Last week I met a new friend in one of our training sessions who was from Kenya. His name is Pareyo (not sure if that’s how you spell it, but he did take on a new name after his baptism – William. And I do know how to spell that one.)
In his tribe, it is a custom that in order for a boy to enter into manhood, they must set out and kill a lion. With a spear. And he did. I’m not talking about this kind of lion. More like this kind of lion.
This immediately made me question my manhood, seeing as the biggest thing that I have killed in my life is my friend/boss’ plant at our office (Although I’m still convinced it wasn’t my fault. I’m pretty sure my brother-in-law/co-worker sabotaged it).
Not too much later, I overheard a conversation about worship songs and how some guys may have trouble wrapping their minds around some of them because they are super emotional, fall in love with Jesus type songs. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love Jesus, and fall more in love with him every day. But sometimes I feel as men we can be struck with passivity and apathy (and yes, I am included in that statement). We are Christians, we are called to lay down our lives and love others just like Jesus did… but is that it? Jesus calls me to be a wimp and not sin too much and just wait for Him to return?
It is very Biblical to lay down our lives (see Philippians 2, 1 John 3:16, Mark 10:43-45, and pretty much most of the Bible), but sometimes the result can be in laying down, we decide to not take a stand FOR things either. In my opinion the act of laying down our lives should be much more offensive than defensive. Jesus wasn’t pushed into the cross, He CHOSE the cross. Just like we should choose to sacrifice and lay our lives down because we know the purpose and goal behind it. Not taking a stand for anything easily leads into a lack of direction.
We feel unless there is one specific call placed on our lives, that we KNOW God has set for us specifically, then our job is to wait on Him until we receive that call. Sometimes we get so caught up with the question “God, what is your will for my life?” Instead, I think we should ask the question, “God, what is your WILL?” (Quote from Tim Keller – website plug here).
He has already given us His will. It’s all throughout scripture. Jesus emphasized it when He taught us how to pray. He says “Your (God’s) Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Our job is to bring His Kingdom to this earth. A kingdom of justice, and mercy, and love. A kingdom of hope, and grace, and peace. A kingdom where all nations, tribes, tongues are present, A kingdom where Jesus is LORD!
We can often settle for a gospel that goes like this, “Jesus died to save us from our sins, so we can spend eternity with Him in heaven.” That is GOOD NEWS. But then what? Do we just sit around, try to manage our sin and morality by keeping a good image and abstaining from the “bad sins”, and have some great community bubble we can take refuge in, and every once in a while tell our co-workers what we believe?
It’s good news that He died to save us even when we don’t deserve it. But it’s also good news that He is redeeming us, and He has plans to redeem this world, and wants to use US to do it. We have been commissioned to bring His kingdom to the earth. We are to live out the principles that He preached, and take a stand for what HE stands for.
Do you feel bored, or unchallenged in your faith? Or think that following Jesus is the opposite of manly? I have been there. But my mind is in the process of being renewed and transformed (and yes… it’s a life long process). There is a lot of work to do, and He allows us to fight for this coming Kingdom. How manly is that?
Let’s ask God to give us opportunities to lay down our lives, not defensively, but offensively as we try to advance His kingdom. What are some things you can do to advance God’s Kingdom today?
For something much more inspiring and eloquent, check out this clip from my pastor, Mark Connelly, from a sermon series he gave last year.
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