Sunday, August 11, 2013

Man Up, Boys!

For years… no, really for decades… I've been frustrated with the portrayal of men, particularly fathers, in sitcoms. Foolish, selfish and immature, they act more like boys in adult bodies than men. So as I've blamed a faceless “Hollywood” all these years for what I've deemed to be a poor representation of manhood, I’m now having to reconsider that maybe “they” are only portraying the men they've seen, a man who lives more like a boy rather than the role model he’s called to be.

Admittedly, I can act goofy, make bad decisions and like to have fun, but I aspire to greater goals. And it’s my hope to inspire others to live as men, growing into their adult bodies rather than continuing to live as boys. Of course, Satan, the great Enemy of man, wants us to forget who we are called to be, and he uses many tricks and tactics to distract us from our true calling. We are in a war and failing to recognize that basic truth opens us to attack. I can fall into his traps as easily as the next man, but through the grace of God and the enabling of His Holy Spirit working in my life, I can and will be victorious. 

Scripture educates us about the full armor of God, which we are to put on daily. One key component of that armor is the breastplate of righteousness. Failing to live for righteousness and God’s ways, men will seek to live for something else, primarily their own pleasure. Seeking pleasure, men fall into adultery, physical abuse, and financial ruin for their families. Males have not been the role models they were called to be, and consequently, women have come to believe that all guys think with something other than our brains. It does not have to be that way, men! 

I believe that each of us is capable of becoming something better than what we are. I also believe that when we fail to strive for something greater, we will slide in the other direction. It’s very similar to exercise: a regular workout builds up muscles and coordination, but ignoring our body’s need for activity leads to its decline. Historically, we've seen men who have been worthy of our admiration, inspiring us to imitation. But we've also seen men who were less than beasts, so wild and destructive that only one word can describe them: evil. And evil men have always despised men of integrity, calling them “boy scouts” or looking for ways to defame their character. They will most certainly find chinks in our armor, because there has been only one perfect man in the whole history of the world. But a righteous man continues to get back up (Proverbs 24:16). 

For those who have accepted Christ, we are in the process of becoming that which God has already made us to be. We were called to run, but it starts with learning to walk first. The Enemy discourages us as we try, telling us we will never be more than a baby, falling every couple steps. But God, our Father rejoices in each step, knowing that it strengthens us in our path to maturity. As we start to run, we will likely fall again, the Enemy jeering as he tells us we were never made for more than walking, but Jesus serves as an example for us to follow, saying: “Come on, my brother! Follow me!” The World around us contradicts with: “No one can do this! Who do you think you are? You’re not Jesus! You’re not God! Just look around and see the natural order of things.” But the Holy Spirit comforts us and encourages us to move forward, pointing to the biblical examples of Enoch and Elijah. Men, we were made for so much more!

There is a line in the movie “Return of the King” that always moves me. In the face of an overwhelmingly powerful enemy, Aragorn gives a speech:
Stand your ground, stand your ground! … I see in your eyes, the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves, and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! For all that you hold dear, on this good earth, I bid you stand, men of the west!
I will continue to fight. Why accept certain defeat when victory only belongs to those who persevere?

Men, our families need us to become more than we are… more than we've been. We need to continue in our fight for purity, courage and integrity in every aspect of our lives. Our wives need to see husbands that refuse to despair, whether at the many times we've stumbled in the past, the hurt others have inflicted on us, or at the darkness of the world around us. Our children need to see examples of strong, righteous men, living today and not in some fictional story or legend of the past. The world around us needs to see something that contradicts the message that men are just weak, pleasure-seeking creatures. The world needs men of integrity and courage, and if all you can do is take one feeble step toward that today… then take it. Then take two steps, and don’t stop until you are able to run, becoming the man you were made to be. It doesn't matter if you are 13, 30 or over 50. Today is the day to act!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Whether we be many, few, or one: with God’s help I will continue to learn not just how to walk with Christ, but to run with Him as well. Choose today what you will serve: the weakness of your desires or the goodness of truth as revealed by God.

copyright ©2013 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)