I was recently asked to speak at one of the events we’re doing over in Japan. This is actually completely out of my comfort zone.
However, not at all surprising. For about 2 years now God has been wrestling with me about speaking. I don’t feel the urge to be ordained and preach. However, there are topics such as worship and manhood that I firmly believe I could speak a lot of life into people with the help and grace of Jesus.
I was asked to speak about fear.
This is a very daunting topic domestically, let alone going across the pond and speaking about it in another country.
I completed this sermon recently and I wanted to share some of it with you. I believe there are anecdotes in here that are very applicable to a lot of us at the moment. I hope you enjoy:
A particularly harsh winter for us was in 2014. My son Carter and I, who was 4 years old at the time, were in our backyard. We had been playing in the enormous amount of snow that was dumped in Plainfield. We have a pond to the east of our house so naturally the land slopes down towards the water.
Carter and I were walking around the house by the pond to get over to the garage. About half way through our journey I looked back to see Carter walking in the huge footprints my boots had left in the snow.
After he had gained more strength and confidence he would venture out into the fresh snow where he would get stuck. I would pull him out and put his feet back into my footprints.
Then he would walk a little further gaining confidence and repeat the wandering and get stuck again. Every time this would happen I would pick him up and place him back into my footprints.
In order for Carter to move forward he had to walk in my footprints.
Nothing has taught me more about manhood outside of marriage than being a father.
My wife Amy & I have two beautiful boys Carter & Jack.
There is something so beautiful in this story. I firmly believe that so often we want to wander into uncharted territory. There is something about blazing your own path that is carnal, it emboldens us from a human perspective that can be dangerous though.
The path Jesus set for us not only allows us to live dangerously, but it also allows us to live in a way that far surpasses the laughable expectations our finite mind can imagine.
When I think about manhood with a global mindset, I can’t differentiate much. Manhood, culturally looks the same.
If we were to dissect the attributes of manhood culture to culture, race to race, man to man, it would look the same.
The two main components of manhood are respect and honor.
These two characteristics supersede and transcend literally everything else according to men. Think about the main thing that gain us respect and honor.
It’s what we do.
Put two men together and introduce them for the first time. Almost immediately after introductions the question that will ultimately be asked is, “so what do you do?”
If we don’t feel respected and honored then it’s so easy for us “men” to regress into complacency.
The world defines me as plenty of things.
A police officer, a worship leader, a businessman, and a professional basketball referee.
There is a pride that I carry in all of those things. I love all of those things. Also, I’ve used all of these platforms to introduce Jesus to all sorts of different people. It always seems the more I push, the more I invest time, the harder I work…the more I feel…
I feel success.
I feel pride.
I feel happiness.
But at what cost? My purpose?
There is a healthy pride in what we do as men.
We were created to cultivate.
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” -Genesis 3:19
Conventional wisdom tells you, you’re leading people to the Lord by succeeding in your career and putting time into it.”
These are good things.
But am I truly seeking the Lord in the midst of it?
Or am I gaining delight from all of these other things when my only delight should be gained from Him?
What am I fearful of?
The thing that causes me to have fear from allowing myself to do exactly what God wants to do in me is ME.
One of these days I won’t be a police officer. I won’t be a worship leader. I won’t be a businessman. I won’t be a professional basketball referee.
One day I’ll just be me. God’s son. Am I okay with just that title? Will I pursue God with the same ferocity that I pursue those titles?
Will I be faithful in the secret place the same way I am faithful in the spotlight?
Personally I’m terrified of having this conversation with God:
God, look at all of the great things I’ve done with my life. I was nice to people. I gave of my time and finances. And having Him look at me and say, “But you didn’t know me. You talked about me a lot. But you didn’t know me.”
So I challenge you dear friends.
One day you won’t be teachers.
You won’t be businessmen.
You won’t be referees and umpires.
You won’t be police officers.
You won’t be pastors…
You’ll just be God’s son.
And allow me to encourage you, you’re not always going to feel like pursuing Godly manhood.
This is a daily wrestle we must be engaged in.
We can’t choose to feel.
We can choose to wrestle.
The only possible way for any of this to take place is for us to allow God to define who we are so we can get out of our own way.
Just like my son Carter needed me to pick him up and place him back into my footprints so he could move forward, God so graciously does the same thing for us.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23
This is why God is who He is. He doesn’t change our path. He doesn’t fix it. He moves us back onto His path and makes us new.
I think often times we desire change or fixing. God isn’t in the fixing business. He is in the business of making us new. There is so much sovereignty in that truth.
There is so much to hang on to. There is so much more honor and respect from our Creator given to us by making us new rather than just fixing us as a broken person.
Walk with confidence men.
Walk with honor.
Walk with respect.
We are exactly who our Creator designed us to be.
Just follow His footprints.