Going Against the Flow (When a Guy Becomes a Man)


Tonight was a good reminder for me as a man of what I’m up against. Never in history has true masculinity been under such attack. Men are viewed alternately as unnecessary, evil, primitive, oppressive, and the cause of all that’s wrong with the world.

The alternatives are 1) to give up and drop out as a functioning member of society, 2) give in to the stereotypes of men as beer-swilling, skirt-chasing buffoons who only live by their appetites.

Then there’s what’s behind door #3. This option is the hardest but most rewarding.

It means choosing to be a man in a world of guys. It means choosing to be a gentleman in a society where manners and values are viewed as anachronistic and old-fashioned. It means swimming against the currents of culture, fashion, societal opinion, popular world-views, and even our own sinful human nature.

It means knowing who you are and where you’re going and living with intention and purpose. It means seeing and savoring Jesus, of devoting a lifetime to pursuing Christ and His heart for the world. It means Jesus becomes not one of my top priorities or even my #1 priority, but my only priority through which everything and everyone else falls into place.

it means transformed friendships, careers, goals, hobbies, and dreams.

I am in the process of finding these things out. So far, I know Whose I am, which tells me who I am– namely, God’s Beloved. I know where I’m going insofar as I want to be conformed into the image of Christ and one day become a husband who loves his wife like Christ loves His Church.

I want people to really grasp who they are in Christ and how much God values and cherishes and loves them. To show them they truly are uniquely and wonderfully made.

I can’t look for a girl who will tell me who I am or where I’m going. I can’t find my true identity in a career or a hobby. What a true woman of God will find most attractive in me is me coming alive to my calling, knowing my identity and purpose, and inviting her to be a part of it.

Notice, I did not say that finding and winning her is the adventure. That’s too small of a goal. I find someone who I can love and cherish and serve a hungry world with and who as a team and a couple can display in a godly marriage just how much Jesus loves His own Bride, the Church.

We will find that we can serve out of a Kingdom mission and purpose far more effectively together than we ever could apart. Our marriage will be about so much more than two people in love, but be about the Kingdom of God lived out in flesh and blood, bound by a covenant until death do us part.

So, I invite you in the words of the movie Say Anything: don’t be a guy. The world is full of guys. Be a man.

Fathers And All That


I can imagine Joseph on a break from his carpentry job, hanging around the water cooler that just happens to be on the construction site. Go with me on this.

He’s listening to the other guys brag about their sons:

“My son made the honor roll again. That boy is just plain smart.”

“Yeah? Well, my boy is All-State in both football and basketball. He’ll be getting a free ride to any college he wants.”

“My boy is going into the ROTC and into the Army after he graduates from college. He wants to dedicate his life to defending freedom.”

Then Joseph can’t resist any longer. “My boy is Savior of the World.”

They all roll their eyes. One of them says, “Yeah, yeah. We know. Jesus is soooo great. He can walk on water. He’s the perfect Man, God incarnate, yada, yada, yada. You don’t have to keep reminding us of how great your son is.”

OK. That probably never happened. But I do think Joseph is a good example of a good father.

He’s the one who raised a child he didn’t father. Sure, it was a miraculous event, but still, Jesus was not his biological child. But he was man enough to take responsibility. He did the best thing any good father can do by loving his wife, Mary, day in and day out.

Also, he raised Jesus in the right way. Jesus knew how to work hard with his hands and was taught the importance of integrity and honesty. When the Bible says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, Joseph had a part in that.

Actually, the Bible never records any of Joseph’s actual words. It merely says that when Joseph heard what the angel said, he obeyed. Jesus learned obedience from a human perspective by watching his earthly father. Joseph knew that most of the most important life lessons are caught rather than taught, so he lived out his faith and his integrity and back up what he said by what he did.

Fathers, take a few notes from Joseph. Learn to lead by example and to be the man you want your son to become and your daughter to marry.

Borrowed Thoughts

I think a part of me would very much like to sleep until noon every day. That part of me would love to gorge myself with chocolate as much as possible and only eat foods that while being extremely tasty, are extremely bad for me.

I remember what a pastor said once. He said that no one ever wakes up in them morning and thinks, “Hey, today I’m gonna screw my life up beyond all recognition.” It all starts with choices.

I’ve never woken up thinking, “Today I’d like a heaping helping of humility and trials and crappiness in my day. I want everything to go wrong and to feel like the day is never going to end.

Just like the Israelites probably never thought, “Gee, I’d like to wander around in a desert for 40 years, eating some strange pastry that falls from the sky and drinking water out of rocks. That sounds like my cup of tea.” But that’s what they got.

God doesn’t often give us what we want as much as he gives us what we need. I may want non-stop chocolate, but I need to be healthy and not weigh 800 pounds. I may want to sleep late every day of my life, but I need to spend time with God in the morning to get my bearings put right.

I heard that discipline is getting us to a place we would have never thought to go on our own. On my own, I’d never think to develop a constant prayer life and a complete dependence on God. But when I find myself in places where my way just doesn’t work and I have no more answers, I find myself praying to and depending on God a lot more.

I’m grateful now looking back that I didn’t get a lot of what I asked God for in prayer. I thought I knew what I needed, but it was only what I thought I wanted at the time.

A perfect illustration is looking at a 1-year old. He may think he knows what he needs and what is best for him, but he doesn’t. He has to be told what is and what is not good for him. The father may have to discipline him to get him to see what he wants and what is best for him aren’t always the same thing. I’m a lot like that little boy.

May you and I come to embrace the hard days as well as the good ones, because they remind us of how much we really do need God every day. May Jesus use the trials and troubles we face to develop in us a constant faith and a undying hope and a love that won’t quit.