“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”Theodore Roosevelt
When you think of a man, what do you see? Who comes to mind?
In a day when the average male in America has spent 10,000 hours playing video games by age 21, we need to reconsider who and what a man is. Alvin Reid
When Apache leader Sitting Bull turned 12 years of age he had to spend a week in the wilderness to survive. Until recent animal protection laws came into play, Maasai warriors in Africa had to kill a lion with a spear.
As a youth Daniel was taken to pagan land, yet lived for his God no matter the cost. As youth David killed a lion and a bear; we go to the mall and build a bear.
Luther at 34 nailed 95 theses to a door and led a Reformation, while in the US the average age of a video game buyer is 37. It’s hard to lead a Reformation playing PS4.
One of the great challenges and thus an opportunity of student ministry is confronting the extended adolescence of young men today. A little historical context:
- 1951– Catcher in the Rye Salinger. One of the founding documents of American adolescence, Holden Caulfield demonstrates a troubled youth who never really grows up.
- 1954– Lord of the Flies by Nobel Laureate William Golding (1954). This allegorical novel uses a group of British schoolboys stranded on a deserted island to show the disastrous impact of youth left to themselves.
- 1955– Rebel Without a Cause hit the big screen with actor James Dean. It told the story of a rebellious teenager who came to a town, met a girl, disobeyed his parents, etc.
What MAKES a man?
In I Timothy 6:11. Paul says, “But you, man of God….” If you are a male and are saved, you are a man of God. We call this the indicative of our faith. You don’t strive to be a man of God in some vain hope that you may achieve it; you are by the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ in your life a man of God. So, be who you are. Study the Word, understand what characterizes a godly man, and be that.
In I Timothy 6:11, Paul is talking about a man of God. After telling Timothy he is this, he offers marks that demonstrate what a man of God looks like.
What MARKS a man?
1. FLEE: MEN REACT WISELY
One of the most courageous, manly acts you can do sometimes is to get out of dodge. Flee. The Bible always says to flee sexual sin, for instance.
2. RIGHTEOUSNESS: MEN TAKERESPONSIBILITY
A man of God takes responsibility for his life. We will never be perfect; even as we follow Christ we sin, and we fail. But we take responsibility both for our sin and for the opportunities God gives us. Men have a natural aggressiveness that must be channeled. Growing from boyhood to manhood means increasingly using PHYSICAL STRENGTH more passively and EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL strength more aggressively. It does not mean to be less aggressive. It means to channel that aggression toward the things of God. The church has too often told men to squelch their passion rather than helping them to channel it into godliness.
3. GODLINESS: MEN EMBRACE SPIRITUALITY
Jim Elliot, a champion wrestler, fine student, and gifted leader, said this in college: “He is no fool whogives that which he cannot keep, togain that which he cannot lose.” This prepared him for his martyrdom later. He sought to be a man of God rather than the path of least resistance.
4. FAITH: MEN ACT DECISIVELY
Great spiritual movements were led by men, imperfect men, but men who were decisive, who stepped out in faith. John Wesley: “Give me 100 MEN whofear nothing but Godand hate nothing but sin, … and I will storm the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God on earth.”
5. LOVE: MEN CARE PASSIONATELY
”God only had one son, and he made him a missionary”. –David Livingstone
Men love deeply and sacrifice greatly for those they love. Boys love themselves.
6. STEADFASTNESS: MEN RUN THE RACE WITH TENACITY
Men see the greater reward. They wait for future gain. This is why they treat their girlfriend with respect and protection physically.
7. GENTLENESS: MEN CAN RESPOND TENDERLY
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church,and gave Himself for her. Ephesians 5:25
Young men treat young ladies with respect to help them learn to do the same as husbands. To give more, sacrifice more, serve more, as Christ has done.
When a young man leaves your student ministry, may he look you in the eye and thank you for helping him live out the reality that he is a man of God.
Header image provided by Gratisography.