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.

Equality of Men and Women

A question I get asked around the world is how women can be expected to be under the authority of their husband when the Bible says that men and women are equal. This is an important question and one that I have an answer for.

The Problem

The Bible clearly teaches that women are made to take a different role on the earth than that of the man. Yet today’s egalitarian and feminist motivations resist that Biblical position. Then there is the Bible text which teaches that men and women are equal before God.

How do we reconcile those seemingly contradictory Biblical positions? How can a woman be expected to take a place different to the man while the Bible says there is no difference between the man and the woman?

The Woman in a Different Place to Man

The Bible repeatedly reveals that men and women are different, in both the Old and New Testaments. Men and Women are different in their creation – Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from the side of the man. They are also different in their purpose – Adam to be in the image of God and Eve to be as a helper for her husband. When God cursed the man and woman after the fall He gave unique and distinct punishments to the woman to the man.

In the New Testament we find that wives are asked to behave toward their husbands differently to the way husbands are asked to behave toward their wives. Instructions are given to the men to pray with uplifted hands and the women are given instructions about their beauty. Men and women are treated differently in both the old and new testaments.

God’s Hierarchy

I often refer to the authority hierarchy which God gives us through the Apostle Paul, in 1Corinthians 11:3. There we see that the man and woman are put in a completely separate place under God’s authority.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Apostle Paul, 1Corinthians 11:3

On the strength of this hierarchy and the other Bible texts about women a case has been made throughout church history for a different role for women in the church to that of men. That is still a hot issue today.

The Equality Issue

Apart from feminist notions and demands for equality the Bible gives a proof text to support the idea of equality between men and women.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Some people have been taught, on the strength of Galatians 3:28, that all distinctions between men and women have been done away with in Christ. A Christian woman should be allowed to do all that a Christian man would be allowed to do.

So how to do we reconcile the distinction between these two competing truths? Women have a different place to men, yet women are equal. How can that be?

The Setting

The simple answer to this dilemma is in the setting these two seemingly competitive truths refer to. In Paul’s statement about the equality of men and women he also mentions other things which are now equal in Christ. He mentions Jews and Greeks and slaves and freemen. Slaves and freemen are equal in Christ, yet when a slave becomes a Christian he or she is still a slave. When a Greek becomes a Christian he or she is still a Greek.

Before the throne of God Greeks and Jews are equal in Christ. Yet in the setting on earth the Greek is under Greek customs and government and the Jew is under Jewish customs and government.

Standing before the throne of God a slave and a freeman have the same rights to enter into relationship with God and to expect God’s grace and power on their behalf. But in the earthly setting the slave must get up each day and do the will of his master/employer.

So there are two settings in which our personal reality is worked out. Those settings are the setting of heaven and the setting of our earthly circumstances. We can be one thing in one of those settings and yet have a different set of constraints in the other

The Setting for Women

Women operate in two settings. On earth they are created to be a very effective part of their husband’s world. They are created as helpers and put in a place under the care and authority of the husband. That is their earthly setting.

In Christ, however, before the throne of God, a woman has the same rights to God’s forgiveness, grace and blessing as any man could hope to have. Before God’s throne there is no difference between a man and a woman. They are equal and indistinguishable. That is the great elevation of womanhood that comes through the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Equality is God’s Gift to Women

God gives women equality that they are often denied in homes and cultures. While women have responsibilities for which they are accountable before God, they also have full and undiluted personal status before God’s throne. The prayers of a woman are as valid in God’s ears as the prayers of any man.

Positionally, before God’s throne, women enjoy wonderful liberty and equality. Functionally, in the various roles they are given on earth, each woman has a place to take and a part to play that is under the authority of her husband.

Of Fathers and Sons

We live in a Fatherless World, as I explained in a recent post. So, how do fathers and sons work together to create this fatherless situation? That’s the question I want to explain in this update posting.

Fatherless-ness Defined

Fatherless-ness is the condition of being without the true fathering which God intended. Fathering is a divine calling and privilege. Yet in today’s world men think they can make of it what they want. So they become the kind of fathers that they choose to become, without regard for their divine calling. Most people today have lost sight of the foundations for their lives, so they follow the crowd. If other fathers do things a certain way then that social norm becomes the reference point for most fathers. Then, in the absence of truth to guide fathers to their real calling, they function as something less than a father. That creates a situation of fatherless-ness.

When a child is raised without the high level of spiritual responsibility and guidance that a real father is meant to bring to the child, then the child is fatherless, even if that child has a very present, very pleasant dad in their life.

Dad doesn’t create fathering. God created fathering and calls men to fulfil that mandate. Sadly, most men are either ignorant or irresponsible. They go about providing what they choose to provide in their role as dads. So their children are fatherless.

How Dads Create Fatherless-ness

When a dad is absent the child clearly is fatherless. With immorality rampant many children are born without fathers and not able to determine who their real father is. I spoke recently with a woman who was told by her mum that her dad would have been one of two men who the mum was not married to. Without DNA testing the daughter cannot be certain which of the men is her real dad. But she is at least lucky enough to narrow it down to two.

So the absentee father is one cause of fatherless-ness, but it is not the greatest cause of this problem from the dad’s side of the equation.

The more insidious fatherless-ness occurs when there is the appearance of a father, but the absence or true fathering, as I described earlier. When ever a man fails to be the man that God has called him to be or the father that God has called him to be, then he creates fatherless-ness.

I once worked with a family where the father had virtually no manhood. He acted much like his own children, but he had less intelligence than they did. He held down a menial job and left the running of the home to his wife and her father, who provided the mature male role in the home. The man’s children mocked him openly. He was a joke to them, and yet he thought such a situation was normal and reasonable. Such a man creates fatherless-ness, because he is not functioning as a father in that home.

When a dad lives for himself and raises his children as it suits him, he makes his children fatherless. When a dad ignores God’s authority over him and through him to his children, he makes his children fatherless. When a man abdicates from his manhood and leaves the home to his wife to run, he makes his children fatherless.

Dads create fatherless culture by their failure to be the fathers God created them to be in their child’s life.

How Children Create Fatherless-ness

Children also create fatherless-ness. They do it by rejecting their fathers. When children rebel against the instructions of their father, they make themselves ‘fatherless’. Just as refusing to drive a car, even when you have one in the garage, makes you effectively ‘car-less’, so refusing to honour your father, even though you have one in your home, makes you effectively ‘father-less’.

Children choose to become fatherless when they find that their dad frustrates their will. When the child decides to go against the father’s instructions or pull against his limitations, the child removes their self from being ‘fathered’. So the child becomes fatherless.

When children spend much of their life under the influence of their peers (as is the almost universal experience of western children) it is to be expected that the children will value the peer culture above their parent’s values. The child will be sorely tempted to side with the peers rather than the parents when these cultures conflict. When the child chooses to side with the peers that child replaces the father with the peer culture. The child is then fatherless.

Since the child will likely be determining his or her values from social norms, rather than from Biblical truth or some other external and unchanging reference point, the child will be encouraged to think that their fight for independence from parental control is normal and reasonable. They will have no idea that they have permanently damaged themselves and contributed to the fatherless world in which they live.

God the Father

Among the various responses that can be suggested in this fatherless world, the most powerful one is to firmly set God as Father in our lives. God is a father, as Jesus pointed out when He taught us to pray, “Our Father in Heaven…” That truth was already given in the Old Testament Scriptures.

“But now, O LORD, You are our father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

“For whom the LORD loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

“Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.” Psalm 103:13

God is not only a father, He is the most perfect and complete, fully functioning father that could ever be imagined. Having God as our father brings into our lives all that our natural fathers were incapable of binging to us. So it is more than a nice idea to have God as our Father. It is an extremely powerful reality that will impact who we are more than just about anything else we could do.

I encourage you to overturn fatherless-ness in your life, but entering into intimate relationship with God as your Heavenly Father.

The Economic Man

A man recently told me how he struggles to take the lead in his home because his wife out-earns him. His situation brought to focus the cherished idea that men have authority only because they are the bread-winner. This is a false notion and needs to be dealt with in order to find blessing in the home.

The problem we have in our society is that there are two prevailing mindsets we can draw from. Well, actually there is only one made accessible to most people, and that’s the wrong one. However, for Bible believing Christians there are certainly two mindsets which pull at our consciousness.

One mindset is the prevailing naturalistic view of the world. People who deny God’s place in the universe see everything as a product of naturalistic processes. They believe the world evolved by natural processes. They believe that societies evolved and that marriage is a product of people’s attempts to survive their circumstances.

From a naturalistic point of view it could be suggested that male leadership in the home evolved due to man’s greater capacity to guarantee the safety of the family, through brute strength and his greater capacity to bring provision to the home. That idea has been sown around western society to the point that many people simply assume it is gospel truth.

The other mindset is given to us in the Bible. It is a mindset based on God as our creator and the architect of our whole life experience.

Naturalistic thinking is mono-dimensional. It can only understand things from the human perspective. It is also without moral protection. Since we live in a moral universe influenced by godly and ungodly forces, those who choose not to seek godly influence will unwittingly come under ungodly influence. Ungodly forces are intent on deception and slavery for mankind, keeping people away from truth that sets them free. The Apostle James identified the way these two forces impact the mind of man when he discussed ‘wisdom’.

“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish.” James 3:15

James exposes here that what stacks up as pretty good human, materialistic wisdom will actually have an ungodly source. It will be a limited perspective, from man’s point of view, but with a barb in the tail.

The naturalistic point of view lacks the profound depth and breadth available to us as we listen to what God is saying. The godly, Biblical mindset is rich with grace and positive potential.

Now, back to the Economic Man. The naturalistic, ungodly perspective suggests that a man’s only real value in a home is his economic contribution. His right to lead the home and his value to the other family members is directly linked to his economic worth.

If the wife and children out-earn him, and out-perform him in many ways, then this naturalistic man has to accept his loss of worth. He is demeaned by their success and relegated to some lesser place, unless he can stand tall in their presence and command respect because of his performance.

True manhood has nothing to do with economic contribution. It has nothing to do with physical strength, force of will, ability to protect and defend, or any other masculine quality. True manhood is simply being the man that God created the bloke to be. And the authority which a true man holds comes from God, not from the man himself.

The man is the head of the home, not because of his economic power, but because that is God’s design. God chose the man to carry the responsibility. That is why the universal expression of marriage has the man carrying the responsibility. God created it so and made it natural and logical to be so. Men did not gain headship by a process of evolution, or by swinging a big club. They were given it by God.

A man could be quadriplegic, old, weak, bald, humourless, or any of a myriad un-masculine qualities, and still be the head of his home and the leader of his family.

When men walk away from God they end up reduced to the level of their economic performance. A form of economic rationalism is exerted over their existence. They must perform or be displaced.

When men walk with God they are elevated to the place of leadership and responsibility which God gives them. They don’t have to prove a thing. They can happily have their wife and children out-perform them. They can celebrate the success of their descendents. They can rejoice in their wife’s achievements. They are not threatened by those things nor displaced by them.

It is time to dispense with the economic man. That is an unworthy model of manhood. It is time to embrace true manhood, found in God’s calling, not in human definition.

If you would like to dig into the subject of manhood take a look at my book, Manhood Horizons. Go to: http://familyhorizons.net/html/manhood.html

Rudyard Kipling Defines a Man

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If”, brandishes Kipling’s own bold definition of manhood. The poem is a powerful and strident call upon the human soul. Men and women have been stirred by it’s uncompromising standard.

Through history many Britons were inspired by Kipling’s clarion call to unswerving manhood. It is suggested that the poem, written in the early 1900’s, was inspired by Kipling’s friendship with such men as Sir Cecil Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named), Lord Milner and Dr Jameson. Derek Prince’s father, a military man himself, drew from the poem to inspire his young son to the stoic qualities Kipling defined.

So, let me remind you of this poem and encourage you to consider its implications for a true definition of manhood. You might like to compare Kipling’s vision of manhood with the testimony of Job, in Job 29:1-25.

“If” by: Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run —
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man my son!

Note how Kipling celebrates self-discipline here.
Mastery of the human soul gains Kipling’s adulation, where self-control is his abiding principle prize.

Yet a greater mastery transcends this worthy call.
It is not to master, but to be mastered.
Not to harness all, but to yield even more.
Not to hold oneself, but to lose oneself.
Not to excel all others, but to excel in love for others as Christ loves you.

Yes, be master of your realm.
Hold the reins in calm and meek command.
But hold them not for yourself or human purpose, but for the prize of yieldedness alone.
Hold yourself, as a servant holds his tongue and steadies his hand.
Hold yourself as a surgeon presses past duress to save the mangled life at ebb before him.
Master who and what you are, not for your father, your station or your nation – but for the one who is Master of all.

Stand before Him, without fear or shame.
Stand before Him, whether He smile or rebuke.
Stand before Him, unwavering.
So eternity is yours, and, what’s more my son, you will be a Man!

So here is “If continued” …. by Chris Field

If you can stand before the eternal throne
Unflinching in the face of God’s command
And occupy that space as if your own
And there before his searching gaze still stand;
If you can stay your heart from fear or shame
And yield yourself before His awesome will
Unflinching in the fire of holy flame
Determined to be faithful still;

If you can master self not for your own
And stay yourself – thus on the altar stay
And hold yourself for yieldedness alone
If you can live under His sceptre’s sway;
If you can find yourself, yourself to lose
Excelling in your love, as is God’s plan;
If giving all to Him is what you choose,
Eternity is yours and you’re a Man!