act as a businessman? What should I be teaching my sons so they will grow up to be men?
Clearly we have a sense that being a man means something. Even that a man is a noble thing to become. The bible shares that sentiment by the way (For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God . . . 1 Corinthians 11:7 ESV). We even seem to come into the world with an implicit knowledge that being a man involves hard and worthwhile tasks.
One winter I had to jump into my swimming pool to patch something. As I gritted my teeth and did the job with as little complaint as possible, my 8 year old offered this comment: “What dad is doing is like number 4 on the list of what it means to be a man!” I immediately laughed, and still wonder what else is on that list. But the point is with no prompting, he assumed there was a list and it was a good thing to complete.
So what does it mean to be a man, and how can we specifically as men grow in Christ? I want to answer those questions over the next few posts.
First, God created men to work (The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 ESV) I believe men were created to accomplish tasks. When a man accomplishes something, he feels good and that feeling carries over into his next task. Each task becomes a small victory, energizing him for the next battle.
How does being task oriented carry over into sanctification? Well we tend to become slaves to vagueness. We have a vague sense that we should demonstrate better self-control but we have no way to actually get there. You need goals and you need to set out to accomplish those goals.
So take your vague sense and turn it into something concrete by setting a large goal. Then map out a series of smaller goals that will lead you toward the greater goal. For example: if your goal is to overcome gluttony, you may need to lose 50 pounds. A goal that large sets you up for defeat and discouragement. So make smaller goals to keep your calorie intake at a certain level, exercise for 30 minutes a day and to lose 1.5 pounds a week. When you accomplish those small goals, you begin to feel the joy of victory. Testosterone loves victory. Losing weight will begin to feel better than eating ice cream, and before you know it you will accomplish your bigger goal.
Not only will you have lost weight, you will have developed self-control and freed yourself from gluttony and slavery to your stomach. You will have done it like a man.