The other night, I was in my men’s bible study and I was struck by some things in the book of Colossians that I hadn’t really connect deeply with until then.
Here’s what Paul says in Colossians 3:12-14
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:12-14 ESV).
The qualities above Paul is discussing as if they are clothing, something we are to put on. When I looked at this list of “Clothing” we are to consciously put on, I realized that as men, these are hard things to clothe ourselves with. We men love strength, force, mighty works and not that these qualities aren’t strong, forceful or mighty, it’s just that as men we don’t normally think of the above qualities as “manly”.
I am a selfish being, compassion, kindness, meekness, patience and love are sometimes rare in my male heart. I don’t want to speak for all men, but it seems as I survey manhood, for many men, it seems that it is hard for us to be compassionate, kind, patient and loving and in many ways we look at these qualities as feminine.
This is not the case! Paul was a Dude’s dude, he had the snot beat out of him, he had been beaten by stones, shipwrecks and many other horrendous happenings. He had all these qualities and he was a Dude. The problem I think is our idea of these qualities. We look at them in ways that are feminine so we reject them.
I must say that the Western church has done much damage in feminising these qualities and has not properly taught masculine faith. Compassion is a deep move of one’s spirit that should cause one to rise up and desire to fight for justice. Compassion is not always the sad feeling one feels for poor people, it is deeper. It moves a person into action.
The same for kindness, it is a deep movement in one’s spirit that drives one to action. It comes off with nice actions but it is a deep movement of one’s being.
Patience and meekness as well, they are not these mushy gushy things we can sometimes portray them as. It takes a ton of guts to be patient and meek.
Humility for me is one that hurts to put on because I am naturally prideful. God has been challenging me deeply on my pride and really pointing out my nakedness where humility is concerned. One of the guys in the Bible Study the other night said: “Putting on humility is really a question of where is your confidence.” He went on to say that “Humility is confidence in God and Pride is confidence in yourself”. I fully agree and from a cultural standpoint, we men struggle with this because we’re taught that in order to be good men, we must put our confidence in ourselves and show people how confident we are in ourselves.
As men who desire to follow Jesus, we must become humble. We desperately need a generation of men putting their confidence in Christ rather than themselves. For too long we men have done our families and our church a disservice because we’ve been putting our confidence in ourselves and not God.
The clothes we’ve been putting on are not the clothes of the new self as laid down by Paul in Colossians 3. Rather, we’ve been living in the old self, relying on ourselves, caring only for ourselves and not the world outside of us and our families.
God is moving. His Spirit is calling men out. Will we be there to answer the call as Warriors for the Lord? Or will we sit back and think “someone else will take care of it”?
We can’t continue to abdicate our calling onto other people. We men must stand up and stand in the gap. We can be the changers, the movers and the makers of this great city by the Power of the Holy Spirit. We can be a part of the solution to the absentee Fathers in our city. We can stand in the gap and show these younger, fatherless young men what a man is really like. We can be men who deny the weak man on the corner and step up to model real Fatherhood, real Manhood!
I’m going to be doing a Biblical Manhood series for awhile starting this week. Please keep checking back and add your thoughts to the mix!