Sunday, May 24, 2020

You'll Be A Man

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor common 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!
~Rudyard Kipling~

The conversation was a good one.  Talk of where it is that all the Christian men had gone.  It's a question I've heard more and more recently not only from broadcast pastors, but from friends who remain in the institutional church.  Now, what makes for a good Sunday sermon is not always a good thing.  For we need that Christian man, and all of the strength and virtue he embodies.  As I wrote in my last post, in order for us to locate the Christian man, we first need to define what it is that a man is.  The poet Rudyard Kipling seemingly did a good job of this with his classic poem "If."  Kipling goes through more than a few attributes one might come up with to describe what being a man involves.  Yet, I think that it goes deeper than that.  If we're looking for the idea of a Christian man, I say that we begin with the one who defines what a Christian man truly is.  That man being Christ Jesus.  I believe that we can look to Jesus for all that we need to know about being a man.  Jesus was indeed a man, one whom few had ever seen before.  For even in His own time, the example which Jesus gave of manhood ran contrary to the society of His day.  Mercy?  Love?  Certainly these were not the attributes of a man in the Jewish culture.  If you don't believe me, then just take a look at the example of manhood which Jesus was left to follow and learn from.  We're told that Joseph was indeed a godly man {Matthew 2:19}.  We know that Joseph was a carpenter by trade, and that he more than likely passed these skills to a young Jesus.  However, I believe that it wasn't just these skills which Joseph passed to his son, but his knowledge of what it took to be a man in Jewish society.  Who would know more about being a man in those times than Joseph?  It is here where a young Jesus learned many vital lessons.  We know that Jesus, being a son of Joseph, carried His fathers DNA within him.  This includes not only physical characteristics, but thoughts and attitudes as well.  One can look upon Jesus and see His father in Him.  We also share in that heredity of the family of Christ Jesus.  The apostle Paul assures us of this as he explains that it is Jesus who lives in us {Galatians 2:20}.  Therefore, we cannot see ourselves without seeing Jesus as well.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2: 20 NKJV

I dare say that, contrary to the complaints from those around me, that the Christian man has never been lost.  No, we simply did not see him for who he truly was.  And who is it that we really are?  What is that identity which we stand behind?  Are we simply bodies of flesh and other organs within?  If so, then we have no room inside for Jesus to prosper.  I believe that we are more than the flesh vessel which we exhibit each and every day.  In other words, our bodies have never defined who it is that we truly are.  What defines us is He who lives in us.  Jesus is who we are, He always has been.  From the moment that God breathed into me the breath of life, He was a intimate part of me {Genesis 2:7}.  Jesus is connected with everything I do and experience.  Paul knew this as well.  Now, are we to believe that simply knowing who we are is the prerequisite to being a man?  I would not venture to make that statement.  However, I do know from personal experience that knowing who we are in Christ Jesus is a vital component to our ascension into manhood.   We cannot discount someone being a man simply for showing the love and compassion of God any more than we could say that Jesus was never a man.  For it is through His children that the world will see the glory of God.  It is through us that Christ Jesus will be revealed to those around us.  So, along with the many attributes we associate with manhood, we can add to them the love and mercy of Christ.  Being a man entails many attributes which we ourselves have created.  We look at a godly man and immediately decide he is not worthy simply because he does not live up to our standards of manhood.  The Christian man has never been gone, we simply didn't know where to look.


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