When we opened this series, we 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 cannot say this enough. Being a man is not a physical thing. It’s a spiritual thing.
Last week Sam shared the three things that come to steal that strength is Lust, Entitlement and Pride. Lust says, “I want it.” Entitlement says, “I deserve it.” Pride says, “I can handle it.” When men live like this, it steals their strength. When you live that way, make decisions based on those things, you will have less strength to protect and give life to those around you.
Today I want to talk about the fact that men tend to follow their emotions more than follow after God and what to do about it. For me as a guy, I have struggled with trying to be the man I think I’m supposed to be. Honestly, many times, I have felt the weight of being a man and I have crumbled under that weight. I’ve responded to life with anger. I’ve responded to life with drinking. I’ve responded to life by being passive. I don’t like that about me. I’m not proud of that. And knowing that I have crumbled makes me feel even more weak and I just focus on my failures. Today, I want to share with you what has healed my heart as man.
Let me share with you the context of this scripture. King David, the proven warrior of Israel, is sitting on his throne and writing to us about the strength he needs to rule. Psalms 33:16-17 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, or is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory – for all its strength, it cannot save you. NLT King David is saying, I lived life, fought and won battles and I have learned that my strength isn’t enough. My war horses aren’t enough. Guys, your strength is not enough to make it through life. You’re not all that. When you’re young, you think you can take a bullet and nothing can stop you. When you live a little, you realize, you don’t have enough natural strength. That’s why being a man isn’t physical, it’s spiritual.
But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We depend on the LORD alone to save us. Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone. NLT For those who on depend on God, they realize, it’s His strength that we need. Remember, being a man is not physical, it’s spiritual. We don’t have the strength we need to make it through life. The strength we need to do life, is only found in God. This demands that we depend on God.
Let’s get real practical. 1.) Guys, life happens. You live life long enough, you realize it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Life is falls apart, life isn’t fair. There is enormous stress. Everyone else gets the lucky breaks. You feel exhausted. You feel like a huge disappointment. Life happens and it crushes you.
2.) We are not depending on God. It might not be your fault, you either don’t know how or, it is your fault because you do know and just ignore God. We try to make it through life on our own strength. We think, being a man is physical, so I have to man up and bring my best. Or, we think, I can’t do it, I’ve blown it, I’m just going to try to survive.
3.) We feel crushed. Life hammers us. We aren’t depending on God. Our strength isn’t enough. We feel crushed. Think about this with me. What’s left? What becomes of you? Life hammers you. You aren’t depending on God. Your strength isn’t enough. You’re crushed. What comes out? Our destructive emotions.
Let’s talk about what we see in men. The destructive emotions. Anger. Some guys feel crushed and when they are not depending on God, they feel like, “I’m empty and life’s not fair.” They can become angry at everyone: God. Boss. Wife. Church. Kids. Some show anger by going passive. They check out. They are so angry but feel like the battle isn’t worth it. Some show anger by being aggressive. They yell, fight and can be mean.
Pride. Some guys feel crushed and when they are not depending on God, they feel like, “I’m empty and I have to hide it.” I man with pride has to hide the secret that he isn’t who you think he is. Some show pride by being arrogant: accomplishments, achievements, trophies, business, who they know, all of it is about relying on themselves. Some show pride by being depressed, always grumpy, lonely, just miserable. They would rather hate themselves or be miserable than admit their weaknesses.
This is how scripture talks about our destructive emotions. When you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group-and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. TLB Galatians 5:19-21
Doesn’t this explain how we get into bad spots as men? Life happens, we aren’t depending on God, we feel crushed, our destructive emotions to evil results.
So what do we do? Obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. …when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace… Let’s stop there. Who produces love, joy and peace in our lives? God does. If that is true, then why do we think we have to go to men’s groups at ‘O Dark 30’ and muscle through the month trying to act like we are more loving? We think wrong read scripture and think, I have to act more loving, more joyful more peaceful! I have to man up and work hard at this task. You couldn’t be more dead wrong. The Holy Spirit places love in your life when you give control over to Him. When you depend on Him, when you spend time with Him, He produces love in your life. Guys, stop trying muscle through your ‘tasks’ and start spending time with God. He will give you all the qualities you need to be a man.
…patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Then we won’t need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings. TLB Galatians 5:16-17, 22-26
Scripture tells us to rely on, depend on the Holy Spirit for strength. What did King David say? “My strength, my army, my resources aren’t enough.” What does your life experience tell you? You don’t have it within you to be the man you want to be! Next time, when life happens, you feel crushed, you don’t have to rely on yourself, you can rely on God.
How do you rely on God as a man? I am not going to tell you a list of rules, do’s and don’ts. That leads to failure and guilt. I am not going to tell you to work harder. You’re not a marine, your human. That just leads to frustration and exhaustion. I am going to tell you, to spend time with God. Remember, being a man isn’t physical, it’s spiritual.