Last week I spoke about the difference between boys and men. We said, boys decide life is about them. As a result, everyone around them has do more work for them. At three, it’s cute. At 33, it’s embarrassing. A man decides to take his strength to protect and give life to those around him. As a result, everyone around them does less work. We defined a man as someone understands my strength is to protect and give life to those around me. We ended with how to take your first step towards God. If being a man is primarily spiritual, then our first step in being a man is a spiritual step.
Today, I want to talk about why and how we FIGHT as men. About that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request. “What do you want?” Jesus asked. She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.” MSG Matthew 20:20-28
Mommy, and her two adult boys [who still needed mommy], went to Jesus with a question. This question reveals that after following Jesus for 3 years, Jesus’ disciples still didn’t understand. They had no clue about the Kingdom of God, it’s purpose and mission. They had no clue about what was required of them to serve in God’s Kingdom. Here it is, their big question: “In your new kingdom, will you give us a position and power?” They thought that the Kingdom of God would look like the Roman empire. Jesus was going to be the King, the Emperor, and they might secure a high level role. With their position, with their power, other people would serve them. They thought that leadership, being a man, was a physical thing, to secure a great spot.
Let’s read how Jesus responds. Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?” They said, “Sure, why not?” Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.” MSG Matthew 20:20-28
James and John and their mom, had no clue about Jesus, the kingdom of God and their role. They were thinking a physical kingdom where people would serve them. Jesus doesn’t really answer the question. He says something very interesting… “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?” Jesus is saying, this is a spiritual kingdom and for you to be a part of it, means you will sacrifice yourself to serve others.
This is why, today in local churches, anyone searching for power, position or validation in God’s kingdom doesn’t understand how God works.
Guys, I want to ask you something: What are you trying to accomplish in your life? If you struggle to answer that, this might be what is going on. You feel lost. And because you feel lost, you don’t know if your fight is a physical one where you live for yourself or a spiritual one where you live for helping others. So what are you trying to accomplish in your life?
Let’s keep reading what happens in this story. When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served – and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” MSG Matthew 20:20-28
All the disciples got mad – why? They all wanted to secure the key spots around Jesus. What does Jesus do? It shatters their idea of how to fight. This is what Jesus says, Godless people, search for position and power to benefit themselves. In God’s kingdom, if you want to be great, you serve. If you don’t understand that, look at me… Jesus. I’ve come to serve, not to be served. I’ve come to give away my life to free people in bondage.
Jesus shares with us how to fight. First. The reason we fight as men is for the freedom of those around us. Notice, that’s why came, to fight for the freedom of those held hostage. Understand what’s at risk: everyone around you. They are spiritually and emotionally at risk. Friends. Wife. Kids. The friends of your kids. They need your strength.
Second. The way we fight is spiritual. We take the spot as servant to those around us. Not doormat with no backbone, but as someone who cares. Come along beside them and say, “What do you need, I’d like to help you.” You engage them. You’re present. You pray for them.
Until you understand why and how to fight, you will be bored, destructive or frustrated with life asking, “What’s the point?”
Guys, the reason you fight is everyone is at risk around you. The way you fight, become a servant, come along side them and give them your strength.