By Chris G
Sometime within the last week (during a sermon, I think), someone addressed the men in the audience, and I realized that he was talking to me. You might laugh or pull a joke out of that realization, but when I consider myself, I would call myself a "guy", a "brother", a "friend", but never really a "man". I'm no longer a boy, but in my mind, "men" are people like my father, pastors, the generation before me,...what I'll be when I grow up.
But I am grown up. Somewhere between high school, college, and now, it happened. Adolescence is over, and there is no detour before manhood. Our culture, though, is confused by the "adolescent-adult limbo" it is seeing in our generation (NPR). What does Scripture say about that? Is a life of video games, nights out, and other frivolities acceptable until the wedding bells toll? How does a man of our generation follow Christ in life and in relationships?
"Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." ~Titus 2:6-8 (ESV)
Self-controlled. A model of good works. Teaching. Integrity. Dignity. Sound speech. Cannot be condemned.
Woah! That's quite the roll call! Where do we even start? I guess, from the beginning... Self-control. How are we doing with entertainment, spending, lust, pornography, drinking, relationships, and life disciplines? I know I haven't arrived yet. How about you?
What about being a model of good works? Think of a poster with a rugged guy (errr...man) rockin' some North Face gear up a mountain. Now change the scene to a homeless shelter in south Dallas. Are you the man in the poster? Am I?
Teaching. Oh dear... Nearly all of us are sporting a capital "F" in this area of our report cards. Yet, we're not only supposed to be doing good works, but also teaching others about Christ & life following Him. *exhale*
Integrity. Dignity. Sound speech. How's your conversation these days? Can you swap the jokes you tell at work with the discussions you have at church or in your community group? Or would that be really awkward or embarrassing? Our mouths are scary tellers of where our hearts are, which isn't always very comforting...
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." ~Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." ~Luke 6:45 (NIV)
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." ~James 3:9-10 (NIV)
Cannot be condemned. We all have reputations. If everyone spoke publicly about yours, about mine, would we be condemned by how we live? How we speak? What we think? What we truly want? Yeah, take 5 on that one. And all of these tell and show the world who Jesus is, because we claim to follow Him...
In part 2, we'll look at who we are as men in relationships. Get ready.