by Matt Slick
There is a crisis of manhood in the Christian church. It has become so obvious to me lately. Five couples I know are having marital problems. In each case, it is the husband that is at fault. It is no wonder, though, with the assault on manhood in American Society. All you have to do is watch TV for a little while, and you will notice domineering women and wimpy men who are insecure and inept. The characterization of manhood by the media is definitely unbiblical and anti-Christian. In fact, it is creeping into the church, and the existence of women pastors is one of the signs of the failure of men in the Christian church to do their job.
There simply aren't enough Pastors who teach the Biblical model of Christian manhood. And Christian men too often are resting in the comfort of their churches, their homes, and their jobs to grow spiritually, not to mention be leaders. Too many are becoming lax, apathetic, and spiritually atrophied. For some men, their lives are so comfortable, so routine that spiritual testing and growth are things they read about in books and taking risks for the Lord is an uncommon idea. Mission work is something that others do. Evangelism is for those who are "gifted in that area." Comfort can be a killer for the church and for us men. It can make us lazy, and it can bleed over into other areas of our lives. Let me ask you men something: Are you willing to take risks for God? Is it in your heart to do that?
At the "Church at the top of the Hill," the parking lot is filled with new cars and mini vans. The people happily walk into church. Some are talking on their cell phones as they move towards the large building. Others approach are chuckling and laughing. They are well dressed, well fed, and quite comfortable. They drop their kids off in the Sunday School classes and head to the air-conditioned church and sit in the cushioned chairs. The worship music is very well done, and the message is polished. Very nice. Very comfortable. Very routine. Very blessed. But, this time the pastor has an announcement before the people are dismissed, and he introduces an old friend he went to Bible college with.
A man dressed in out-of-style clothes walks up to the pulpit. He looks at the congregation. "Ladies and gentlemen," he says, "I come from a small town in Southern Africa where I do mission work. The population is about 5,000. The people there are under-educated and often don't have enough food to eat. AIDS is also prevalent. The weather is hot, and we don't have electricity all the time. But, the people are good, and they want to know about Jesus. There are cults trying to move into the town and are offering food and literature. Many are taking it and being misled. But, I am only one man, and I can't stop it.
"I am here to ask for help. Is there anyone who would join me in this small town to labor to bring the gospel to these people? You can come for a week or two. Or if not, is there anyone here who would care to donate money to fund the work of another missionary to this small town? I need your help desperately. I cannot do it alone. I will be standing at the back of the church if anyone wants to talk to me. God bless."
If you were sitting in the church listening, what would your reaction be? Are you threatened by the idea of such a commitment to go or to help. Would donating funds mean you couldn't get something you've been wanting and that would make you uncomfortable? If so, perhaps you are becoming spiritual dry, spiritually atrophied, and your priorities are out of place. But, then again, would you want to do something if you could? Would you feel the pull of godly opportunity tug at your heart? I hope so. Either way, this small story can help you discover yourself, and it can get you to see that change might be necessary. Change down deep is where it begins. Sometimes we men need it straight. Sometimes we need to be told to get our eyes back on Jesus.
The illustration above is a round-about way to offer a challenge to see where you are and what your priorities are as men. So, I have a question for you Christian men who are married. Let's bring it home to reality. Are you leading your family in regular devotions? Now, I'm not talking about having a devotion every single night with a regimented routine of systematic theology. I'm talking about regular prayer with your family, maybe at dinner time, or reading the Bible with them and guiding them. They are your primary mission field. Are you doing that with them? If you are, great! But, if you aren't, then repent right now, confess your sin to the Lord, and start leading your family. I don't care if it isn't comfortable. Do it. You can't be leaders in the church and workers for God if your family is left to spiritually fend for themselves.
The dinner table is a great place to have devotions. Also, I recommend that when you and your wife retire for the evening that you read a Psalm to her in bed. You must lead. You certainly don't have to be perfect. But, you must realize that the man in the family is the head of the family, and he is responsible for the spiritual welfare of the family. Your wife is not responsible for this. You are! It is your responsibility. You are the captain of the ship, and God will hold you accountable for that ship. Guide it with love, truth, and service.
Now if your wife is not Christian and regular devotions are not possible, then pray for her, love her, be patient with her, and lift her up to the Lord. Let her see Jesus in you in your humility, love, and patience. Wash dishes for her. Take her out to dinner. Don't point our her faults. Buy her flowers. Love her with actions and words! Read 1 Cor. 13 and apply it.
I have a question for you Christian men who are not married. Are you seeking to be shaped by God to become men who honor God in your lives? The Lord desires that you become godly men who honor and glorify God in your lives. You see, the primary reason for marriage is not for your pleasure, not for companionship, and not to have children. The primary reason for marriage is to bring glory to God, and you cannot do this if you are harboring sin and selfishness.
Men, if you have sins of lust, sexual impurity, pornography, lying, laziness, etc., then confess them to the Lord. Turn from them. Do NOT become lazy about sin and your battle against it. Do NOT become complacent. Do NOT give in to the lust and pride. Humble yourselves before God and man. Commit in your heart to do what is right, to be honest, men of integrity, humble, truthful, faithful, kind, and gentle. Yet, at the same time, be men who are strong in the Lord, bold in the faith, and ready to serve your families and friends. It isn't always easy, but it is always right.