Thursday, July 25, 2019

Men and Biblical Submission

Under the discussion of “Men and Revival” comes the need to discuss the biblical term of submission. Often taken out of context, biblical submission is the acknowledgment and observance of the spiritual hierarchy that is described within scripture. In no way does the concept of biblical submission encourage, incite, or give permission for physical, verbal, or power abuse. In no way does the concept of biblical submission take away any individual’s voice or ability to exercise your given rights. And finally, in no way does the concept of biblical submission force you to do things that would compromise your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Obligatory disclaimers aside, biblical submission is quite possibly one of the most freeing concepts that a Christian man or woman can take the time to understand and embrace (yes, men are called to submit as well). Stemming from the hierarchy outlined in 1 Corinthians 11:3, the verse explains “that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” To assist in understanding the dynamics of this system, it might be easy to relate it to the corporate world. If the Vice President reports to the CEO, and the middle manager reports to the Vice President, the personhood of either the manager or the VP is neither ignored nor discredited even though they are not assigned the same responsibilities within the company. The fact is that the function of each person is different and helps achieve different goals toward the vision of the company. Should the VP not do what they are supposed to do, then the middle manager has every right to go above the VP’s head and appeal straight to the CEO of the company. In other words, the middle manager doesn’t demand to take over the job responsibilities of the VP, publicly berate them in front of others, or rebel out of frustration by completely abandoning their own calling. Similarly, should the husband not be doing what he is called to do in leading his family, the wife is not forced to submit to incorrect and dangerous leadership. Indeed, she still has every right to go straight to the Lord and refer to what He says as a guide (instead of abiding to misguided leadership).

Back in Genesis, God decreed two items: for the wife to be spiritually submissive to the husband, and for the husband to lead his family. Fascinatingly, it’s no coincidence that men and women of today are tempted to do completely the opposite: women are tempted (or feel forced) to take the reins of leadership within the home, while men are tempted (or feel pushed away) from accepting the responsibility of spiritually leading their household. God’s decrees to Adam and Eve in the garden are not to be seen as restrictive punishments, but instead as guidelines that help us stay away from the fallen-like state of humanity that was brought into the world at the time of Adam and Eve’s sin. God wants the very best for us, and these decrees are His way of helping us to experience His best (at least within the circumstances of the fallen world that we have inherited.

The husband has the calling to lead by example in chasing after the Lord.  Last month we related this to how the CEO is the one who is responsible in answering to his company’s stakeholders when things are good or when things are bad. If families don’t have the time for God due to the busyness of the family’s calendar, the responsibility falls upon the man. If the wife feels as if she is unsupported, unloved, unappreciated, or if she carries inside of her a self-image that is anything less than the state of beauty, then this falls upon the man. If the children of the household have no knowledge of the Lord, then this falls upon the man. We men are called whether we’d like to admit it or not, because if we don’t do these things in leading our families in the Lord, then who will?

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Friday, July 19, 2019

A Christian Man Serves

As we begin to wrap up our series on revival and how Christian men play such a key role, we arrive at our final discussion point to unpack the concept that Christian men step up to serve.  It’s no secret that a man leads those around him through the actions he does (or doesn’t do). Whether good or bad, he influences others in a powerful way. In other words, he produces fruit. Have you ever been in a town where everyone knows about a huge fruit tree that gives a massive harvest of fruit every year? I recall visiting a small town and stopping by such a tree while in the area. While I was there, some young boys walked up, pulling wagons to load with the fresh fruit that was available for the taking. They may have been locals, and I may have been a visitor, but we both knew of the tree and we both stopped by to benefit from the abundance of fruit that it was providing.

Like a fruit-bearing tree, the fruit that a Christian man produces is there for the taking. The fruit-bearing tree doesn’t wait to begin growing fruit until someone walks by. A healthy tree grows fruit naturally. So that way, when someone walks by and is hungry, they simply take from the tree that has already prepared the fruit in advance of the person's arrival. And the tree does not have just one piece of fruit. The tree has an abundance of fruit. If there is only one piece of fruit on that tree, it would probably be bitter and it would probably hint at the tree's lack of health (You probably would not go to that tree a second time). Similarly, a spiritually healthy Christian man will naturally produce fruit without waiting for the spiritually hungry person to come along. And similarly, a Christian man who creates an abundance of fruit will have leftover fruit that is able to sow additional seeds into the ground and create new trees, thus multiplying the blessing that originates from him.

What does bearing fruit mean to you in your current season? When someone is in need to receive something from your “tree,” are you able to supply what they need? Otherwise, when someone really needs you in a dire situation, it might seem like a daunting thing for them to ask of you since it involves picking fruit from your tree that isn’t there. If we are caught without fruit on our tree, do we get frustrated, shut down, or do something that is rebellious to what is being asked of us (because we don’t like how it feels when we are exposed for not having fruit on our tree)? Are you placing yourself (a tree) in good enough soil to receive enough nutrients from the soil to help you produce bountiful fruit? In other words, are you placing yourself into a pattern that brings the Word of God, the church, and spiritual disciplines into your life on a daily basis? If you need to uproot yourself and plant yourself in soil that is more nutrient-rich, what would replanting yourself look like? What habits or sins would you shed from your daily lifestyle as a result of this?

Let us not forget the story of Matthew 21:18-22, where Jesus curses the fig tree. Perhaps that tree was not producing fruit for some time, however the interesting point of the story that I can’t shake is that Jesus came across the tree and did something with it. If Jesus did that to a tree in His human form when He was somewhat limited to the amount of trees He could see with His physical eyes, how much more would this story be applicable to us when He has the ability to see and monitor all trees in His heavenly form?

As a Christian man, we are called to be a fruit-bearing tree that serves those who are placed in our care. If our fruits are not harvested or given away freely, then it is left on our branches to fall, to become inedible, and to rot away on the ground within the vicinity of where we reside. Going out of our way and giving fruit to others may invoke a little bit of fear, because it means giving away something that we grew ourselves at the expense of resources that came from us. However, courage is not the absence of fear – it is moving forward with what is right, in spite of the fear. It’s the courage to step up and replant yourself into more fertile soil, regardless of how painful that process might be, for the purpose to be able to effectively provide for those that you are called to care for (locals and visitors alike).

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Christian Man Leads

As we continue our series on why revival requires men and what it means to be a Christian man, it seems timely to also view our topic through the lens of the 4th of July holiday that the United States just recently celebrated last week. While we Americans are truly blessed to live in arguably the freest nation in the world, it’s important to note the fact that the type of freedom that this refers to is political freedom. Spiritual freedom, however, is a completely different type of freedom and it would be wise for us to not confuse the two. For example, a person could live in the freest political nation in the world, yet still be spiritually shackled by the devil in a gripping sin. On the other hand, a person could live in one of the most politically oppressive nations in the world, yet be in joyful communion with the Lord. As a refresher from last week, three components of being a Christian man include his calling to protect, to lead, and to serve.  While none of these three require an environment of political freedom in order to exist, all three of them provide benefit and receive benefit from a foundation of spiritual freedom.

One area where this is most evident is where a Christian man is called to lead. Certainly this involves being a leader in the community, in the workplace, in the ball field, and in the church. After all, growth and production are natural desires for men, and we can go back to Adam to see that men have this built within their spiritual DNA. Nevertheless, where it’s most vital is actually where the Christian man has his highest calling: within the home. Certainly, serving in the church is crucial, however the church does not rise or fall on one man. As long as we are alive and able to lead our families, being a leader in the home is the one calling in our lives that no other man should need to fill. With us men having such a drive and passion to grow and create and produce, it’s not uncommon to find fulfillment in many interests outside of the home. While this in itself is not bad or morally wrong, it’s possible that such activities might create a habit of pulling men away from their spiritual post.

While this may not be as devastating as the spiritual abandonment that was discussed in last week’s post, a decrease in spiritual leadership does offer up more opportunities for Satan to creep in if the leader of the house is not on guard as often. Work may call the man to travel, and the church may request for the man to serve the community on a regular basis, however what is he doing then at home to ensure that proper systems are put in place for the healthy spiritual growth of his household? Yes, as a man you are called to provide for your family. Yes, as a man you are called to grow and protect and create. But the instant that these items prevent you from your higher calling of spiritually leading your family, then something is out of alignment and your spiritual freedom has been compromised.

Repentance is the turning away from sinful activities or behaviors that prevent us from having a relationship with Christ. Should we find ourselves in a scenario where we are not pursuing the Lord and leading our family, we must prayerfully consider which things are in our lives that are beginning to tighten their grip around our spiritual freedom. Only by freeing ourselves from these things can we truly have freedom and lead our families as God intended us to.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Christian Man Protects

There’s a difference between a man and a male. A Christian man, a man that is fulfilled in his calling from the Lord, will intentionally make an effort to address three key responsibilities: A Christian man will protect; A Christian man will lead; and a Christian man will serve. For today, let us focus just on the first of the three: A Christian man protects. 

Picking back up where we left off last week, men no longer need to be shackled by the debilitating fear of inadequacy since we are now adopted into the family of Christ. Too long have some men lived in a world that shamed them, pessimistically predicted their downfall, or expected their continual failure in all areas of life (especially spiritual matters). And just as Adam was called to be responsible for his household, we men are called to protect and be responsible for those placed in our care. Whether married or single, children or no children, men are called by the Lord to protect and be examples of Jesus Christ who cares for His sheep. 

Due to Adam’s spiritual lapse, the evil one tempts us men to shy away from this calling. We bury ourselves in work, in a sinful behavior, or maybe even in laziness. When our families ask us for help on critical matters, we habitually make excuses and always have some reason not to show. When our wives ask us for help with the kids, our day-job gets first dibs on our calendar instead. Date night with our spouse slips to the back burner since our weekly social club or baseball league with the boys seems to be more exhilarating.

Men are responsible for their garden. In other words, if Satan tries to get into the garden, it is the man’s responsibility to protect the garden and keep him out. If a boss hires you and places you over a station at your job and if you abandon that post in the middle of a shift, the whole entire workforce backs up or shuts down. It would take a large shift and reallocation of resources to get everything back up and running again to cover for your abandonment. As a result of the fall, we see the act of Adam abandoning his post leading to Satan having dominion over the realm. If you are not spiritually protecting your wife or those placed in your care, your world and those around you within your world will be impacted. The degree to which you refrain from spiritually protecting those placed in your care will correlate to the amount of hurt and/or sin that will occur due to your negligence. 
It’s essential to come to terms with the thought that if you don’t protect the people placed in your care, then who will? Will we men still make mistakes? Without a doubt. Will we men let some people down? Come on, we’re not Jesus here (Only He could make such a promise to never let anyone down, ever). But the difference here is that by living and striving toward the standards put in place by Christ, we will always have a perfect example to live off of and the very best person to uplift us, encourage us, inspire us, and love us unconditionally in a manner that motivates us to persevere and answer the call to protect our loved ones.

This blog has a focus on small groups, men's ministry, and youth ministry. Join us for the journey by subscribing! Please share this post if you felt this was a blessing to your ministry.

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