Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
— 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
America needs a return of masculine Christianity in the church – the whole church, as Paul writes to both men and women in these verses. In this week’s devotional, we’ll clarify what masucline Christianity means, why we need it for revival, and what you can do about it.
What does the Holy Spirit have in mind by commanding all believers to “act like men?” The context helps us understand the meaning, as usual. Acting like men means that one “stands firm in faith;” we guard our convictions, like a soldier, not giving ground because people or evil spirits oppose us. Acting like men requires strength; like an athlete, power and endurance undergird our lives to seek God day and night and to advance God’s ways against the powers of darkness. Acting like men means that “all that you do be done in love.” Love is not only a feminine characteristic.
Many voices in our society are attacking masculinity as the cause of oppression and enduring problems. It is true that men have sometimes abused their positions of power and influence. The church should condemn pride, arrogance, brutality, and oppression, but we must not abandon God’s vision of masculinity. Unfortunately, even the church diminishes masculinity, projecting misguided expectations of Christian leaders. Pastors should not seek to be the nicest guy in town or primarily a comforting counselor. Instead, vocational Christian leaders should be known for spiritual strength, acts of courage, and immovable conviction to live out and call others to the standards of God’s word.
This is why we need a return of masculinity for the sake of revival. Many Christian leaders are afraid to call people to repent of their sins and turn to God in scriptural obedience. They fear being seen as domineering or demanding. They worry that they will not be liked, that they will lose friends, and that their churches and ministries will shrink or die altogether. We need vocational and lay leaders modeled after men like Moses, David, and our Lord Jesus
God’s image exists in masculine and feminine traits (Genesis 1:27). Jesus Himself embodied the full image of God in one person. Yet, many people wrongly envision only the gentle aspects of Jesus’ character. He was also brave, confrontational, and sacrificially loving. The Lord excoriated the opponents of God, exposing their sin, calling them to repent, and warning others not to follow them (e.g., Matthew 23:1-39). Jesus even upbraided His disciples for their lack of faith (e.g., Matthew 17:17). Our Savior endured the scorn, shame, and agonies of crucifixion. Even though no one recognized it at the moment, Good Friday saw the greatest act of self-giving love ever known.
What can we do to restore God’s version of masculinity in the church? First, we pray for it. Second, we can beef up our own spiritual fortitude. We can stop permitting sin in our lives and in our brothers and sisters. We can challenge unbiblical ways in the church and the culture. We can call others to repent and live a life pleasing to God. We can speak plainly about the temporal and eternal judgments for those who disobey God.
Dear Father, restore Your kind of masculinity to all Christians – men and women, especially to vocational Christian leaders. Give us the boldness of the first Christians, who unashamedly declared Your truth. They possessed such boldness because of the filling of Your Spirit. Forgive us for grieving the Spirit. Let us be filled with the Spirit at all times that we can “act like men” and advance Your purposes. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
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