Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
Part 3 – The Challenge, Pursuit of a Godly Man
Leading up to Father’s Day, we want to have an honest conversation about what it means to be a man in today’s world. Even more than that, we want to talk about what it means to be a godly man. Rather than feeling like a fraud this Father’s Day, let’s challenge ourselves to stop hiding in the shadows and jump with both feet into the pursuit of something different, something special, something that will change our families for generations.
When I was around five years old, I remember running around the house wearing my very own terrycloth cape. Two corners of the towel were attached around my neck with a big diaper pin. I made punching motions, jumped off the arm of the couch, and imagined flying around, looking for bad guys to defeat and people to rescue. Throughout time, kids have pretended they had enormous power so they could do amazing things. I believe this is the way we were created. This instinct, however, has often been perverted into “I want to have enormous power so I can get what I want at everyone else’s expense.” This kind of powerful man is to be profoundly mistrusted and feared. In the context of a super hero story, this is the very definition of the “Bad Guy.” Many bad guys have used their power to harm others and serve only themselves, so our culture has come to fear all powerful men. Though understandable, that is a tragic over-swing. We need fewer reckless, narcissistic, and immature men. We need more men who are powerful and use their power for the good of the people around them, ultimately being good representatives for God, who is powerful and good.
Perhaps you were taught as a boy to never use or even want power. If that is the case, things have gone far beyond the manufacturer’s specifications. There are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole boys are created for adventure. If we tell them they are not, they will sneak off and start fires with a magnifying glass, make a light saber out of a yard stick, and watch super hero movie marathons. If we tell them they can’t, they will bottle it all up until they recklessly burst and do something dumb and pointless, then the cycle begins again.
If you are a reckless, self-serving male, there is healing ahead for you. You can find purpose far beyond self-pleasure. If you have been shamed and trained into passivity, you can also find healing. You were meant to do significant things—things God determined before the planet was formed. To Rescue and Protect are two things you were made to do. Men take care of others. Every man should know that:
- Bad guys/bad institutions/harmful systems need to be fought
- Victims need to be rescued
- Innocents need to be protected
- Good guys need to be ready to fight well
When Jesus was ready to begin His ministry, He launched it publicly by reading in the synagogue from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. This section is a prophecy, a description of the coming Messiah—the one sent by God. This scene is recorded in Luke 4:18–19.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18–19 (NIV)
This is the job description of the prophesied Messiah, and Jesus said, “It’s me.” Jesus came to comfort, free captives, give direction to the lost, and care for those who are powerless. This is also our calling as Christians. We are to be always more like Christ. We are all made to rescue and protect, so I suggest we train for that goal. Here are a few suggestions on things we can do to launch into a life that is marked by the desire to rescue and protect.
- Men should feel like they have power to alter things in this world for the better.
- Men should look for opportunities to take action in helping others.
- Men should see life in terms of helping others so they will be free to love God, as opposed to a life focused solely on success and self-gratification.
This is not stuff for you to rush out and start doing right away. This is stuff to talk to mature men about. You need to learn how they operate when they do take action, how they restrain themselves when they should not act, and how they know the difference between the two. Throughout history, men have sat around fire pits or hunted or built things while they talked to the younger men, instructing them on the important things of life and how to pursue them. It’s complicated, and it takes lots of time and perhaps lots of fishing or grilling or numerous cups of coffee. This is the way manhood is transferred.
Time and relationship: these are the price you must be willing to pay for godly manhood. It is a bargain. When you grow into a mature and godly man yourself, then you can buy a young man some coffee—for a few years, because this guy just starting out needs to be rescued from his selfishness or self-loathing, too. That will be your job one day. Godly men rescue and protect.
Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through high school graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.
Dave and his wife of 30 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school and recently became grandparents for the first time. They are completely in love with this new member of their family. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures, and he would love to connect with you!