Pastor Jim Howard
First Baptist Church
233 S. Main, Cedar Springs
What is a real man? By the standards of today, a real man is someone who doesn’t exist except in the imaginations of those in Hollywood and the marketing industry. Supposedly, a real man looks like an Adonis, acts macho, and always wins. In reality, a real man is defined not by what he looks like, but who he is! Real men, for the most part, do not look like the latest “hunk” of a movie star or sports legend. He may not have rippling muscles, or stand over six feet tall, he may not even have a full head of hair. Real men are comfortable in their skin and have made their share of mistakes, and will make more.
Today I will start a three part series on what Real Men Are, from the Word of God. Note what God says in 1 Cor. 1:27-28 (ESV), “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.”
History records for us the stories of men and women who would not stand out in a crowd, yet turned their world on its ear. For example: John Adams, Nathan Hale, Mary Draper, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, etc. Are we prepared to make a difference in our generation?
This initial devotional will deal with becoming Men of Courage. I will make note of five points that make for men of courage. First, real men recognize their disobedience and rebellion. Our culture has created a mindset that says that I’m not a bad person and that a loving God will overlook my sin. We have become a self-indulgent generation and choose to disobey God’s instructions. We must come to grips with this and acknowledge the fact that I, and I alone, am responsible for my actions and the sin that is a part of my life (unlike King Saul of old 1 Sam. 15).
Second, real men accept the consequences of disobeying God. God will chasten those whom He loves (Heb. 12:5-14). Our disobedience has consequences (Jms. 4:9; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; Ps. 32) that are often found in our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual lives. Symptoms that we try to explain away, but yet are very real, such as bitterness, discouragement, anger, jealousy, exhaustion, substance abuse, impatience, critical spirit, etc.
Third, real men understand that there is a time factor! The longer we choose to ignore the Lord, the more bad decisions we are going to make. As long as we continue to listen to ungodly advice and follow the wrong compass in our decision-making, the deeper into the quicksand we sink. There is a real danger of waiting too long. Paul told Timothy there was danger that our conscience would become seared, which means burned or insensitive to stimulus (1 Tim. 4:2). There is also the danger of settling for the good when you can have the best (Eph. 4:17-24).
Fourth, real men defeat the Arthur Fonzarelli syndrome. The Fonz couldn’t or wouldn’t say the words, “I was wrong.” We need to own up! Don’t make excuses or try to pass the buck. We need to fess up! This isn’t a pride issue (1 Jn. 2:15-16). We need to catch up! Don’t let things accumulate, keep short accounts. We need to give up! Surrender control of your life to the One Who holds all your days. We need to check up! Take a look at your daily habits and routines that may be setting you up for failure. We need to grow up! Start moving down the path to spiritual maturity in your relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to look up! Remember the principle of Mt. 25:21 and being faithful in the little things. God’s forgiveness is immediate. And we need to make up! Here we need to ignore Hollywood again and the words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, “never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.” A sincere apology may be in order; make it sincere and a reality.
Finally, real men are men who are after God’s own heart! Remember King David? He lived for 18 months thumbing his nose at God. What about his sin? After he repented, he was forgiven (2 Sam. 12:13). There were consequences, but God forgave him, and his life was turned around and counted for something once again. He was indeed, a man after God’s Own heart!
You can spend your life any way you like but you can only spend it once. Listen to the words of Joshua who led the people of Israel into the promised land. Joshua 24:15: (ESV) “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”