Manhood (Part 7) – Man, Manhood & God (con’t)
Today I will conclude my thoughts on manhood and God. Tomorrow we will take on a different angle of manhood (man as husband/provider), but make sure that you are fully grasping this aspect first. I have virtually no building skills, I typically supply the muscle and grunt work. I move stuff around for those who can build. But while I lack those skills, I understand how critically important the foundational work is to any structure. Get that part wrong, and it’s all in jeopardy. As you read today’s entry, go back and review the others about manhood and God….make sure you are establishing a good foundational structure for building authentic masculinity in your life.
One of the elements that is missing far too often among Christian men is a deep, daily walk with Jesus Christ. Mark Alderton (who serves as pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Bloomington, Minn.) recently described it to men attending a conference this way:
“It is a carryover from the fall that we, as guys, don’t necessarily always want to pursue God ourselves and lead in that way,” he said. “It is very common in a marriage for the wife who is enthusiastic about devotional life and she is consistent in it and wants to bring the man to church.”
Preaching from John 15:4-5, Alderton admonished attendees to abide in Christ, unpacking the concept of “abiding” and encouraging men to answer three fundamental questions:
- What does it mean to abide in Christ?
- Why do we need to abide in Christ?
- How do we abide in Christ?
The bottom line is that it is this vital connection between a man and his God through which blessings flow. But an overwhelming percentage of Christian men flounder in their spiritual walk and development because they do not understand what it means to live in a continuous, dependent, daily relationship with Christ. In John 15, Jesus illustrated this relationship by speaking of a branch’s reliance upon the vine for vitality.
In this passage, Jesus refers to grapevines. And he uses this simple illustration to demonstrate our necessity of integrated connection to him. If a grapevine is going to produce grapes, the branches must be attached to the stem. It can’t just be tied on or loosely connected because all of the nutrients that are coming up from roots, must pass through the stems into the branches in order to produce life. If the branch is not completely integrated, it will wither up and die, and no fruit will be produced.
It’s a pretty clear picture of what we must do in order to be productive and have life….we must be vitally connected to the source of life, Jesus Christ. Apart from that, we will be a hollow shell of what we could be.
So men…… if you want to be all that you are capable of being, all that you were designed to be…IT MUST START HERE! It must start with you and God. There is no substitute for time spent with God in prayer or in reading his word which is the Bible. Get this part right, or everything else is at risk and will eventually crack and crumble.
I will admit that this has always been a challenge for me. Why? Because I am a man. I want to make it on my own. I want to PROVE myself. I want to establish my own worth. And yet, time and time again, I am reminded (through failure, frustration, and a variety of other indicators) that it is ONLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, that I have anything to offer.
So how ’bout it men? Are you struggling here? Is this foundational part of your own life steady or shaky? Do you have any pearls of wisdom to offer to other men reading this blog that will help them in this critical portion of manhood? Please add your thoughts.