Where Manhood Stands Tallest

Where do you find manhood most visible and evident? If you were looking for manhood among the men of your city in which forum would you be most likely to find it?

My manhood journey began with the understanding that I had abdicated my headship as the husband within my marriage. So is marriage the place where manhood is to be identified?

Others recognise that their father displays real manhood, ruling his household with authority and setting up the next generation for authority and success in the following generation. So, is the family the forum in which manhood stands tallest?

What about those men who are giants of industry, outstanding political leaders, commanders of men, men of supreme personal talent and ability and so on? There are several places where outstanding men might stand out. Which of those places is the one where manhood is at its most potent?

Job’s Example

Job exemplified the self-sacrificing character of real manhood in his dealings with men. He was a political leader (he had a seat at the gate of the city – where the civic leaders exercised their leadership). He was totally selfless in his care for the needy, such as the disabled, widowed and helpless. He had a large family that honoured him. He had vast wealth and enterprise. See Job 29:7-17.

Yet Job was called into another forum to have his manhood tested. That forum was God’s presence. God called him to account for himself. Job did not achieve his greatest manhood until he accepted that call, which took him two attempts. See Job 38:3 and 40:7.

The Throne Room

Truest manhood has always been found in men who will do business with God. Men who hid from God’s presence lost their manhood, like Adam hiding after breaking God’s command. But men who were willing to run into God’s presence were those who God favoured the most readily.

King David was guilty of adultery and murder and he tried to hide his sin at first. Then the prophet came and convicted him. At that moment David did not go to Bathsheba’s family for reconciliation. Nor did he try to put things right with the family of her dead husband or with the people of Israel. Instead he ran into God’s presence and declared, “I have sinned against You!”

Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight: that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.” Psalm 51:4

Men who will enter the throne room, obedient to God’s earthly requirements for their lives, but also willing to do business with God, stand out as the real men of history.

Face to Face With God

Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Paul did business face to face with God. They were statesmen and commanders of men. They and others like them found the true forum for real manhood.

Your own manhood will not become what it is supposed to be until and unless you do business with God, face to face in the throne-room.

The Other Throne

The first throne where manhood is to be found is actually the heart of man. A real man does not have himself on the throne of his life. His heart is committed to God and he will do what God wants him to do. He will live his life sacrificially on behalf of others. He will be a defender and a rewarder, not a self-indulger.

Job had such a heart, as seen in his life of sacrificial benefit to others who needed assistance. His life was not his own, but was spent in blessing others, loving his neighbour and giving himself sacrificially.

Any man who lives life as if it is his own property for him to use as makes him happy is not a man at all.

Real men have done business at two thrones. They have the Lord God on the throne of their own heart, as the Lord of their life. Consequently they live their life sacrificially for others. They have also been into the throne room of God’s presence and invited God to do business with them, as they do business with Him.

Look in the Right Place

Don’t go looking for real men in the fitness centre. Don’t go to the discos looking for real men. Don’t even be impressed with the way their wife and children seem to give due respect to them.

Don’t look for the list of the richest men or winners of the “man of the year” award.

It is hard to see the heart of a man or to know if he has been into God’s presence or not. But the way a man lives his life for others, responds to God’s claim on his life and does business with God are the surest indicators of whether the man is a Real Man or not.

God Looks on the Heart

Man looks on the things that can be seen from the outside – the natural appearances. But God looks on the heart. God’s x-ray vision not only sees the arterial sclerosis which many people carry, undetected, but He also sees the attitudes and the intentions of our heart.

When God looks at your heart He not only sees the condition it is in, but He knows where it is going. God can anticipate your entire eternal outcome, by seeing your heart. Wow!

You ask for chapter and verse? Let me step you through this piece by piece.

Firstly we know that God looks at the heart.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

OK, got that? But when God looks on the heart He not only sees its current condition, such as being filled with anger or joy, but He sees its ‘nature’. That’s how God could declare David to be a man after God’s own heart.

“But now your kingdom will not continue: the LORD has sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be captain over his people, because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you.” 1Samuel 13:14

At the time Samuel gave this prophetic declaration to King Saul, David was only a boy. Yet God described him as a ‘man’ after God’s own heart. God knew the character of David’s heart. God knew that David was not perfect, for no man is perfect except Jesus Christ, yet God knew that David’s heart would choose to honour God.

In the ensuing years we find David moved to build a house for God. We find David eager to restore the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. We see David unafraid to make a fool of himself in worshipping God. We see David deeply repentant over his sin. We see David willing to fall into the hands of Almighty God and longing for the courts of God. David’s ‘heart’ was set on the pursuit of God.

Despite his adultery, murder, failure as a parent and other sins and weaknesses, David’s heart was known by God to be a true heart of worship and commitment to God. So God could predict the enduring quality of David’s life, from his boyhood.

Men are often duped by the appearances of others. We are impressed with or we ignore people, based on external indicators. But even someone who is excited about God and their own salvation may not have the ‘heart’ for the long haul and the challenges that lie ahead. Jesus taught that some would receive the word of God with joy, but would fall away when they faced trials.

“And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” Mark 4:16,17

The devil can’t see our heart. The devil, like us humans, needs external evidence to know what is going on. We see that in the exchange over God’s favoured servant, Job. God knew Job’s heart and so God confidently boasted in Job. The devil, however, could not see Job’s heart and assumed that Job’s love for God was motivated for selfish reasons.

“And the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?” Job 1:8,9

God allowed the devil to bring Job under great affliction, to prove Job’s heart. God had no doubt about the outcome, because He could already see the quality of Job’s heart.

By the way, that’s how God is able to ensure that we are not tempted with anything that is beyond us. God knows where each of us is up to and what we can endure, at our heart level.

Note too that the devil wanted to sift Peter like wheat, to see what rubbish there was inside him which the devil could exploit (Luke 22:31). The devil can’t see what’s in there, so he has to go on a fishing expedition to see what he can dredge up.

Since the ‘heart’ is the ‘heart of the matter’ we are warned to diligently guard our heart.

Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

David prayed to God to give him a right heart, and we do well to pray that prayer as well.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

To My Useless Friends

What are you really able to do of yourself? If you were not useless you’d be dangerous. Praise God you are hopeless and useless. That way God is glorified.

If you could do things of yourself and make things happen the way you want them to, then you would be tempted to do evil things. If evil people have the power to get ahead by evil actions then everyone would be tempted to become evil. Your uselessness is a great protection for all of humanity.

Uh?

Solomon explains it like this. “A man will not be established by wickedness”. Wicked actions do not bring lasting benefits and perpetual profit. The root of the righteous, however, will not be moved, no matter what wickedness is thrown against him (see Proverbs 12:3).

The reason for this limitation is God. God gives favour to good people and He condemns a person of wicked devices (see Proverbs 12:2). So, what can you do of yourself? You are totally dependent on God for lasting benefits from your actions. If you honour and follow Him then you can expect His blessings. If you rebel against Him and do evil, there is nothing you can do to protect yourself against Him.

Now, that’s what is indicated in the ‘fear of God’. When we realise that the consequences of our actions are not what we produce by our actions, but what God does in response to them, then we are awakened to the fear of God. We can do nothing toward our personal success, but keenly follow God’s instructions, leading to great success. Or we can do everything in our power to gain success, while rejecting God and His wisdom, and find that we have no chance of success.

God is the true arbiter of the outcomes. God controls the events and rewards us for our heart toward Him. Unless the Lord protects our assets, we are wasting our time trying to do it ourselves. And unless the Lord is supportive of our attempts to make progress, we are wasting our efforts to get there by ourselves. For King David’s take on this check out Psalm 127:1.

“Except the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” Psalm 127:1

So, my useless friends, your greatest asset is not your personal assets, but your relationship with God’s incredible assets – which puts us all on a level-playing-field, all equally able to do the impossible and live in the miraculous, all equally useless and all equally open to the fullness of eternity operating in our lives.

It turns out I’m as useless as you, so we have plenty in common. Let’s be friends.