Ours is a world of you do your thing, I’ll do mine. It has grown comfortable with accommodating and excusing evil, immorality and perversion that was scarcely imaginable just a few generations ago. Yet people feel smug and self-satisfied, convinced that such tolerance is a virtue.
God’s assessment of this age is evident in the personal message Jesus Christ sends to “the church of the Laodiceans” (Revelation 3:14-22). This is the final era of God’s Church, which exists right before Christ’s Second Coming. This is a time when truth has been cast to the ground (Daniel 8:12). Laodiceanism is the spirit of the age—a spiritual disease that permeates not only the majority of God’s people but also society as a whole.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot,” Christ says. “I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).
This spiritual wretchedness, accompanied by complacency and self-righteousness, deeply affects modern manhood. Many men are weak, effeminate, indeterminate, numbed by materialistic luxury and idleness, blanketed in a spirit of lukewarmness.
God wants men to be strong, masculine and on fire for the truth! God needs men who are burning with zeal. His Work needs men who are ardently devoted to God’s purpose. Children need fathers, and wives need husbands, who are keenly engaged in their daily lives, leading the way God ordained.
Be honest: To what degree have you allowed yourself to get weighed down by Satan’s world? To take comfort in complacency, to shrink back into unmanliness? To feed your own laziness, selfishness, smallness? Is the trajectory of your life really leading you to where God wants you to be?
Fight the Spirit of the Age
This world constantly encourages self-indulgence: Isn’t it time you take care of yourself? Take a break! You’ve worked hard. You deserve this! It’s in the commercials; it’s in our entertainment; it’s in our diets; it’s in our workplaces; it’s in our schools; it’s in our leadership—it’s in the air! It is a powerful and influential attitude that Satan broadcasts through the atmosphere around us: self-importance, self-promotion, self-serving, self-righteousness—selfishness!
The Western world is full of the spirit of contributing nothing. Rare are the men who make good things happen. Rare are the men who drive themselves to make a positive difference in others’ lives. We are surrounded by men who, at best, may be wealthy or intellectual, but who are spiritually wretched, miserable, impoverished, blind and naked!
Even we who are striving to be obedient to God tend to shrink back, to become complacent, to slip into ruts from time to time. We are tempted by the desire for “me” time—the allure of checking out of our responsibilities for a while.
If you are not fighting this spirit of corrupted manhood, you will succumb to it!
What counsel does God give the person afflicted by the attitude of rich, luxurious and spiritually destitute Laodicea? “[A]noint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:18).
We need to open our eyes to the gaping needs that are all around us, needs that have opened up because of the myriad voids of biblical manhood.
Those shortcomings must be met by godly men who see them and charge forward to fill them. Men who see the vision of what God created them to be. Men who recognize their own deficiencies, rely on His Spirit to fill the gap, then act to help others.
We need to see where our families need more of our presence and attention. We need to see where our congregations need more Christian manliness.
God says in verse 19 that if He loves us, He rebukes and chastens us. Many men wilt under even gentle correction—or promptly begin justifying themselves and deflecting blame onto others. The godly man embraces correction and zealously repents.
See Opportunities and Seize Them
Anoint your eyes, and you will see opportunities to express godly manhood all around you.
Consider Christ’s own example, which defines biblical manhood. Here is His perspective: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Christ’s life was short, limited in duration. He was urgent about taking full advantage of every moment and every interaction.
This is the unselfish attitude godly men must have: a vigilant urgency to take action and to work at serving others. You have to pay attention to other people’s lives and act on what you see.
You may look at tomorrow as just another routine day: Snag breakfast, endure the workday, unwind at home, watch a show, go to sleep. But Christ in you looks at tomorrow as a string of opportunities: What can I do? Who can I help? How much can I give?
Don’t underestimate the potential value of every decision, every encounter, every conversation you have. Recognize opportunities to give for what they are. You’ll probably have one as soon as you finish reading this chapter.
To follow Christ’s example and seize that opportunity, you must fight the pull of selfishness and relaxation and keep your eyes open to opportunities to fulfill your duties as a man!
The question is not whether you have a duty to serve others more than yourself. The question is whether you will fulfill your duty. The more you do, the more like God you will become, and the more habitual this Christ-like attitude will be. The more Christ-like you become, the more masculine you become.
Many of us intellectually understand and agree with the concept of male Christian leadership. But the harder step is to encounter a day-to-day routine occurrence and actively recognize: I need to use this moment—right now—to express biblical manhood!
It is easy to overlook those opportunities. It is also easy to underestimate the effect that YOU, reading these words right now, can have on other people’s lives.
Correcting the matter starts with anointing your eyes. Ask God to show you how to develop into a more dynamic and effective Christian leader.
A torrent of opportunities is coming at you. Helping your son with his math homework, approving your daughter’s new dress before she wears it, setting a household rule to unburden your wife, helping your neighbor fix his porch step, knocking out the reports nobody else wants to do at work, holding the door open for the mother of two children at the gas station, skipping the football game to visit an elderly member in your congregation, putting your phone away so you’re not distracted when playing with your children, noting something troubling in your teenager’s voice inflection and asking him about it, establishing etiquette and manners so dinnertime can be quality family time, choosing a topic to lead in conversation after Church services—the deluge of opportunities never ends. And Christ wants to empower you to fulfill those opportunities.
But before He can do so, you must be diligent enough to spot them for what they are.
Report for Duty
As a Christian father, you must remain alert as long as your children are under your authority. Even after they leave the home, you may still be able to, and should, exert regular positive influence—even with your grandchildren (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:9).
As a single, you are training for that duty right now by learning to pay attention to others, by learning how to treat women and children with honor, by dating honorably and learning to be attentive to the needs of single ladies, by striving to serve the widows and the fatherless. These responsibilities also remain after you marry.
In your conversations, look for needs. Ask about things you can help with or you can find someone else to help with. Find things you can pray about. Pay attention!
Here is a specific example of masculine leadership that arises regularly in a family: telling your children what to do. An engaged Christian father regularly issues instructions as he actively directs his children to do things that will benefit them and others. But it only starts there.
Once you tell your child to do something, you must then pay attention to the child’s attitude toward that instruction, and then to his performance. You cannot simply give an instruction, then return to what you were doing and forget what you said. Children, particularly if untrained, will often test the limits of your authority. If you give some direction and then return your full attention to what you were doing before, you are training your child not to be overly concerned about your commands. The child you just told to stop racing his car on the coffee table will go right back to it.
Once you give a command, remain on duty. Ensure the child follows through. This must be the case at home, in public, at Church services, everywhere. You simply cannot expect good results if you lose track of what you have instructed your child to do and fail to make sure the lesson sticks.
The duties of a man are constant. They require vigilance. They require you to work the works of Him that sent you, while you can. Be urgent. Recognize the onrushing river of opportunities for what it is. Seize each one. Let God’s influence come into other people’s lives through you. Express dynamic male leadership. Put biblical manhood into action!
God can do so much in your life through your manly role. He can make your home life enriching and wonderful. He can grant you a promotion at work. He can add purpose, spark and joy to the lives of the people around you. He can cause your wife to blossom emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. He can nourish your children or grandchildren into joyful, wise, enjoyable young people. He can make you a different man, your family a different family, and your work a different work!
But you must anoint your eyes. See where God wants to lead you, what He wants to make of you, and how He wants to bless others through you!