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MB #050: The True Measure of a Man

mission briefing Feb 25, 2024

Hey y’all

I’m trying out a new email service called Beehiiv for the email newsletter this week. Would love any feedback on readability, format, and specifically whether it got kicked to your promotions tab vs. the main inbox via an email reply.

 

In a culture that is clearly on a misguided quest to figure out this masculinity thing - I thought it would be important to share with this group of dads today about where we find the answer to what our standard should be as a man. I also have some exciting news below about an upcoming workshop on hearing God's voice.

Many of you might not know this about me, but God has asked me over the last number of years to spend a good chunk of my week engaged in “ministry” work. Since October, I’ve been working alongside Jon Tyson and Jeff Bethke to help bring amazing content and resources to the Church in the area of discipleship for men and boys. So, I’m talking with pastors every single day about how we can partner to see the fruit of Biblical masculinity grow exponentially in their local body.

After thinking about this topic for the last 12 years while leading, training, and discipling men, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are really two key places we should be taking our cues from when it comes to learning our target for manhood. Those are the life of Jesus and the teachings of Paul.

When it comes to the life of Jesus, I think the 5 shifts that Jon wrote about in his book The Intentional Father, and in the curriculum we provide, called The Primal Path, are a great place to start. So let me outline my thoughts on each of these shifts briefly before we move on to the writings of The Apostle Paul.

  1. From Ease to Difficulty: The Christian life is not promised to be easy, and it is through enduring hardships that our character is forged. Jesus exemplified perseverance through His life and ministry, teaching us that true strength lies in steadfastness and faith amidst trials. Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 regarding your level of perseverance and steadiness.

  2. From Self to Others: At the core of Jesus' teachings is the call to selflessness. He lived a life of sacrifice and humility, showing us that the essence of biblical masculinity involves prioritizing others and embracing servant leadership. This was exemplified in the most profound way possible on the cross. Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 regarding your level of selflessness and others-centeredness.

  3. From Whole to a Part: Recognizing that our lives are but a thread in the tapestry of God’s grand narrative invites humility and purpose. Jesus understood His role in God's story, urging us to see beyond our immediate selves to the eternal impact we are called to make. The Bible is a grand story of the Kingdom of God. Even your individual salvation is only a part of that story about a coming king and his kingdom. Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 regarding your level of consistency in your awareness that you’re not the orbiting point of your life.

  4. From Control to Surrender: Surrendering to God's will is a profound act of faith and spirit-led strength. Jesus' surrender to the Father's will, even unto death, exemplifies the paradoxical truth that in giving up control, we gain true life. Jesus said that those who aim to save their life will lose it and those who lose it for his sake will gain it. Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 regarding your level of surrender. Is there anything you’re still holding tightly to?

  5. From the Temporary to the Eternal: The temporary pleasures and pursuits of this world pale in comparison to the glory of God's eternal kingdom. Jesus lived with an eternal perspective, guiding us to value what is everlasting over the fleeting. The Bible talks about rewards in heaven - we’re not just receiving eternal life to spend our time in boredom floating on a cloud with a harp. God is restoring all things - the heavens, the earth, our physical bodies, etc. We will spend eternity doing things in God's presence and enjoying the rewards we’ve earned through a faithful life. (2 Cor. 5:10) Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 regarding your level of consistency of awareness of things eternal throughout your day.

Next, let’s take a look at what Paul had to say…

Paul starts us out in 1 Timothy 3 by highlighting that it is noble and good to aspire to qualify as an elder. In my opinion, this is an invitation to all men to order their lives according to the standards Paul lays out, which are simply a further look at many of the standards we see in the life of Christ.

Why do I believe this? Elders in scripture are to be responsible for the Church and all through the New Testament were appointed, not self-selected. This is to say that those men who best exemplify meeting the standard of a Biblical man seen in Christ, and exemplify that they have what it takes to shepherd a flock, will be confirmed by the Spirit and tapped on the shoulder to take on the responsibility. Let’s do a cursory look at 1 Timothy 3’s standards which I’ve condensed into 4 categories:

  1. Personal Integrity and Discipline: The key to biblical manhood is integrity - doing what’s right even when no one will know any different. Encompassing integrity is marital fidelity, sober-mindedness, self-control, and discipline. Having a whiskey and cigar night here and there is totally within reason - being seen in every setting after 5 pm with a drink (even if it’s only 1 or 2) is evidence of a gap in self-control. The goal is not to only be mastered a little bit...the ultimate goal is to be someone who is mastered by nothing. These traits are essential for a life that honors God and provokes respect from others. Discipline also includes stewardship of your body - limiting your food intake, making healthy choices, sleeping enough, and exercising well. Barring medically verified disease or bodily malfunction, being excessively overweight is evidence of either the sin of lacking self-control in eating or a lack of good stewardship through healthy food choices and exercise. Now that's not to bring condemnation - this sin isn't "worse" than others, it just happens to be the topic of this section and it’s something most of us need growth in.

  2. Hospitality and Teaching: A true leader is marked by hospitality - a desire to open their home regularly, and give of time, space, and stuff to show honor to others. Additionally, 1 Timothy isn’t saying that you must be a charismatic and dynamic communicator to meet the standards of Biblical masculinity. It’s asking men to know the Word of God, to be clear on orthodoxy, and to be able to lead others down the straight and narrow path to life. This should start in our home with our wife and children and only extend beyond our home when that is consistent. 

  3. Emotional and Financial Stewardship: Emotional maturity and financial stewardship are vital aspects of a godly man's life. Being neither quick-tempered nor a lover of money, he reflects Christ's leadership and care for others. What comes out of us under stress and pressure is the true condition of our innermost being. Note that it’s the “love of money” which is the “root” of all evil. This is not to say that money is evil. The scriptures imply another standard for men and that is to leave an inheritance for your children’s children. (Proverbs 13:22)

  4. Family Management and Community Reputation: Managing one's household well and maintaining a good reputation outside the church is critical. They signify a life well-lived in adherence to God’s principles and ways. 1 Timothy 3:5 and Proverbs 31 highlight the way that a household should be managed well by a husband and operated well by a wife. Together they bring fruitfulness to the home. If a man is unable to sort out how to do this alongside his wife, he has not yet reached the standard.

Take a moment and give yourself a 1-10 rating for each of the following: Integrity, General Discipline, Discipline Related To Fitness & Health, Hospitality, Teaching, Emotional Stability, Financial Stewardship, Family Management, and Community Reputation.

Gents, these are many of the standards. Our culture is shouting at us from both sides of the aisle saying on one side that masculinity is a social construct and on the other that a “real man” shoots guns, smokes meat, and drives a truck. Both sides of the spectrum are filled with sin and brokenness and will continue to perpetuate the challenges we have in our society, until men like us take responsibility, raise a standard, and fight for what is good true, and noble.

Until next week…

Continue Forging Strength & Refining Soul,

-Chris

 

PS: Here are a couple of important announcements

  1. I’m almost done writing the upcoming workshop called ‘The Voice of the King’ which is a comprehensive deep dive into the topic of hearing God’s voice. This will be Biblically sound, super-practical, and open up a whole new world for a lot of you! If this is something you’re interested in, click here, and I’ll shoot you details for the workshop when it’s ready!

  2. If the above newsletter is convicting or you’re seeing gaps in your own life that you’d like to close - there is no condemnation! We are ALL trying to close gaps. Some gaps just happen to be bigger than others. If you’d like 30 minutes of free coaching and/or spiritual direction to discuss how to close those gaps, and are willing in exchange to give me the next 30 minutes to ask you some questions as I finish building out other workshops, fill out this quick form and schedule some time!