Do a quick Google search on Biblical Manhood and you’ll find page after page of links to all sorts of articles on the subject. With a topic this defined, you’d think that there would be universal agreement and movement for men who want to be more biblical.
In stead, you find a large body of writing that starts with the idea of developing more sensitivity and inclusiveness to be more manly, and ending at the concept of being more rugged and individualistic to be a proper man. How can the concept of being a biblical man be so broad, so confusing, so dependent on interpretation?
This week, we used a well-known biblical description of what it means to be a Christ follower as a guide to answer the question. Galatians 5:16 – 23 is a section of scripture that describes what it means to live in the Spirit, and what it looks like when one does not live in the Spirit. There is a list of activities that we are to avoid which includes big ones like sexual immorality, witchcraft and fits of rage, and others that we often overlook like dissension, jealousy and discord.
Taken at face value, every one of these acts are described as ‘obvious’ and lead to one not inheriting the kingdom of God. I don’t know about you, but when I’m warned about something with the tag that doing that thing may not allow me to enjoy my inheritance in the kingdom, I try and pay attention.
Okay, I can avoid drunkenness, and orgies are obviously a major problem, but aren’t we all impure? Isn’t ambition, even selfish ambition, part of success? And aren’t factions a regular part of business and politics?
We are not to look at these acts and decide which we can do and which we shouldn’t do.
The idea is that these actions lead to a life of selfishness where our own desires are fed and nourished. A life based on Christ is the opposite of one based on self. Christ came to serve, not to be served. Verses 19 through 21 are the very essence of a life based on self.
So then, how should a man act?
We read starting in verse 22 that the fruit of the Spirit consists of several aspects, though all wrapped in one package. Nine character traits all expressed through a life described as the fruit of the Spirit. I could go into a discussion on this concept, but there is a great article on the topic here that does an excellent job of it: https://carm.org/fruit-of-the-spirit.
To be IronMen, we must recognize that our lives are a reflection of Christ in everything we do.
This is why the fruit of the Spirit is so important to us. The characteristics give us a litmus test with which to evaluate our Spiritual condition. While it is possible to recognize weaknesses in our lives with respect to these characteristics, the ability to develop strength in them is beyond the grip of most men.
Here is the challenge, and let me assure you – it is a big one…
• Revelation 12:9 teaches that Satan deceives the whole world.
• If we can be deceived into thinking that what we do is okay when it is not, it is nearly impossible for us to self-diagnose our failures.
• In fact, there may be no more dangerous condition in our faith than to be deceived about our Spiritual health.
There is only one way to address this formidable challenge. Surround yourself with trusted friends who can point out where you are strong as well as where you can improve. Allow the nine characteristics of verses 22 and 23 to spur you to actions that reflect the true nature of an IronMan of God.
By Stu K