Having stated in last month’s Spiritual Notes that there are wimps around, we need to be brave enough to admit that the church has, in various ways, contributed to this problem. We have failed men, by creating the impression that being a Christian man means being a wimp. In this article we intend to look at three ways where this has happened. There are no doubt other issues, but these three will hopefully make us to be thoughtful about how we “do church”.
Distorted view of Jesus.
Look at the role models men have and we soon realise that they are not “wimpish”. However, this is often just the image we present of our role model; Jesus. We present a feminised version of our LORD. He is seen as a weak man who would not say “boo-to-a-goose”. Rightly we have presented Him as the true gentleman who took children into His arms. However, we have failed to present Him as the mighty conqueror. As an example let us read these words concerning our LORD.
With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16)
This is one portrayal of our Saviour. He will never fall wimpishly and acquiesce to the demands of His enemies. Rather He is the victor; every knee shall bow at His Name (see Phil. 2:10). This leads us to consider Him as the great eternal judge. In the sovereign arrangements of God, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son. (John 5:22). Hence we see our LORD Jesus as the Mighty One in Revelation 20 sat on the Great White Throne. He decides the eternal fate of all; He is no wimp.
Let us then get right views of our great Lord and God. This is so important because the essence of being a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. For men there is no attraction in signing up to follow a man who is a wimp. But when we accurately portray the mighty conquering LORD then the response is very different.
Self-evidently warfare is not for wimps. To be fit to be a soldier we have to be highly trained, committed and willing to risk all for the cause. And one of the images used in the New Testament for living the Christian life is that of spiritual warfare. Paul tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). In the ensuing verses he tells us of the armour that we need to engage in this warfare. Paul also exhorts Timothy to join with me in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:3).
Sadly, we can give the impression to people that if they become Christians then life will be easy from here-on-in with little or no difficulties. Such sentiments are denied by the clear teaching of Scripture. Experience also teaches us that there are many battles to fight in living for Christ. The imagery from the Old Testament substantiates the warfare view of the Christian life. Read the book of Joshua and see how much fighting had to be undertaken in order Israel to come to possess that which God had promised to them.
Accurately portraying Christianity as being a religion where we war against all the enemies of God is something that draws men. This is because men naturally have aggressive tendencies and they are ready for a challenge. What better way to release these energies than fighting the good fight of the faith (1Tim. 6:12).
Men are task orientated and gain satisfaction in achieving goals. In the New Testament God sets Himself to be the One who is working to achieve things for His own glory. Our Saviour, for example, said that I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matt. 16:18). Also, we notice that when the LORD sent the seventy out in Luke 10:1-17 he gave them certain duties to fulfill. Then there is the great commission itself: He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). All these are goals that God sets Himself to accomplish.
Remember, as well, Paul was told by the LORD concerning his ministry in Corinth “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).Consequent upon this, Paul was spurred to engage in eighteen months of ministry in Corinth. He had a goal to accomplish for God and He served God diligently with that end in view.
All of this teaches us that God is continually giving big missions to His people. And it is men who primarily are galvanized by these goals. In the Scripture it is the men who have these goals set before them as a general rule. And as these goals are understood and reached for by the men then the women gladly follow their lead. It is always presented as a wrong order to have the women leading into battle.
Too easily in churches we have settled down into cosy maintenance mode with no thought of praying for and grasping what God wants us to move forward to. In such situations men can find themselves to be lost as regards to how they fit in. Our God is a God who thinks big and when we start to think big as churches then we will see men “buying in” to what we are about.
When men start to drop out from church because there is nothing for them, then it is the ladies who have to step in to fill the leadership vacuum. In such a context when men come into church they feel “turned off” by the whole atmosphere. Men are equipped by God to be the leaders and risk takers. If they see no avenue for their energies to be directed then they drift away feeling there is nothing for them.
So we need men to be raised up too lead in the church. In such a situation the women feel comfortable because there is an innate longing in the female psyche for the man to fulfill his headship. We should not be surprised at this because in the family it is the husband / father who is the head (see Eph. 5:25-33). Accordingly in God’s spiritual family, the church, the same necessarily applies.
Let us as a church then take heed to making sure that we are aware of how God would want us to be organising ourselves particularly in view of the need to have men making progress for Christ among us.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter from May 2009)