Manhood (Part 8) – Man and His Family
For those of you who may have come to the blog yesterday looking for this installment on manhood, I apologize. Yesterday’s schedule didn’t allow me get this posted. But this morning, I will begin looking at the familial role of a man. Once again, I will lean on material from Stu Weber’s “The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” with additional comments and/or questions.
According to Weber’s book, there are four distinct roles that all men are designed to live out. This is how he describes it:
Every man is commissioned by his Creator….
To Provide – as a Servant-King
To Protect – as a Tender Warrior
To Teach – as a Wise Mentor
To Connect – as a Faithful Friend
You might view these four fundamentals as the four points on the masculine compass. God has equipped every man with an internal gyro?scope which gives his life purpose, direction, balance, and impact. Providing that it is calibrated to the “True North” of God’s Word, a man may consult his internal compass for direction at any point in any situation on any given day.
Does this particular situation confronting me right now require the King, the Warrior, the Mentor, or the Friend?
Does my wife need the faithful Friend in me right now more than she needs the leader-King?
Does my daughter’s dating relationship need a bit of the “Warrior in me to weigh in at this point? Or does she just need a careful conversation with the Mentor?
Which pillar should bear the weight just now? Which of my masculine functions needs to seize this moment for my family’s good? And which needs to take a back seat at the moment?
Questions to ponder? In what ways do you think that asking yourself these basic questions could improve your relationships around you? In what ways would it improve your confidence about the decisions you make and the actions you take?
Balanced, the four pillars uphold the dreams of every man, woman, son, daughter, marriage, and family. Balanced, they provide security and significance for a man and his family. But if you let them lean, look out! Out of balance, leaning one way or the other, they will create havoc and pain, the opposite of everything you and your family desire. Out of bal?ance and control they will destroy both the man and his family. When the pillars in a manly heart begin to lean and topple, everyone suffers.
Questions to ponder? How so? How can character traits that should be inherently good, cause problems…even if they are out of balance?
So much of who a man is, and who we are to be was set in motion all the way back in Genesis 3, when God created masculinity. It didn’t evolve. It was created…when God breathed life into Adam. And many lessons are to be learned and observed about our role as husbands and leaders from that initial formation of man.
God created the man first.
A priority order in creation? Yes, and it is no accident of sequence. It is rather a deliberate action on the part of the Creator, later appealed to in the New Testament as indicating a unique leadership role in God’s econ?omy for the masculine gender (1 Timothy 2:8-15). Having created the man first, and prior to creating the woman, God and the man engage in some key conversations.
While we have no indication of how many conversations or how long those discussions may have been, we cannot escape the fact that this communication took place between the Creator and the man. And specific responsibilities were at the center of those conversations. From the very onset, it is evident that God had some definitive intentions in mind regarding a man’s priority role in leadership and headship responsibilities.
God created the Garden of Eden, and prior to creating the woman, directed the man to cultivate and keep it.
At this point in the creation account there was still only one human being. Adam was still flying solo. And to that lone man, God delivered a charge. It would be the man’s responsibility in the garden. “to work it and take care of it.” He said to Adam, in effect, “Here is a garden, an environment, a realm. I want you to watch over it, superintend it, look out for it.” God gave the man a specific charge regarding the realm. He was to cultivate it and to keep it. He was to be a provider and a superintendent.
In this charge, I believe, God was saying to the man, “There is some?thing of a king inside your chest. I have placed it there. I have made you a leader and a provider.” As Scripture unfolds it becomes patently dear that God’s intention is not that the man be some swaggering monarch with an attitude, but a Servant-King.
God gave to the man (again prior to the woman’s creation) specific instruc?tions regarding the tree of knowledge
God delivered to the man, while he was still alone, a specific and criti?cally important body of information concerning the very nature of life itself. The subject of the conversation was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Evidently, God intended that the man become a steward, not only of the garden, but of this information as well. It is legitimate to draw the implication that the man was responsible to heed this informa?tion, to regard it carefully, and to steward it as information critical to life itself
The further implication may be drawn that the man’s stewardship of this information involves his carefully passing it along, or teaching it to others who may eventually live in the realm. I believe this is an early indi?cator of God’s intention that a man knows how life works. A man is to teach those near and dear to him the basic principles of life.
Questions to ponder? What effect does this have on our home environment? What effect does this have on the typical view of Sunday School and other “professionally” led ministries within the church environment?
God issued a clear warning of danger in the realm.
When God used the words “shall surely die” in his conversation with the man, His tone was necessarily ominous. He was warning the man of an enormous threat in the realm, saying in effect, “It is dangerous here. You (and, by implication, those you love) are vulnerable in this place. Though it feels like paradise, you could die here.”
God clearly intended that Adam be alert, on guard, on watch. He intended that Adam protect himself, those around him, and the realm itself from the threat
In unmistakable terms, God said the man was never intended to live alone.
The Creator stated it clearly from the beginning: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.” While the immediate and obvious context of this statement is the marriage relationship (the very height of friendship), I believe it is also a statement of comprehensive principle found from one end of Scripture to the other. It is a sweeping life statement. Alone is not good. Together is better. Men were made to connect.
Questions to ponder? If this is true, then why do we desire isolation as well as deep friendship?
When sin destroyed the peace of the realm, God came looking for the man
Genesis 3: 1-19records the tragic account of the first sin and its cata?strophic results. It is worth noting that while the woman sinned first, when God came to confront the sinners, He came looking for the man. Scripture says, “The LORD God called to the man.”
I believe the question God asked Adam was more of an indictment than a request for information: “Where are you?”
The Lord wasn’t inquiring about Adam’s physical whereabouts. He knew perfectly well where the man was on the ground. The omniscient God has no trouble with geographical coordinates. What He was actually doing was demanding an explanation. He was reminding the man of his abuse of the stewardship responsibilities which he had been given.
Adam had failed his Lord, his wife, and himself. He had failed to steward his masculinity. I believe God was saying, in effect, “Adam, where were you?” God was demanding to know just what Adam had done with his masculine stewardship.
Where was the King in you, Adam? It appears you have not watched over your home. You have failed to superintend your realm. You have evi?dently failed to provide leadership to your family in the most basic area of all. It seems you were not looking ahead for those near and dear to you. Where was the King in you, man?
Where was the Warrior in you, Adam? When that snake invaded your home, were you asleep on guard duty? Why didn’t you stand between your wife and the evil in your world? Did you expect her to protect her?self? Why didn’t you step into the gap?
Where was the Mentor in you, Adam? When your wife was taken in by that snake, where were you? When your wife conversed with that evil one, where was your influence? Was she not alert to what I told you ear?lier? Did you not communicate to her the information about life I gave to you? Where was the Mentor in you? Did you fail to teach?
Where was the Friend in you, Adam? When your wife was wandering off giving attention to evil influence, where were you? Were you aloof? Distant? Absent? Absorbed in your own stuff? Were you not with her? Where was the Friend in you, man? Did you fail to connect?
Please note that God holds the man responsible in a way in which he does not so hold the woman. Although Eve sinned first, it was Adam who God went looking for. It is apparent that God expects the man to have exercised some sort of corporate, overarching, family-wide respon?sibility reaching beyond his own personal responsibility.
Questions to ponder? Does this reality inspire you or scare you? Or both? Why?
Though Eve sinned first, God condemned the race for Adam’s sin. The entire human race suffers because the head of the race fell short. This is clearly implied in Genesis, and explicitly confirmed in the New Testament: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin. By the transgression of the one the many died. Through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all. As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (Romans 5:12, 15, 18; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
There are serious and humbling implications here for every man.
Don’t miss this principle, my friend: The entire family suffers when the head of the family falls short. When a man loses sight of his noble com?mission from God, he wallows, losing direction and perspective. When a man loses hope, his vision fades and his people perish. When a man loses direction, he tends to waste or abuse his God-given masculine ener?gies and capacities on selfish and/or destructive pursuits.
It is this lack of manliness, this fatherlessness, that accounts for much of the chaos and so many of the social ills in our own culture-from drugs to gangs; from unfaithfulness to divorce; from unwanted pregnan?cies to single-parent homes; from simple selfishness to soaring crime rates. Masculinity off-course and run amuck is incredibly destructive
But wait . . . there is good news!
Manliness, on-course and in hot pursuit of God’s intentions for masculinity, enjoys an incredible power for health and healing. When Dad is following after God’s intentions for him, everybody wins! It is on these positive, motivating implications that this book will concentrate. A man is motivated when he is pointed toward the high ground of God’s inten?tions for him. And the whole family rises to a level of health, fulfillment, and happiness when the King-Warrior-Mentor-Friend is doing his job and living out God’s intentions for his masculine soul.
When “the man” is at home, doing his job, living out the four pillars of his masculinity, and wrapping his arms around God’s intentions for him, everyone wins.