If you would have asked me what it means to "Act Like A Man" 10-15 years ago, I would have told you to work hard, be bold, gain leadership and become successful in your field. Basically the worlds definition of success (Money, Power, Fame, Beauty) mixed with some Christian theology about being a good husband, father and fellow human being. While this definition seems harmless, it is hardly Biblical or what God has called men to be.
[shareable]'Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.'[/shareable]
Paul gives men a lifetime of work in this passage from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
Here Paul is telling not only men but all believers to be alert and vigilant against Satan, temptation, apathy, and false teachings. At a Stepping Up conference a few weeks back, I told the audience that one of Satan's best strategic moves is to keep men confused, disconnected from Christ and pursuing the world's agenda rather than God's. This not only sounds like me 10-15 years ago, but many of the Christian men I talk to today. We're busy with our careers, sports, hobbies, recreation, or anything else that allows us escape reality for a few hours. Rare is the man who is actually reading Scripture on a daily basis and learning discernment (Romans 12:1-2) or the man who is leading his family or other men spiritually through accountability.
How do we become more watchful?
- Reading Scripture Daily
- Seek Accountability with other men
- Create excitement by committing to pursuing God's work
Stand Firm In The Faith
Often times standing firm in the faith is misinterpreted as "telling your neighbor how screwed up he is and how he's going to hell" "Get the Muslims out of America" or "Spend hours attacking other Christians doctrine or theology because they have a big church or best selling book." What I honestly believe Paul is telling us, is for us to have sound doctrine on a personal level. We need to get past shallow conformity and equip ourselves to be strong and confident in our faith. Moving from milk to meat means moving from a consumer to a hunter mentality. It's not the churches responsibility to feed us weekly. Learn to feed yourself and discern what is right and Biblical.
How do we stand firm in the faith?
- Study Systematic Theology
- Get Back to Basics - BILD has a great small group study
- Learn Apologetics - JOSH, RZIM and Probe
Act Like Men
Paul uses the Greek verb ‘‘to act like a man’’ (andrizomai) only in 1 Cor 16:13 and nowhere else. First, this means that men are never to be passive, immoral, lazy, or cowardly. While Paul does not define what acting like a man means, his choice of this Greek verb gives us a clue. Paul was stating for men to be bold, valiant, disciplined and passionate. In Paul's day, manhood was not simply a birth gender but something that was attained and maintained on a daily basis. Manhood was not one-dimensional, it was holistic. You had to be a man on the battlefield, educationally, publicly and privately. Today, our models and metrics are skewed by the world, however these are some Biblical examples:
How do we Act Like Men?
- Be a sacrificial leader putting others needs before our own
- Discipline our thoughts, words and actions.
- Boldly and passionately live our faith and advance God's Kingdom.
Paul was talking here about spiritual strength. The Greek word used here for "Be Strong" (krotos) refers to strength in action which means doing something with the strength of the Lord. Strength comes from self-sacrifice, self-denial, and self-discipline with help from the Lord. Notice all these begin with "self" meaning that we must take the initiative, be proactive and not wait until our wife nags us to do these things. This strength comes from strong character and spirit which again means submitting our will to God and realizing we need Him for guidance and clarity in our daily decisions and actions.
How do we Become Strong?
- Submit our will and authority to God through prayer and repentance.
- Filter all our actions and decisions through Scripture and God's Will.
- Discipline ourselves by creating boundaries or guard rails to help us in areas that we are known to stumble.
Let All That You Do Be Done In Love
Here's where Paul throws out the ultimate challenge. Not only do we have to work on all these other areas, but we must do all these things in an atmosphere of grace and love. Paul was adamant in Galatians that if Christians were not expressing our actions in love, we were missing the whole point and Christ's teachings. Paul is telling us to take all these areas and all our struggles and to express ourselves outwardly, especially to non-believers in love. Compassion without compromise. Hating sin but showing love and grace to those who commit the sin. Grace and love is a hard road to travel, it's much easier to be judgmental and legalistic. But ultimately, God is calling us to be more than we can be by our own will and efforts. Do our best and let God do the rest.
How do we let all we do be done in love?
- See everyone through God's eyes. - Pray everyday for God to show you people through his eyes.
- Slow down, take time and notice people. There are hurting people all around us if we open our hearts.
- Hold ourselves to a higher personal standard but don't superimpose that standard on others.
As I said in the beginning, Paul throws out a lifetime of challenge in this small verse and I've yet to meet the man who has mastered it all. But I believe that Paul realized that the journey was the most important part. The man who wakes up each day, prays and asks God for help before his feet hit the floor - will yield years of wisdom and discernment over the man who tries to go about it by self effort. God has called and challenged us for a bigger role in fulfilling his plan and the work of his Kingdom. The only questions that remains is...will we "Act Like Men" and answer his call?