E3_Iam2nd_BrianSumner_10132009_TC_3817_EditMan up, what does that even mean?

We live in a world of pace, fast times, and an ever changing society that bombards you with the next best thing to accomplish your dreams. Six pack abs, the right outfit, and a job that serves you best.

But what did God intend for us as men? What does it look like to “man up” on God’s terms?

For 24 years I did not know Jesus. I was raised in a loving home with parents who stayed together and by a dad who is still a hero of mine. But I wonder, at the age of 35, do I now have a good grasp of the role of being a man?

1. The beginning

Hundreds of blogs define how to be a “successful man”, “super dad”, or how to “accomplish your dreams”. But none of this really matters. We are missing that before all of this, God places us as men to represent God for all eternity. The first point, though it may seem simple, is this one question. Is God really first in our lives? In our homes, marriages, families, work, sports, when we’re alone, and most importantly, as Savior of the world?

If we don’t know why we were created, then even our best efforts to “man up” will be in vain.

2. Work

As men, what are we here to do? If I ask you why you bought that drill, what would you say? To drill. Or for myself, as a skateboarder, what good is a skateboard if it is not being skated? A guitar if not being played? A boat if not being sailed? Paul notes in his letter to the Ephesians, that as men, we are God’s workmanship. And if we are not walking in sync with this, just like a drill, skateboard or guitar, we are simply acquiring dust.

I know how difficult life can be. People put expectations on us. We put expectations on ourselves. But Jesus has given us a path to walk down and we work for Him.

3. Her Husband.

Are we ever ready to be a husband? All the expectations we see through films, books, and other sources of media exhaust us. At the age of nineteen, I was married and did not understand marriage at all. Seventeen years later and marriage seems like it somewhat makes sense now. What I do know and will tell you, is we don’t have it all together. God didn’t place us with our wives because we make the perfect match, but because through this we are perfected. Marriage is one of the ways God grows us. What we see in the beginning of the Bible is that the wife comes alongside as man’s helper.  God brought one woman to Adam and has one woman, Tracy, in mind for me. We become one, and now daily, whatever we my face, I can trust that God made the right decision in uniting us.

As husbands, we get to come alongside this woman, who God is at work in, and partake of being used in that process. Its not easy. Through marriage two humans are brought together with the purpose of serving God, one another, and others. I am confident God will do mighty things in us, as men, as we love our wives first.

4. Dad.

As a father of three, possibly soon, a fourth, God willing, can I confess something to you? For all the time I am traveling, there isn’t a moment I don’t wish I was doing things better. As a skateboarder, everything is about perfection. But as a father, how imperfectly I am doing things stands out all the more to me. God has given me these little humans to love, lead, and direct. Wow, I can sometimes feel overwhelmed. But it is this reminder that keeps me going: We can do many things in our lives. We can achieve this and accomplish that, but only we can be our children’s father.

As a father I have had to learn what makes their wheels turn and where their focus goes. I get involved in what they do whether it is baseball, surfing, skating, drawing, or reading their Bible. If we will make the time to relate to them, we will succeed in the biggest area are that so many kids are lacking in today: feeling loved and wanted.

5. To Serve.

Of all the things we may tell our kids, our overall character and drive will be who they view us as. We have to “man up” and accept the responsibility to serve as our daily purpose. After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, and headed off to call his first disciples. What did he say? Jesus approaches four fishermen: Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James, and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee. He says “I will show you how to fish for men.” They left their boats, nets, and the others. And on their way they followed Jesus. The fact that these men left their family business amazes me. Why would they do this? Because they loved Jesus. He came to serve and now we continue where he left off.

As husbands, dads, bosses, employees, students, family members, friends, or whatever we may be, we need to make sure we don’t miss the joy of walking with Jesus daily. We are given the opportunity to leave a legacy of putting God first in our lives. We live in a dying world where Al Bundy, Homer Simpson and Christian Grey are becoming the standard for men, why not live otherwise? Man up!