The last few days the role of men in our culture has been on my mind a lot. I’ve been thinking about the general passivity and laziness that personifies so many men in our country, and even thinking back to middle and high school where it became cool for us as boys to be lazy or passive–to not take responsibility, to not do schoolwork, to not care. This article I read the other day hit me hard and I thought it worth sharing a portion of it. May God continue to convict and pursue men in our culture, to take pleasure-driven narcissists and turn them into self-sacrificing pillars of strength.
We face all the same temptations as lost men. Our flesh pulls at us to compromise our marriages, to take our sacrificial wives lightly, to ignore our children in order to play golf or get more successful or have more fun, to flirt with the cute girl when traveling, to speak ill of marriage, to generally not live sacrificially in the image of Jesus Christ and spend ourselves for the betterment of those God has entrusted us (Ephesians 5). Our flesh encourages us to allow small temptations to grow into strong desires, then to usher those desires into daring actions, then to allow those actions to blossom into patterns of sin that will, when discovered, blow our families and churches apart.
But the gospel, praise God, is stronger. The power of God is inside us, enabling men to exchange the role of pleasure-driven narcissist for that of self-sacrificing pillar of strength. The power of God is at work in his local church, where sinful men find fellowship in the company of brothers who bear the same weaknesses but through the power of the Spirit stand as oaks of righteousness. Instead of comparing black book conquests and planning the next hedonistic plunge, these men link arms to kill sin, love their families, and propel the church’s witness. Whether in a massive church or a tiny one, this band of brothers provides an awesome witness to a fallen world of the mysterious power of the gospel. Men who genuinely find pleasure in their families, in service of the church, and in their vocations show the world that it is not a secular lifestyle for which we were made, but the far more pleasurable way of life sketched out for us in Scripture.
This very day, every man–whether a global leader or an unknown tradesman–has an opportunity to show the world that the gospel does not kill pleasure or aggressiveness. Rather, as Edwards has shown, it frees Christians to experience true pleasure and to act in manly ways for a far greater cause than ourselves. We grieve the trajectory of modern men, and we feel special pain for the wives and children who are, through no fault of their own, deeply damaged by the sins of men. In a broken world, we pray to God to show the world a better way, a greater joy, and a magnificent Savior, who delights in taking sinful men and turning them into agents of his glory.