I’ve said it a couple of times before since I started reading Checkpoints, but this week was challenging. It was arguably more challenging than the preceding weeks, sans the first. Mostly because our Identity is the very foundation of how we, as men, see ourselves. Our ability to exercise Courage in living in our identity, or if necessary, changing it, is what week five focused on.
Courage, as defined in the New Living Translation, is “mental, or moral strength.” For many, courage is also a prerequisite of manhood. It’s not foolhardy, but wise. It takes a certain amount of security within ourselves to live courageously. Courage also comes from knowing who we are in Christ.
There’s a saying that states “courage isn’t the abscense of fear, but acting inspite of it.” Well, that’s all good, but if we haven’t taken the time to acknowledge our fear(s), how can we act purposefully? We must take time to see not only what we’re fearful of, but why. As we identify the causes of it, then we can pray for strength and the ability to face the fears head-on. Doing so increases our reliance on God, stretches our faith, and enlarges the purview of our conquered apprehensions. When doubt sets in, we should remember Philippians 4:13.
Rejection is predicated on fear. It’s the fear of wanting or desiring something or someone, and not attaining that which we desire. If we think we won’t get what we want, we’re apt to not pursue it. However, this is the wrong attitude to have. Christ has told us to ask for whatever our heart desires. If it’s in the Father’s will for us, we shall receive it. If we don’t, then we have to trust in God’s sovereignty that it is not for us, either at that time, or ever. But if we don’t ask, we will never know. The Bible instructs us to come boldly before the throne of God; if we fear rejection, we can’t.
If we are rejected by a situation, or someone, we can develop a grudge against them. Holding grudges is a sure fire way to not be like Christ. We are instructed to be forgiving to those who we feel have wronged us. Not only forgive, but we must be free with it. There are two schools of thought on forgiveness. One says to offer it readily to another, regardless of if it’s been asked for or not. The other says, have it readily available when it is sought. God didn’t wait for us to seek it; it was already extended to us. If He, who is the author of forgiveness extends it freely, shouldn’t we do likewise, and let go of our grudges?
When we forgive, it does something for the forgiver and the forgiven. What it does is effect change from the inside out. The same action needs to happen as we strive to fight against secularism as men. It’s so tough for us because we ideally set the standard for what happens in society. Either we are actively against it, or passively for it. Men have to take a stand first, then make one to combat the increasing hostility against Christianity in the world. We can’t look at women to take the lead in this fight; it’s on us. If we set the standard and be brave in our homes, it will flow over to our communities, and then the nation. But the only way it’ll happen is if we plant our flags now, and tell the enemy that WE are going to be the change we want to effect.
However, if we are to do it, us men cannot show timidity. Forces in the world now are slowly eroding what manhood is. Some images of men show us as bumbling fools, while other images show us as misogynistic ne’erdowells. Neither is accurate. Men are supposed to be bold, stand in the face of fear, be protective of our loved ones, and take charge. Christ is our example, and He embodied all these traits. They’re not the only aspects of manhood, but they’re a good place to start. Take heart and work to exhibit the example that Christ set for manhood. We’ll be amazed at the confidence that will spring forth.