It was October 4th, 1997, on The Mall in Washington D.C. – I was one of over a million men attending Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap event. We listened to some of the nation’s top preachers & teachers challenge us on the many fronts of manhood; we heard of Jesus’ example of loving selflessly and sacrificially and were challenged to love our wives in the same way; we sang in force, “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “As for Me and My House” and other hymns; we were on our knees with billfolds open to pictures of our family, praying for them; and we were encouraged and equipped in the word of God to Stand in the Gap for marriage and family, and for the Church. That was the first time I had heard with such clarity what it meant to be a man.
To put an exclamation point on the experience, the Lord worked through a stewardess on the flight returning a plane load of men to Houston early on October 5th, almost all of whom had been on The Mall the day before. After the safety briefing, the stewardess said, “Men, I know y’all received a lot of negative press for the gathering on The Mall yesterday. But I want you to know that we women love you, we love what you are doing and pray that you will keep on doing it!” Applause and Amens erupted. Then she made a request, “Would you please sing, ‘As for Me and My House, We will Serve the Lord’?” We sang, the plane took off, the pilot prayed over breakfast and I thought the flight might just keep going up to Heaven.
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” - Ezekiel 22:30. Today there are many men standing in the gap thanks to the Lord working through organizations such as Promise Keepers, Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity, spinoffs such as Men’s Life, That Man Is You and other men’s ministry initiatives in and beside the Church. Yet, the status quo still reflects much confusion around manhood. The challenge before us is to be manly, to stand in the gap and lead by example. Below are tips built around Robert Lewis’ definition of Biblical manhood as conveyed in his book, Raising a Modern Day Knight and the study, Quest for Authentic Manhood.
Tips to Be Manly:
- Reject passivity – do not tolerate the serpents in your life. Turn from temptations and turn to Christ. If Adam had rejected passivity as soon as the serpent started talking, we would not have experienced separation from God;
- Accept responsibility – complete whatever education is needed, get a job, get married and have children – in that order;
- Lead courageously – live life with the right priorities. Keep eyes focused on a growing, personal and passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ, live that relationship in marriage and reflect it in family, the Church and beyond.
- Invest eternally – Be engaged in raising a godly generation and keep an eternal perspective in this temporal world.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for men you have lifted up on the battlefront for manhood that have impacted my journey – Bill McCartney, Ken Canfield, Robert Lewis and Dave Peterson to name a few. These are men of You that have always pointed to You and Your word, not to themselves. Keep me under Your word and Your love on this journey of becoming the man, husband and father You expect me to be. Amen.
A faithful father is a manly man that rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and invests eternally.