Legacy of Manhood

Posted: December 26, 2012 in Teachable Moment
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Today I want to talk about manhood. Not manhood as defined by secular culture or church culture but manhood as defined by the scriptures. The reason I want to talk about this simple. I am exhausted with watching families destroyed by the lack of real men and every divorce that I have watched in the last 10 years can somehow be traced to a man who decided to abdicate his role as a leader. Whether it was the father of the bride or the groom himself, somewhere along the road to disaster there was a man who didn’t care enough to stand and fight for what was right. Not that women have no responsibility because they absolutely do, but biblically speaking their responsibility is always in their response to leadership weather good or bad. If they respond well to bad leadership sometimes families are saved. If they respond badly to good leadership they can bring the demise of a family just as quickly as bad leadership from a man, but the man will always be held responsible as the initiator.

Now as for defining manhood, we are told by the secular culture that a man should drink beer, watch sports, ogle women on TV or the internet and be a perpetual consumer of all things that please him. In the church culture men are encouraged to be hypocrites. They come to church, looking like they have it all together but deep down they are harboring massive amounts of secret sin, causing them to be passive and crippled in their leadership.  However, the scriptures give a very different view of manhood; he is neither a man of self-indulgence nor a man of hypocrisy who merely performs for the sake of others. In the sermon series I have linked to below, Matt Chandler points out a very key definition for masculinity found in Genesis 2. In Genesis 2 the man is put on the earth to cultivate NOT to consume. He is created to be a cultivator of all that God has made, to make it grow and become all that it can be. A true man pours out himself to cultivate his wife and his children with care, love and righteousness; the fruit that results becomes his legacy.  A man who does not do this in his family is still a cultivator by design but what he grows is selfishness, bitterness and pain which passes from one generation to the next. Unless God intervenes, the state of a man’s family will always be a reflection of who he truly is on the inside; a consumer, a pretender or a child of God.

However, this task of cultivation is not to be an easy one because in Genesis 3 the fall happens and God curses everything that that the man was supposed to cultivate. When he tries to grow things that are good, the earth now wars against him. The same is true with a family. Even when the man tries to cultivate things that are good in his family, he is met with great opposition. So a real man must not only be a cultivator but he must be a warrior to fight against nature itself for the good of his family.

Now, I am not so naive as to think that there is only one simple cause in the demise of a family but let us think for a moment what might happen if father’s poured themselves into cultivating their sons and daughters in the ways of God. What if they proactively warred for their souls? What if husbands pursued their wives like Christ pursues the church and cultivated an atmosphere of unconditional love? What if they fought for the leadership of their home instead of passively putting it on the shoulders of their wives? Would it make a difference? Well, if God set it up that way in Eden, where all was right before the curse, I just can’t help but think it would make all the difference in the world.

So here is my challenge for us as parents. Let’s raise our boys to be these men and our daughters to settle for nothing less. Let’s be the example of what it looks like to cultivate good things and war against the curse that lives in our nature. I am blessed to have a husband who pours himself into the cultivation of our family and a wonderful father who has set an example for us to follow.  It is our deepest prayer that God is starting a legacy of manhood in our family that will breathe life into generations to come, because if manhood dies then the family ultimately dies with it. I know there are many who might disagree with this assessment but even if you do, I hope I have made you think about the kind of legacies you are creating in your family.

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