There is a narrative that is drilled into our heads every day by pop-culture, the media, Hollywood, and even people in our own circles. The broad summary of the narrative is this: All men are pretty much alike and they all live and behave in the same way. I suspect that I’m not alone in my belief that the world’s idea of what a real man is couldn’t be more flawed. As a Christian man, I want to expose the world’s notion of manhood for what it is, a lie. I also want to encourage brothers in Christ everywhere to live out authentic manhood in the end times.
Before we dig in, I want to address sisters in Christ. We know you as wives, moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends. As you read this article for men, please understand it is meant to encourage you as well. The world tells you the same pack of lies about men. As believers, we know this isn’t the truth. The continuous defamation of the role and character of men is unrelenting. Please remember that we need your prayers, support, and encouragement. Wives, please pray for your husbands. Moms, please pray for your sons. Grandmoms please intercede for your Grandsons. Aside from the Lord, Bible-believing women are the greatest asset we have. If you are a Christian teenage young lady or young woman, please remember that you belong to the Lord. Christian guys are your brothers. Be an example of kindness, modesty, and true beauty that is so rare and hard to find these days. You will be such an encouragement to your brothers in Christ.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Men, we live in dark days and the onslaught of evil is growing by the day. I began to notice this defaming of the role of men start in the 1970s and it really took hold in the 1980s. Now in the last decade or so, it seems like an all-out frontal assault on men. Hollywood for the most part, likes to portray men as poorly mannered, sex-crazed, egotistic, bumbling idiots. Thinking of television in just the past few years or so, men have been portrayed like goofballs in shows such as: Married With Children, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The King of Queens to name just a few. Think about the men the actors in these shows portray. They are usually very immature, self-absorbed, simple-minded, and foolish. The husband and father on these shows is reduced down to having the same intellect as a sideshow clown. I have news for Hollywood, the world doesn’t dictate how Christian men should live, only Jesus can do that.
Reality shows are the big thing now. The Hills, The Batchelor, The Real Housewives of wherever, Jersey Shore, and Keeping up with the Kardashians are just a sampling of shows that highlight what a mess this world is in. Most of the ‘males’ on these shows are simply boys who know how to shave in my opinion. It’s not just the television shows, because the commercials have some of the most sexually charged, provocative, and debase content available for all to see. I said that because although I’m not a sports fanatic, occasionally I will watch a big game like the Super Bowl or World Series with my sons or daughters. One minute you are seeing the replay of a great touchdown and before you know it, there’s a woman with very little clothes on in what is supposed to be a commercial about cars. Wardrobe malfunctions, sexual innuendo, and materialism is the rule, not the exception on the television in our day. I used to turn my head, now it’s just better to turn the filth off.
I remember I had the opportunity to go to an Indianapolis Colts game last year. I was with another guy and we were having a great time. All of a sudden, the huge fifty-foot tall television screens on the four sides of the stadium zoomed in on the cheerleaders who had very little in the way of clothing on. I simply turned away and decided that looking at my bag of peanuts was irresistible! As funny as it sounds, I wanted the young man next to me to know that my eyes are reserved for my wife and my heart belongs to her and the Lord. I didn’t put on a big show or overreact, I simply looked the other way when it wasn’t what the usual male reaction is supposed to be, according to the world’s standards.
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? Job 31:1
The point is this: The world sends the wrong message to our sons and daughters. Money can satisfy all of your needs. Men are cool if they drink a particular brand of beer. Young men, this is the kind of woman you need. Young lady, if you dress like this you will get attention. The list of wrong messages goes on and on. I want my children and all of our youth to know that they don’t have to live the lies that the world sells them.
Sin can be pleasurable for a season, but it always leads to death. This world system is corrupted by lies from the father of lies, so I want to disengage from it at all costs. Notice I said disengage the world, not the people in the world. This is one of the most exciting parts of being a Christian man to me. Guys, you and I have the opportunity to be salt and light in a very dark place. Do you understand how rare, distinct, and revolutionary living for God’s glory is, in a society that’s fixated on self? If you live as a disciple of Jesus, you will be like an exile or stranger from a different planet! Engaging people with the love of Christ and living a holy life as a man of God in this dark society is not what the world expects the average guy to do.
As men, we are expected to act and behave a certain way. When we walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh, we will be like aliens compared to the men who live for their own pleasure. There have been movements such as Promise Keepers and others that bring men together under the banner of Christianity. I don’t have a positive or negative opinion of men’s conferences because at the end of the day, the Lord looks at the fruit of such efforts and that’s what matters. I do believe men should be part of a local church. Men should be involved in corporate Bible study or a small group. We should also have brothers in our lives to encourage us and to be mutually accountable to. Iron sharpens iron and there is something very unique about men getting together to lift up Jesus’ name.
I can hear some of you guys saying, “Howard, this is men’s ministry 101, we do all of this.” I get it, but I wanted to reiterate the importance of fellowship because I believe one of the ways the enemy tries to devour us is through isolation or trying to go it alone as a believer. We need brothers both young and old in our life to walk this Christian walk with. You are building up other men in the faith by the example of your walk with the Lord.
There is something even bigger than fellowship with other brothers and that’s your personal walk with Jesus. When small group is over, the conference has ended, or the men’s Bible study breaks for the season, you will still need to stand firm. When it comes right down to its basics, it’s my own walk with the Savior that will matter for eternity. Personal integrity, Character, behavior, habits, and lifestyle are all governed by the will of God if I’m truly a Christian man. Reading the Bible, praying, and fellowship continually with Jesus are the things that will make me a man who lives to glorify God.
There is something I see as a pattern in modern evangelicalism among men. Can we please stop the obsession with the word struggle? Let me preface the rest of my thought and tell you that I understand we are all at different places in our walk. There are different levels of spiritual maturity and growth. So I get it that a man who has just been saved out of a long life filled with alcohol, drug, pornography, or other addictions will have a battle on his hands. If it weren’t for the grace of God, I would be right there wallowing in my sins. Pride comes before a fall and it’s not for any of us to brag that we stand strong, lest we fall into rebellion and sin. So please understand that I’m not addressing personal trials and temptations because we all have them. It’s what we do with them, our thought life, and ultimately our actions that lead to sin.
We need to support this brother because he is in a struggle in the truest sense of the word. He needs prayer, accountability, wise counsel, and love from Christian brothers. There are some who are truly struggling and we need to be there to pray for and encourage these guys. There is a day coming when his struggle is replaced by a growing daily obedience to the word of God and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 2:12
What I’m addressing here is something totally different. What we are zeroing in on here is the guy who just doesn’t want to keep his eyes off of women who aren’t his wife, or put down the bottle, or take a sledgehammer to the computer where he views porn.
This guy isn’t struggling, he is living in blatant rebellion toward God’s word. Let’s see it for what it is – sin. I’ve witnessed this pattern over and over again. Brother (fill in the blank) makes a profession of faith. He get’s into men’s ministry, small group, and becomes a member of a church. Before long, he slips back into his old ways, cheats on his wife, lives like he’s not a Christian, and is defiant in the process.
A man who is walking with Christ is transformed by the renewing of his mind. His life is marked by a steady increase of Christlikeness and holiness. The fruit of a life that has been transformed by the Spirit of God is radically different.
That isn’t the case with a man who claims to be a believer, but lives for this world. I agree that we should be equal parts truth and love because that’s the model Jesus left for us. Unfortunately and more often then not, I see well-meaning Christians come alongside this man and label what he’s going through as a struggle. I have known of elders instructing other Christians in this man’s life not to confront him with the biblical reality of what he is doing! That is not the biblical pattern. Showing this man love involves going to a very hard place by risking the friendship, unity, and peace at all costs in order to rescue him. He needs the Christian men in his life to love him enough to risk the relationship and lovingly confront him. I would hope that a brother would love my soul enough to get in my face with biblical reality before I destroy my marriage, family, and life.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3
That brings me to a final point. You cannot will, fight, manipulate, or conjure up goodness in and of yourself. It’s only Christ in me, that is good. Left to my own good and trying, I will fail miserably. I have to die to myself daily and crucify the flesh if I’m to live for Jesus. That is why I said conferences, small group, men’s fellowship are all fine, but at the end of the day, it’s my personal walk with Jesus and His atoning work for me that will count. I can never be good enough on my own.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:20-21
Guys, we must live with a longing to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!” If we surrender our pretend goodness and let Christ work in and through us, He will help us in so many ways. We will be able to love our wives like He loves the church. We will speak words of wisdom into our children’s lives. We will be better equipped as friends, teachers, pastors, and co-laborers to build one another up. We will be able to be sober-minded, grounded, and stand firm when the world around us seems to be falling headlong into an abyss of immorality. Friends, take care of your walk and although important, don’t get so caught up in family, life, or ministry to the point that you neglect your own walk with Jesus.
I want every Christian man who is reading this to understand that we are at war. We don’t have the time or luxury to stroll leisurely toward heaven as we live out our lives daily. Heads up: Jesus is coming soon and the enemy knows his time is limited. Men, Satan wants to devour you, destroy your family, wreck your marriage, and obliterate your children. Let’s get back to basics and pray for our kids daily. We need to pray for our wives daily. I don’t do it enough and what a blessing to miss out on. We need to take our wife by the hand and pray for her and over her because there is a war raging against her as well. We need to live holy lives, meaning living set apart unto God, because people are watching and what an opportunity to be a witness to the life-changing work of Jesus to other men.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. John 10:10
You and I have a responsibility to stand against the narrative this world tries to ram down our throats. Laughing at coarse jokes is what worldly men do. Staring at the pretty lady who walks by with your friends and they pressure you by saying, “it’s ok to look, but not to touch” is what worldly men do. We don’t commit adultery in our heart by staring and lusting at a woman who isn’t our wife but keep our desire only for her. Spending money on yourself and worrying about number one instead of putting your wife and kids first is what many men do, but not if you are saved. We need to speak life into a conversation that’s heading nowhere good. Before we worry about our golf game, guys night out, or what we wanted to do, we gladly set those aside to bless our wife by doing what she loves and do it with a truly cheerful heart.
Be the same man behind closed doors that you are in public. We can’t afford to play religious games or have an apathetic Christian walk. We need to follow hard after Jesus with our whole heart. Living this life for the glory of God alone and not ourselves is the diametric opposite of how the world lives.
Friends, we need to emulate ‘real men’, not the boys in men’s clothing of today’s pop culture. We need more men like Joseph, Job, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Stephen, Peter, James, Paul, Timothy, and of course Jesus. These are real men who lived boldly for the Father’s glory.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
As these days grow darker prior to Jesus’ return, I don’t expect the spiritual battle to abate at all. On the contrary, I expect the full onslaught of Satan to come against us as Christian men and the church of course. Make no mistake, if you stand and live for Jesus, you will be attacked. Men, let’s pray for one another, encourage others to finish well, and live as an example of authentic manhood in these end times. If you would like us to stand with you in prayer or want to know more about living for Jesus, contact us by clicking here.
All for Him,