Man Up - #2 - The Key to Male Greatness
There is no easy way in which to fix a broken relationship between a man and a woman. After 45 years of Biblical counseling with hundreds of couples I can tell you that quick fixes do not work. There is no general recipe for fixing a fractured relationship. For example, whenever a man or a woman commits adultery the nerve of the marriage is cut in two. Marital nerve damage can be severe and painful. Apart from God's intervention these marriages are usually doomed for divorce court.
In just about every case this axiom proves to be true - pride is the enemy of God. It is at the heart of the deadly sins.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV)
Note the progression of the deadly sins – it starts with pride that leads to liesthat leads to violence that leads to evil machinations that leads to an uptick in evil that leads to more lies that breeds disunity in the church and among family members.
Contrariwise, humility is the key to greatness and the conduit of God's grace.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:1-10, ESV)
Did you catch that? God “opposes the proud,” that is God treats as an enemy the proud! The greatest challenge facing a broken relationship is the kind of humility that is found in Jesus Christ. What is sad is that this kind of grace- building humility is rarely found in the American Christian man. Our pride forbids it. Our egos preclude it. Yet, if a marriage is to be salvaged this kind of humility is a prerequisite. Once again Jesus is the model for every man to see. The verses of this great hymn speak to the conscience of every man who desires to “man up.” Men, will you sing this ancient but always relevant hymn with me?
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11, ESV)
Suicide & Mental Illness: For many years Jonathan worked hard to live in the context of mental illness, but one day he could not bear another minute of life on this earth. Jon and Marian, Jonathan’s parents, share their son’s story in a way that offers help and hope, not only to men and women who struggle as Jonathan did, but to their family and friends as they struggle to pick up the shattered pieces of their own lives.