But here’s the secret, which Jordan doesn’t know…

These couple verses from the closing of Paul’s first letter to Corinth aren’t for him… they’re for me.

Have you ever had the experience where, for example, you’re hearing a great sermon in church, and all you can think about are the people you know who really need to hear this? You start coming up with ways to tell them so as eloquently as the pastor is now? You consider reserving a copy of the sermon tape to send to them? You take the tape home, listen to make sure it’s as good as you remember, get out your Bible to follow along, and without even knowing what happens, you suddenly come to the red-faced realization that, oops, this message is for you. Not Mom, not husband, not good friend going through a rough patch, you.

Heh heh. Yeah. And in this case, being caught “off my guard” in that respect gains a tinge of irony since here the very verse is preaching about being on my guard. I was more than happy to tell my own father how to “be a man,” and perfectly willing to raise my son to be one according to the Word.

But how, I wonder, did I intend to do so without living out the credo, making it my own? The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible comments upon the 1 Corinthians passage thusly: “[Paul] shows that they ought to make their hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that it rests with themselves.” Yes, and on how I am willing to live, or better, whether I am willing to let my life be of greater worth than my words.

The Commentary Critical adds: "’Be on your guard:’ for you are slumbering; ‘Stand’: for you are like men tottering; ‘In the faith,’ which was assailed by some; ‘Be men…be strong’: for you are effeminate; ‘Do everything in love,’ not with strifes as at present” (Language updated).

That’s a great reminder of all the ways the Church is starting to come back into understanding what it means to be a man of God. John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and Paul Coughlin's No More Christian Nice Guy, among others, have educated and inspired many regarding the forgotten masculine side of Christianity. There are whispers everywhere that men’s ministries are on the upswing.

I don’t know about the other guys out there, but it definitely helps me to have something to live by, something to recite, something to write on my heart, ponder the meaning of, and connect to other scriptures as I strive to be a man after God’s own heart. And it doesn’t hurt that this creed I now follow is affecting its third generation in my family.

So please allow me to recommend teaching your child – no matter how young – to recite a Bible verse that reflects who they can and should be in Christ, and make it real in their lives. But while you’re doing it, “be on your guard.” It may just become your own credo.