Act Like A Man For Christ’s Sake!

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I minister to mostly men. I lead a prison ministry in a men’s facility so that’s my lot and I am happy about it. It is where God wants me to be right now and that’s all that matters. He is redeeming my past and stretching my talents which is what I’ve come to expect from him when I am following his path.
It is usually a difficult undertaking; mentally and emotionally taxing, stressful and frustrating. I’ve wanted to quit multiple times. I have thrown up my hands in anger and complained endlessly to my ever-supportive wife. I have learned and grown personally more than I had wanted to at times. It’s uncomfortable and I am often one to find a comfortable and safe place and stay there.
Men, especially those around my generation, do not know how to be men. We have grown up too often without fathers, often latchkey kids as a result, finding our way aimlessly. The lack of guidance and mental or emotional weight training has left us weak and soft. The challenge of living, surviving, and succeeding in a broken world is often too much for us. We falter, complain, quit, and run when things get hard.
We were not brought up with the fortitude to see challenges through with a spirit of conquest. We have been raised by a culture that says things should be easy and that we are owed a delicate path. We cry out “this isn’t fair!” as if life were ever fair or fairness was somehow a right.
The idea that our bosses, landlords, bill collectors, friends or family, or anyone in authority over us (even God for that matter!), is going to be fair all the time is ridiculous. A man must expect that to navigate through this life is to constantly be overcoming unfairness, hostility, discomfort, and disadvantages of every sort. Sometimes it comes from all sides like knives stabbing at our specific weak and tender areas, and yet as men, we must carry on. It should be written in our DNA to battle forward.
Thankfully, the modern western world has eliminated, for the most part, the need to physically fight or conquer anything. This is a huge blessing that cannot be emphasized enough. We no longer need our physical strength to survive. But, as our physical side has been required less, somewhere we’ve learned incorrectly that it is ok to let our mental prowess atrophy as well. Rather than yanking the arrow out of our injured egos and carrying on like mighty warriors, we collapse when a splinter pierces our pinkies, crying out to the world that we’ve been dealt a fraudulent hand.
What happened to men? Where are the guys who work tough jobs that they hate because they have families that depend on them? Where is the guy who digs ditches, happily, ten hours a day so that his kids can eat and have clothing? Where is the guy who forgoes his own wants and comforts for the benefit of someone else? What happened to the guy who could start with nothing, less than nothing even, in the hole, and battle his way out to make something of himself? Why are men showing up at real jobs and deciding they are too difficult or unfair and quitting?
Life sucks sometimes, I get it, but we are men, we battle through and survive to thrive. We suck it up and move forward. Sure we complain sometimes, but we don’t quit.
Men who claim to be men of faith should be even tougher. Our examples are men of the bible who overcame enormous obstacles to serve their god, families, and cultures. They were often broken and afraid but persevered nonetheless.
Noah built a giant boat, by hand, in the middle of the desert, under constant ridicule, for years and years, because God told him to. Abraham moved his entire extended family into a foreign and unknown land at Gods command. Joseph endured a lifetime of constant betrayal. David conquered his giant while his older and stronger brothers cowered. Jesus swung a hammer for thirty years in the hot sun beside his stepfather Joseph (who by the way took Mary as his wife under extreme cultural difficulty). Paul turned his back on everything he knew, traveled a hostel world, endured shipwrecks and arrests, and eventually was executed for doing the hard work of God. Every single one of Jesus’s disciples endured unimaginable pain, suffering, and horrendous deaths.
These are just a few of our biblical examples! And we cry or quit when our boss is a jerk? What the hell?
Now is the time for a change. We need to man-up for Christ’s sake, in the truest form of the phrase.
My teaching and discipleship is about to take a turn for the better. The guys under my care are going to get a righteous earful from here on out. I cannot stand by and let this stand. I know that I am only one voice in a huge wilderness of pansies, and I know that I am guilty of relinquishing my manhood at times too, but things need to change. I pledge to do what I can. I will use my voice to teach and love men to be men.
Work, pray, read your bible, love your family, be a man!

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