I just finished reading a book called “Wild at Heart” for the second time. The author, John Eldridge, speaks to a problem that we have in society and in the faith and I felt like Father’s Day was a good time to broach the subject. So a good deal of what I have to say today will be helping you to get a glimpse at what Mr. Eldridge points out.
A month ago we talked about God in odd terms. In honor of our mothers we spoke about the feminine side of God. We noticed that the word speaks about making man is God’s image, “male and female.”
We even talked about the fact that it is hard for many of us to think of God in the terms of being our parent, but here is an odd twist. As weird as it is for us to try and think of God in female terms I would argue that we also have trouble thinking of Jesus Christ in masculine terms.
Let’s look at the image that most of people think of when we think of Jesus.
When asked to describe Jesus many would describe him as we are shown in European paintings. He is shown as a frail willowy man who always kept his hair nice, who had gentle hands, always made sure that everyone around him was happy. He was peaceful and sweet to everyone.
When you ask men how a Christian man behaves these are the images that are conjured up.
· He always strives to get along with those around him.
· He always does what the Church says he should do.
· He must let people run over him in order to keep the peace.
· He never loses his temper.
· He would never go to war
Here’s the problem… that isn’t even close to how God appears to us in the scriptures or what Jesus showed through His life.
Jesus of Nazareth:
Was a carpenter, who worked with His hands every day.
Who hung out with fishermen, tax collectors / Gangsters, and prostitutes.
He took on two violent demon possessed men on purpose.
He stood before a crowd of people with stones in their hands prepared to kill and called them hypocrites, daring them to throw a stone.
He slept through a raging storm and when called upon to help stopped the storm with the command of His voice.
The Bible says of God
Exodus 15:3 The Lord is a Warrior; the Lord is His name.
34″Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Luke 12:49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Fathers I have to ask you a question.
If I were to invite you to a life of quiet solitude; always allowing people to do as they please so that you could get along. How appealing is that to you?
Let me put it this way…
Guys, would you rather hear your friends describe you as
“He’s a real sweet guy.” Or “Him, he is a dangerous Dude …I’m glad he’s on my side.”
Ladies, When you think of the ideal man what is more appealing to you?
“Really nice guy”, or A man who will fight for your honor, defend your home, and occasionally look at you with the stare of a hungry lion.
Gentlemen this is not a life for the week of heart is it? And yet there is this perception that what Jesus is asking men to do is to be submissive, passive, paper trained. “Really Nice Guys”
When a man asks himself what thrills his heart, believe me, being paper trained is not on the list.
Do you think God knows this?
We are made in His image. “Male and Female”
The God who made us in His image made every part of us. The one who loves us with the nurturing heart of a mother also created us with this sense of adventure, desire for strength, and a will to subdue the world.
In fact the three command instruction manual that came with this place (Earth) gave us 2 ‘Do’s’ and 1 ‘Don’t’:
Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.
…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
I don’t mean to be crass, but I honestly believe that if you look at this list of instructions you should not be surprised at what motivates a man.
· “Be fruitful”, ”Increase in Number”, “Fill the earth”: Multiply, make more people, be together
· “Subdue it”: Put things under your control, get things in order, be good stewards of what I gave you.
Men deal with simple list of instructions best. J
Wives and Children you would go a long way toward making your man happy if you could keep this list in mind.
That might be funny, but I am not kidding. Men long for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.
Men, this is not a God of submission to the will of earthly thing. The only thing you were built to submit to was God, and you and your wife where put together to submit to each other.
[Funny, that last sentence originally said: “The only thing you were built to submit to was God and your wife.” However true that might be, I sensed that might be abused later.]
When you conjure up an image of what God wants from the Christian man does he see us more in the image of Mother Teresa or does he seem more like William Wallace?
William Wallace, you might have heard, was the Scottish rebel leader during the Scottish war of independence. He was famous for the fact that he stood up; and for that, others stood behind him. During this time in Scottish history Scotland was the subject of British rule. Each year the rule of the British Kingdom became tougher and tougher as they sucked the life blood out of Scotland and returned nothing to people.
The Scottish Nobles of the day had no interest in stopping the mess because they were being paid off. They themselves where being given land and money to govern over the people of Scotland, so of course when the people were robbed, raped, beaten, and enslaved either the Nobles were blind to it or they were doing it.
His life was the subject of a movie made by Mel Gibson and in it we see what is meant by the spirit of a man.
So I ask you men, was Jesus more like Mother Teresa or William Wallace?
The answer depends on who you are when he finds you.
It appears that if you are a broken person looking for a way to break from you hurt. He is the loving nurturer we find in Mother Teresa.
If you are gangster who is tired of living a life of hurting, stealing, and killing. If you are looking for the truth at any cost. He is your welcoming loving mother or even your brother.
Even if you are a friend who has betrayed Him, but you come to Him for forgiveness, He will feed you and Love you as a mother would.
But if you are hurting God’s children, if you’re distorting God’s Love into something that you control and get to dole out, if you are turning God’s word into something to beat people with…William Wallace is a wimp comparatively speaking.
Wallace was famous for the fact that he stood up; and for that, others stood behind him. Jesus stood in the face of the religious right of His day and in that day no one stood behind Him. He hung on the cross alone.
Easy for God to be this brave though right? Case there is no risk for God. Wrong. You see from the moment that God gave His creation freedom of choice to Love Him or to go their own way He created risk.
4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5″Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
8″I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”[a]
10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
When given the choice to run from the fight Jesus chose to stand for you.
When given the choice to make puppets or to make a world of creations that could chose to Love Him or to walk away.
Even at that cost of a civil war in Heaven God granted the Angels the choice to rise against Him.
There is a great difference between stacking the game and knowing you’re going to win.
Because we know we will win, we will pay homage only to God and to His people.
Yes, Fight and we may die. Run, and we’ll live, at least a while.
And lying in our beds, many years from now, would we be willing to trade all the days from this day to that, for one chance, JUST ONE CHANCE!, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but…
They will never take…Our children’s hearts for Satan
They will never take…Our wives from you home
They will never take…Our freedom granted to us by Jesus Christ as He died on the Cross only to replace it with a list of rules that make into Good Boys.
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Men, it is up to us to show our home, our work, and each other that we are not following a milk toast wimp, but a Man. We must show them that we are not defined by a list of rules, but by a man who gave His life for us.
We must be prepared to do the same.