by Darren Lindblom
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Cor 16:13
The question I ask young men that elicits a “deer in the headlights” look most often is, “What is the key aspect of manhood?” For several years I worked with young men at the Air Force Academy. These men had achieved in their short lives a great deal: 4.0+ grade point averages, Eagle Scout awards, private pilot’s licenses, multiple foreign languages, among other things. They were our nation’s future leaders, full of vision, passion and dedication to make a difference in the world. Yet more often than not they had no idea how to answer this question.
When Paul addresses the church in Corinth he exhorts the spiritual leaders to act like men. What does that mean? Imagine a junior high drama class assuming roles for an upcoming play. The students assigned to be sheep assume the sheep role by behaving like a sheep, bleating, and so forth. The students assigned to be a tree each stand tall, with arms extended as they are told to act like a tree. But if a student is assigned to be a man… what would they act like?
It is important for men to have a clear and compelling answer to this question. In Genesis 1:28 the Lord gave a grand mandate: to rule and subdue, to be fruitful and multiply. He has entrusted to us the great responsibility of caring for, nurturing and ruling over what He created. God entrusts to us very real and significant authority, but the fall created a tendency to either abuse or abdicate our responsibility. Today more than ever I see men shrinking back, being passive and timid. Acting like a man has at its core the distinctive of assuming responsibility.
Men need a purpose, and God has provided a great purpose. It’s in our DNA to assume responsibility for it. What a great privilege! We live in a fallen and broken world which means our work and ability to respond has a curse on it. Genesis 3:17-19 records that our work will be toilsome but it’s important to realize that work is not the curse. The curse is that our work will encounter resistance. But in Christ we can overcome and see our fallen nature redeemed.
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Col 1:28-29
In Christ, as we act like men, we can take on responsibility with the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Here Paul gives us an example of working hard. He is toiling and struggling to do the work entrusted to him, but he describes an incredible truth about the power of Christ in us as men. In his struggle, he functioned with all the energy that the Lord was powerfully working in him.
If you are a child of God, you have access to that same power to assume responsibility for what has been entrusted to you. Our Savior assumed the responsibility of laying His life down for us. During His last days on earth, just prior to willingly going to the cross for us, He cried out to His Father.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”- Matt 26:39.
Jesus acknowledged how hard this was. By submitting to God’s will, He fulfilled one of the greatest responsibilities ever completed.
Over the years, I have experienced firsthand the struggle to assume responsibility. There is in me a propensity to avoid, shrink back, even to roll over and go back to sleep. “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.” Proverbs 26:14. I’ve related with enough men to know that I am not alone in this struggle. Let me encourage you to resist passivity, stand firm, and assume responsibility for what God has entrusted to you as men. Do not abdicate your responsibilities as a man. Choose to act like a man! You can be strong with His power working within you. The incredible influence of a man leading responsibly in his work, his home, his church and his community will affect and change our culture and impact generations.
Let us look to Jesus as our model. Let us fix our eyes on Him, who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”, Heb 12:2. Jesus is our greatest example of acting like a man by assuming the responsibility set before Him.
Questions to consider:
- What responsibility do you have that is the most difficult for you?
- What passages of Scripture and examples of the life of Jesus inspire you to “act like a man”?
- How will you demonstrate humble dependency on Christ as you grow in this area of your life?
Consider your responsibilities. Write out the top 3 things you are responsible for in this season of your life. Then act like a man, and assume that responsibility with the power of Christ in you.