In his book Men’s Secret Wars, Patrick Means suggests three questions to help men identify whether or not they’ve moved beyond parental expectations. They are as follows:
1)Did my father communicate to me that I was loved?
2)Did he let me know he was pleased with who I am?
3)Was his blessing unconditional?
To me, Means’ last point is the most important. When as a parent you tell your son, ‘I love you if and when you do this or that,’ you’re putting conditions in place that could haunt him for the rest of his life.
The amazing thing about the grace of God is that you’re accepted with no strings attached. Christ took care of all the conditions. By embracing Christ, you’re freed from all your mistakes and shortfalls. But it also means you’re freed from your having to measure up to the false and unrealistic standards of others.
Consequently, you’re free to pursue your God-directed destiny’to follow your God-given dreams’knowing you have a loving Father who encourages you along the way. Every man was created by God to stand straight and tall, to look to God to find His true identity in Christ.
Are you interested in an insight that will increase your skill in living? Here it is: The content of the mind creates the character of the man. Think about it. Men who devote the lion’s share of their mental energy to the next toy they’re going to buy are materialists. A guy who’s always maneuvering himself into opportunities to impress others can be classified as a narcissist. Men dwelling on their next orgasmic experience can be described as hedonists.
I could go on, but I think the picture is coming into focus. My point, men, is this: the Bible clearly teaches that you are what you think. In other words, a man will take on the identity that reflects the preoccupations of his thoughts.
Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that we are influenced by the books we read, the people we associate with, and the dreams we have. Coach Holtz puts this fact of life very aptly. And Scripture says it even better. Listen to Proverbs 27:19: ‘As water reflects your face, so your mind shows what kind of person you are.’
Men, beginning today, I encourage you to seek to be more aware of what you’re thinking about, and how those thoughts reflect where you are in your walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Take good and honest stock of the situation. Then make the adjustments necessary to develop godly character.
Sure, Eve was the first to be deceived in the Garden of Eden. We’re told that in the Bible. But Adam, on the other hand, knew that eating the forbidden fruit was in direct contradiction to what and Adam did so anyway!
Through the millennia, Adam’s sons’that’s us, guys’have been just as rebellious. We’ve chosen our own way with a high-handedness and intensity far beyond that shown by most women. Do you doubt this? I invite you to consider just one illustration that demonstrates my point: crime. Who commits crimes at a far greater rate, men or women? Men do. And of the crimes committed by men and women, which group commits crimes of a much more violent nature? Again, men have a clear and decided edge.
I’m not saying men are greater sinners than women. I’m saying that sin affects men differently than it does women, and consequently, that sin expresses itself in ways that demonstrate that difference. My point is this: men tend to be more rebellious than women.
Now, lets translate this point into the dynamic of marriage. Men are more likely to get bored with the straight and narrow; to grow tired of submitting to the needs of their spouses; to demand having things their own way.
Men, know yourselves! Not in order to ‘fix’ yourselves. That’s impossible. But in order to identify areas in need of transformation by the grace of Jesus Christ.