Here are our assumptions.
- God does not favor a gender.
- He created us as male and female.
- God knows what He’s doing.
- He created us with purpose, with intentionality and we have unique roles to play.
So let’s look at man’s role, it’s actually pretty simple. Going back to the beginning…
Genesis 2: 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Men are created to work. This was before the fall – before we drove things off the rails. Part of our God given purpose is to work. To cultivate and give our energy to significant activity. We’re not designed to be lazy… and even if we become financially independent and don’t need to work for income, we should find things to do – that have meaning. That will be a blessing. Men are created to work.
Men are created to keep. This is the sense of maintain and protect. And we know this instinctively.
In 2012 in Aurora Colorado, a lone gunmen dressed in ballistic armor entered a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises… he popped two tear gas canisters and started shooting into the crowd. 3 men died protecting their girlfriends from the shooter, by literally covering their girlfriend’s bodies with their own.
The men died, all the girls lived, with injuries sustained from the bullets passing through the bodies of the boyfriends. They were universally recognized as heroes.
The Costa Concordia was a cruise ship that had mechanical issues and eventually started to sink. Eye witness accounts describe the panic that occurred when people were trying to get to the life boats… men were pushing past women and children, even pregnant women in an attempt to save their own lives. They were universally condemned for their actions and cowardice.
Men should never use violence and aggression to get what they want. Not through domestic abuse and not through being overly aggressive in a more normal argument. Men are created to keep and protect, not to steamroll people to get what we want…
Men are created for headship.
Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Headship is selfless, sacrificing and direction setting - Where men fill the purpose and design of men as the Bible has outlined it, humanity flourishes, and where men refuse to step into the space that men are called to fill, the world burns.
Matt Chandler says that, "Headship is the unique leadership of the man in the work of establishing and keeping order for human flourishing." He's right, that's a good definition.
Headship in the Home: As husbands we are called to love our wives – in a sacrificial way. Putting their needs above our own. Men are called to bring strength and perspective and spiritual direction in a way that honors and encourages the wife to be everything God made her to be.
As fathers, we are called to love and protect our kids. We’re called to teach them about life and to speak blessings over them daily. To speak the word of God into their lives in the morning and in the evening… to talk to them about things that matter when we go out and when we come in.
And like Jesus, if you don’t have a wife or children, you still have an amazing role of headship to play. By investing in relationships with the next generation. For Christ, this was the 12 disciples and they were the foundation of the early church. Be a coach, be a mentor… let your integrity and godly character be an incredible blessing to a younger person who needs you. As teenagers and young men, you have no idea how much kids a few years younger than you look up to you. Be generous, talk to them and encourage them… use the influence you have for good!
Headship in the Church: We do believe that elders should be men, because scripture is clear on that point – but I’ve heard people say that women should not be part of ministry. Ok, to sideline 50% of the church, with their gifts and calling and intelligence and perspective and incredible talents and wisdom – that is a terrible idea. We’re not doing that at the Surge. The elders here want every one of you to step fully into the calling and purpose God has for you. The eldership should never be harsh, even in the most difficult of circumstances… and our heart and act of service as elders is to do everything we can to give you encouragement and permission to be everything God created you to be.
Headship in Society: Imagine a world where instead of investing in plays for power, in selfish pursuit, in sexual conquest, in the mere accumulation of wealth… that men would be men as God intended. That instead of aggression and violence men would focus on creating new businesses and ideas and innovative ways to be a blessing in this generation. That the sideways energy of ISIS could be redirected to where God wants it to go. To take their passion and commitment and focus it on blessing instead of murder. If we could step into the role that the gospel intends for men… to remove passivity and spineless safety completely – how different would the world be?
If we as men, would step into the center of what God wants us to be –the impact we could have for good in this generation would be all but impossible to measure.
Men are created to model grace – when we mess up, like Adam we’re tempted to hide and to blame someone else… but there’s a better way. We can model grace.
If we mess up, have the heart to admit it, if you are overly harsh with family, stop it and confess to wrongdoing. Ask God for forgiveness and ask your spouse and children for forgiveness as well. Listen, we do the best we can, but we’re people and occasionally we’ll snap. What we do next matters. We can press into God’s love and forgiveness in those moments – and when we do – it will be a blessing to those we love.
Men are created to model Christ – we can look to Jesus as our example of how men should be. Consider a few examples of how Jesus related with women in the New Testament accounts.
Mary, the mother of Jesus - When Judas betrayed Christ, Jesus has 11 other men as a backstop to continue the leadership and birth of the early church. With Mary, the delivery system was a teenage girl – and there was no plan B. It says something about how God thinks about women doesn’t it? They can handle the important assignment.
Jesus with the woman and perfume – When people criticized her, Jesus told them to stop… and He honored her. He said that her story would be told wherever the gospel is preached. The gospel will be preached in every nation… and in all of those places, her wonderful story will be told.
Jesus with the woman caught in adultery – She was being bullied and humiliated in the worst, most public way possible, and Jesus puts Himself between her and her accusers. Nobody messes with the sister! What courage and greatness of heart! What a manly thing to do in the face of injustice.
Jesus with the woman at the well – Christ deals with her with innate dignity and respect… and before she cleans up or gets it right, He sends her out to be the first evangelist to the Samaritan people. The result? She brings her entire city to Him.
Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection – Mary’s story was one of deep suffering and demon possession. Her resume would go to the bottom of our pile. But she was trusted by God with the most important message ever delivered. HE IS NOT DEAD ANYMORE. She got the news first. And she was the one to bring this to Peter and John and the others.
In every case, Jesus works to show the love of God… and brings an incredible stance towards the women in His life. He puts women in their place… and that is a place of honor and incredible purpose and often as the lynch pin for the gospel being delivered to the rest of us. As men, from the perspective of gender, we need to take a lesson from the best.
So what does it mean to be man according to God’s purpose? We are called to work, to keep, to step into headship and God’s calling in our homes, in our work, in our churches… we’re to model grace – and to be a picture of Christ Himself in our attitude, in our words and in action. Jesus is our clearest and best example of manliness and if we can march toward this, the earth will be a much better place.