Today is Father's Day, and I want to speak to all of us, but especially to men. Young men. Old men. Single men. Married men. Divorced men.
I'd like to to look together with you at: Four Qualities of a Masculine Soul.
This is part two of our summer series called Grace Powered Living. We are
looking at God's wisdom and human emotion. What does God say in the Bible about our emotional, psychological, and spiritual health? That is our topic all summer long.
Today in honor of Father's Day, our main verse is:
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14, NKJV).
St. Paul here issues five rapid fire commands. Our focus is on the third one: "be brave." Different translations say basically the same thing.
NIV: be men of courage
NLT: be courageous
However, the most literal translation of all the Bibles on this verb is the New American Standard Bible.
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14,
Act like men. That's a good translation. The original Greek here is only one word: andrizomai. We have no exact English equivalent word for this. You take the word for man, turn it into a verb, and then issue it as a command. Be men! Be manly! Literally, it means Man up!
The manliest man of all time is Jesus. Looking at his life, you can distill the biblical portrait of manliness into four key qualities. Four qualities to teach your sons to be and to teach your daughters to wait for. So I want to talk about these four qualities:
1. The King
2. The Warrior
3. The Lover
4. The Guide
I want to talk about each one, define it a little bit, and I also want to continue from something I talked about last time. Previously, I talked about the Darkside to the human soul. This is the part of us that can bite and devour one another, as we saw in scripture. The Bible calls this dangerous collection of desires, dysfunction, and selfishness, by a single name. That name is the Flesh.
This is not the body, not the skin, not the physical drives, not simply sexuality. The flesh is the combination of all the bad stuff inside of us, if I say the word Gollum, you probably get a picture. Your flesh is your inner thug, your inner bully, your inner whiner, your inner brat, your inner pervert, and your inner coward
all rolled into one.
So, when I talk about these qualities of a masculine soul, I also want to talk about what happens to each quality when the flesh is dominating your life.
Four Qualities of a Masculine Soul
The Noble King
God has called every man to be a King. A servant-king. The King is the part of the masculine soul meant to construct environments in which those you serve can
thrive, while at the same time you pursue your own God-given wants.
God gave you dominion. Kings use their dominion to create an environment for blessing. As a father or a future father, that is your job.
Create an environment in which women and men and children can flourish and thrive, and grow, and feel safe, and feel that their world is full of possibility.
This does not mean you erase your desires or your selfhood or your wants. You should be in touch with those things. But it's okay if you don't always get what you want. The acid test of true manliness is what happens when somebody tells a man no.
When you give your life for the blessing of your family; and for the blessing of your church, and for the cause of the gospel; for the blessing of our country . . . then you will receive the greatest loyalty and respect you can ever imagine.
You don't have to be rich, and you don't have to be good looking, and you don't have to be muscular, and you don't have to have hair on your head.
The Carnal King
Now, when a man fails to live up to this calling, his FLESH takes over. His flesh will twist his God-given kingly energy and distort it in two directions. One is aggressive and the other is passive.
The aggressive perversion of the king is the TYRANT: violent, unpredictable, childish, overly risk taking, aggressive.
Men, these are signs of immaturity. These are signs of weakness, not of strength. These are signs of living by the flesh instead of by the Spirit. When you are a tyrant, you assume that your wants are the only wants that matter. You forget that if you are married you have a co-equal Queen at your side.
"The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life."
Proverbs 20:2, NKJV.
The passive perversion of the king is the WEAKLING: either the unwillingness to state what you want in respectful terms, or the laziness to pursue it.
That's a weakling. Weaklings don't act; they react, and it drives their wives crazy. It renders their children out of control. All the weakling king wants is a comfortable life with a minimum of hassles. But if you don't have hassles, you don't have accomplishments. We see countless examples where the man's king energy is weak, or absent, or too busy, or distracted, or self-absorbed, or abusive . . . then disorder and chaos rule the hearts of children, and even of spouses.
"The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing." Proverbs 20:4,
Jesus is the greatest King of all. His crown was a crown of thorns, his throne was a cross, and his tribe thrives in an environment of grace.
He is unparalleled in all of history and religions of the world. Even the angels are amazed. And all of this was in perfect alignment with his own heart's deepest desires and wants. Jesus is the greatest king of all.
The Noble Warrior
This one is controversial, and it presses a lot of buttons, I know. But God has put a natural and holy warrior energy in the hearts of men. God did this.
The Warrior is the part of the masculine soul meant to enforce God-given boundaries through the appropriate sacrifice of yourself and, if in command, of others.
Every man needs to have some RIGHTEOUS FIGHT in him.
"Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle." Psalms 144:1, NKJV.
God does that.
In fact the Bible explicitly says that when the Jews went into the Promised Land and began to settle it, God did not drive out all their enemies on purpose. He wanted his people to be warriors! God left these enemies behind.
"so that . . . the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war . . . " Judges 3:1, 2, NKJV.
Our society has tried to suppress the idea of a warrior in boys and men, and we think that the answer to violence is to suppress all expression of it.
Look, when you suppress this drive in boys, all it does is build up and turn toxic in men. What we need is for the warrior in every man to be nurtured and respected and CHANNELED and trained. It needs to be brought under the mastery of Christ.
We are here today in this room because of warriors who fought and sacrificed for our freedom. It took Warriors to bring this book, the Word of God, from the other side of the world to America. It took Warriors who stood up for the gospel and who stood up for the Word to bring the gospel into our place today.
That wasn't accomplished by a bunch of nice guys who were afraid of offending anybody. We are here today because people shed blood for the Word of God that we might stand up in America and talk about Jesus
Christ and what it means to know him. Thank God for the Warriors.
The aggressive perversion of the Warrior is a BULLY: An insecurity-based drive to dominate and exploit
The bully is afraid of any power greater than his own, and therefore he will find weaker people, and surround himself with weaker people, and keep them in submission through different forms of violence. Physical violence, verbal violence, emotional violence.
I don't care how you spin it, being a bully is not God's call on your life. It's a sin.
"But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous will be uprooted from it." Proverbs 2:22,
Your Warrior energy is intended to create SAFETY for others, not danger.
The passive perversion of the Warrior is the COWARD: A fear-based avoidance of needful conflict,
discomfort, or pain.
They work overtime to avoid conflict, stress, and danger. They smooth out everything. They never take a stand.
Always about compromise. Always about distraction from real issues.
Yes it's good to be a peacemaker, but NOT WITH EVIL. You can never be at peace with evil. The coward always has an excuse for not going forward into difficulty.
"The slothful man says, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets." Proverbs 26:13, KJV.
Which means, Honey, can you take out the garbage? I can't take out the garbage, there might be a spider out there.
Real men are warriors and thank God for it. It's why Jesus made a whip and tipped over tables in the Temple.
Jesus was the Ultimate, Ultimate Fighting Champion. On that cross...
He fought against sin, and he won.
He fought against the Devil, and the devil's attempts to keep you away from God, and he won.
He fought against death, and he won.
Jesus is Christus Victor, Christ the Warrior. He can conquer your sin, your addiction, your heartache, your loneliness, and your need for God today.
The Noble Lover
The Lover is the part of the masculine soul meant to create life-giving connections with God, family, self, and others, offering joyful self-sacrifice to meet another person's needs.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34, NKJV
Real men are lovers, and their wives and children and family and friends know it. Their spouse feels appreciated. More than that, she feels desired. He has focused his energies on her...
You have probably heard of love languages. It's a great concept and can be really helpful. But I'm going to encourage you to flip the idea on its head.
My mom and dad had a difficult marriage, and eventually divorced. And then, years later, they remarried. My dad's love language was generosity and giving. My mom's love language was affection and talking. It seemed to me that each one was waiting for the other one to learn to speak their language.
What I suggest to you is that each one understand the other one's love language, and be content with it. Accept it. Don't make them learn a new language. My dad was never going to be affectionate, cuddly, and talkative with my mother. But he was going to be a a faithful provider. If he could have accepted her love language and she could have accepted his, they might have stayed together.
Accept one another's expressions of LOVE as LOVE without insisting that they have to learn your language.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" Ephesians 5:25, KJV.
The Noble Guide
The Guide is that part of the masculine soul meant to collect wisdom, marshal resources, and motivate yourself and others for the journey ahead.
In the pioneer days of America, wagon trains snaked their way across the landscape as settlers were heading west. The frontier was a perilous place. Without a good trail guide, these settlers were doomed. The trail guides had ridden the trails before. The guide new where the dangers lay. He knew were to find water. He knew where to make camp. He knew where to obtain food. He knew where find safe passage through difficult terrain. The trail guide would also scout ahead and warn of dangers to come.
As guides, real men are resourceful. You have the capacity to see options no matter how bleak the situation seems. When the Jews stood before the Red Sea, and had nowhere to go, and the armies of Egypt were on their tail ready to destroy them, the last thing they needed was for Moses to stand there, and scratch his head, and say, "I don't know."
Never let "I don't know" be the final word, unless you're under 13. Real men are wise. They are full of the Word of God in profound ways, coupled with the ability to use it. This does not mean smart. This is not about human IQ. What you want is WISDOM.
"A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;" Proverbs 24:5, NKJV
Real men are also natural teachers. Whether it's teaching your kid how to throw or catch a ball, or leading your family into new depths in the Word.
The Carnal Guide
The aggressive perversion of this is the KNOW IT ALL: always eager to correct others and to prove he's got nothing to learn. Suppress this incredible urge to correct everybody. Let your kid throw the bowling ball into the gutter a few times. That's okay. He's having a good time. Some men are always making helpful suggestions. The problem is that suggestions after a while sound like criticisms.
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
Proverbs 3:7, KJV.
"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!"
Isaiah 5:21, NKJV.
The passive perversion of the guide is the DUMMY: who avoids responsibility by playing or being dumb and always saying, "I can't."
This is the "I don't know nothing" "Don't blame me" kind of guy. Dummy is a technical biblical category, also known as the FOOL.
The Dummy becomes a professional victim. "I don't know. Things just happen to me." Yeah, YOU happened to you. He thrives on problems and shies away from solutions. He's slippery and elusive, never willing to step up to a responsible position of making choices and actually risking failure.
The Bible teaches that Jesus was our guide. Hebrews 6:20 calls him our "forerunner". The Greek word there is TRAILBLAZER. Jesus is our Advance Scout, our trailblazer. He wants to lead you to the ultimate frontier: heaven itself.
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, ACT LIKE MEN, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." 1 Corinthians 16:13, 14.
Act like men, the Bible says here. Act like Kings. Act like Warriors. Act like Lovers. Act like Guides.
Remember that God himself will make you everything he calls you to be. Regardless of your past. Regardless of how dysfunctional your upbringing was. GOD will transform you into a real man IF you will first be saved, and second grow up spiritually to Christian maturity.
This is our Grace Pathway... and on it, your manliness will become God's responsibility and God's power.
Remember that God himself fills in the gaps we leave as imperfect parents.
The Bible promises that God is a "father to the fatherless" (Ps 68:5). God makes himself personally available to fill in the gaps that we leave as imperfect dads. You are not alone in your parenting.
We live in a crazy, dangerous world. We need real men to rise up to their true calling like never before. Men, be men! May God raise up at Pathway Church a grace-filled army of mighty men of God, Fathers of the Faith, for generations to come.