Be a Man…

lightstock_205409_jpg_user_1188538.jpg In a world where there has already been much confusion – gender confusion is unsurprising.  What does it mean to “be a man?”  There is no shortage of opinions.  What do we do when we need to know truth?  We go to the source of truth.  God’s word – the Bible is where God has revealed his truth to us.

We read in the opening chapter of the first book of the Bible that God creates humans “in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”  [Gen 1:27].  We know three things right off the bat – (1) God created humans, (2) He created them in his image, therefore every single human has dignity, value, and worth, and (3) He created male and female to be distinctly different.

So, this being true [God’s word…remember?] what does it mean to be a man?   Someone who is rough, gruff, physically intimidating, superior in sports, makes tons of cash, or has been with scores of women?  Are there any differences at all between men and women? I’m going to suggest that perhaps one hopefully helpful way of defining a man is “leader.”  All over Scripture we see men as leading – and let’s maybe look at 3 ways men are called to lead in particular:

  1. Sacrifice.  This has to be said first, because it is the attitude that undergirds the leadership.  Men should lead in service.  Selfless service.  Considering other’s needs above his own [Phil 2:3-4], in humility, [Eph 4:2] in love.  This includes helping others, honoring others, and being patient and gentle with others. Think of how Christ sacrificially served others! [Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:32]
  2. Sustenance.  Men should lead in providing for themselves [as in try not to be 28 and still living with your parents] or if they are married, providing for their wife and family.  God commanded Adam, before the Fall, to work the garden. [Gen 2:16] This means financial security, but also physically – taking care of the house, the cars, protecting, helping [see #1] in all aspects of housework, [not just “Man’s Work”] and taking care of themselves physically. Truth hurts –  so many men are just unhealthy and undisciplined!
  3. Spirituality.  Men should lead in knowing God, but this should be done in service too others and sustaining their own spiritual growth.   Husbands are called to love their wives in such a way that it makes her grow more mature as a believer. [Eph 5:25-27] Much is made of the wives’ submission to the husbands – but before that happens a husband must submit to Christ. We are also called to bring up their kids in fear and instruction of the Lord. [Eph 6:4].  Single dudes:  you need to be growing in Godliness long before a wife and kids to do this well when the time comes.

One summary “truth hurts” comment perhaps – men have largely punted on leading, or restricted it to one or two areas of their lives. [Leading in Fantasy Football is not what we are going for here…] As a result, we see the devastating results in marriages, families, and a glutton of young men drifting without direction or passion.  Being a man isn’t a secret trait, or something that you either “have it” or not.  I’d challenge us all to give serious consideration to what the Bible calls men to and ask God humbly to give us the grace to live it out!

PS:  Many thanks to the men that I had review this and add their thoughts!

Here’s a scary thought…

As a parent, I do worry about my kids spending too much time online.kids-online

Evidently, I’m not alone.  According to this article kids are spending a ton of time online. Now that summer is upon us…there is even more time for them to spend. “Look, Mom! No Homework!”

Here are some nuggets:

Over the past five years, the kids’ Web universe has swelled by 18 percent, compared to a 10 percent growth rate seen in the relatively mature general Web population, per Nielsen. As of May, the kids 2-11 audience had reached 16 million, or 9.5 percent of the active online universe….

But even more impressive is this group’s heavy surge in usage when compared to the rest of the Web. Kids are all but living online. Time spent among kids has soared by 63 percent over the past five years, while overall time spent across all age groups is up 36 percent, per Nielsen.

According to Nielsen, kids 2-11 spent nearly seven hours online per month five years ago vs. 11 hours a month in 2009, with boys spending slightly more time on average than girls. That disparity is perhaps most evident in online video viewing, as boys accounted for 61 percent of video streams among kids on the Web.

I arrived at the same takeaway the author of the article did:

The reality these new numbers illustrate should also be a wake-up call for parents to really get involved in these kids’ digital lives by discussing where their younger kids are spending time online as well as setting appropriate limits (too much of anything, even “parent approved” websites or games, is too much). I worry about the internet becoming the new “babysitter” in the same way television has been for previous generations of “latchkey” kids.

So, just another reminder as parents that we have to watch what our kids are doing – be involved.  Yes, it’s easy for me as I’m running thru my “to do” list at home to want to ignore the fact that they’ve been on the computer for hours…and I need to stop and be a parent for a minute.

Without our involvement and speaking truth…as Proverbs says: raising them in the way they should go so that when they are older they will not depart from it…they are at risk of believing whatever they run into online as gopsel:

Ephesians 4:14-16

14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.