Resolution: Man Up

By Greg Quinn

January 2nd, 2012

Yesterday was New Years Day, 2012.  It’s a day when many resolutions will be made, most of which will not last through the week.  Some will pledge to lose weight, and that will continue until they cannot resist the pasta, chocolate cake, or ice cream.  Some will make an effort toward working out, will join a gym, and after a few weeks or months will fail to make further attempts to exercise.  Some will pledge to read two chapters per day in their Bible, and the first day they fail to do so, be it week two or five, they will give up and plan on trying again the next year, failing to realize that God doesn’t desire you to read two chapters per day, but instead start listening to Him and learning His ways for your life and develop a close relationship with the creator of the universe.  Some will plan on becoming a better husband, or wife, or mother, or father, or grandparent, or child.  With good intentions they start, but without proper guidance, support, or persistence, they fail and give up.  Some will plan on going back to school part time to get a better education to gain a better job, but plans will change when life’s challenges get in the way.  Some will plan to learn another language, read a book, be a better neighbor, and hopefully the intentions will prevail to some degree of success.  This litany is not to make you feel bad for making plans for improvement; quite the contrary.  I simply wanted to illustrate that good intentions are great, and making resolutions are easy, but following through on these intentions and resolutions is quite difficult.  But for those few that persist, the rewards are worth it.

Looking now at America, and beyond America the entire world, and the cities and communities and households around the world, and a universal problem becomes very evident.  We have a serious lack of men.  Not males; about 45% of the human population on earth is male.  But MEN.  Men that take leadership of their homes, their government, their churches and schools, and with direction from God they make things better.  The world needs more Godly men to take a stand.  And that’s why you and I need to realize the importance of doing so, and make it a priority as we go into 2012 to resolve to be better Christians, leaders, husbands, fathers,… better men.  I think it’s time we make a change.  I think it’s time that men become men, and men stand up and be counted.  I think it’s time that men reflect upon what they are supposed to be, and focus on roles more significant than just their careers or entertainment venues.  I think it’s time that men, to use a recent term, “man up”.

If you haven’t figured this out by now, this article is for men.  As this is the first article I will write for 2012, I want to make sure that the topic hits home, and that the message is very clear. While most articles I write are applicable for both genders, this one is geared to men only.  So, if you are reading this and are a lady, then refer it to the men in your life.  This is a message for men, by a man, and meant to make a difference in the lives of men who will carefully read this and put into practice the simple lessons illustrated herein.  Like all resolutions, the intentions are only good if put into practice.  It is my hopes that you men will read this prayerfully, resist the opportunity to take offense, accept that this message is meant for you (and all of us men), and put the information contained herein into practice in order to improve your life, and the lives around you, for 2012 and beyond.

If you set but one resolution for 2012, set this one.  Man up.  Be a real man.  Take responsibility as a man.  Be the kind of man that God plans for you to become.  Be the man that takes control of the well-being of your family.  Be the man that puts the needs of his wife above his own.  Be the man that cares for the spiritual upbringing of his children more than watching a football game.  Man up. 

Before you can become a man, you need to understand what a man is, what a man is to look like.  I would like to give some good modern-day examples of ideal men, but the references escape me.  We can perhaps think of men we admire for one aspect of their character over another, but it’s difficult to gauge the greatness of men today.  Therefore, I will look to the Bible.  Whenever I wish to find an example of how something (anything) is supposed to be, I look to the only true source of integrity and honor and truth that is available to us today, and that is the Holy Bible.  God Himself, the creator of the universe, is the author of the Bible.  The Bible is inspired by God, penned by mortal men like you and I, and given for inspiration, for leadership, for discipline, for correction, for instruction, and to show us men what real men are supposed to look like.  So, what does the Bible say about how men are to appear and act?

There are many examples.  Some are portrayed by the examination of the life of another person.  Some are specific instructions that are laid out clearly for us all (men and women and children alike).  Let’s look at just a few.

Abraham was a man much like any other man.  Yet unlike many other men, Abraham trusted God.  He believed that God was true to his Word, that when God spoke we were to act, and his actions as evidenced through his faith in God inspired mankind throughout the ages and will continue to do so until the Earth is no more.  Abraham wasn’t perfect.   But he understood who God was, who he himself was as a man, and his roles and responsibilities while living and breathing air.  Abraham took in his nephew Lot when his brother was dead.  Abraham moved away from all the family he knew and the land he loved to go to another land, as directed by God.  He took Lot with him and treated him as his own son.  Lot and Abraham prospered in the land where God put them, but when their herdsmen argued over the land due to the bounty of the livestock, Abraham was man enough to go to Lot (his nephew who would have had nothing if not for Abraham) and give Lot the first choice of the land.  Lot chose what to most would be the best land, with fertile fields and plains and water.  Abraham took his livestock and his wife Sarah and his herdsmen and moved, because he knew that God would provide for him.  As it turned out, Abraham was told by God that all the land that his eyes would behold would become his and of his family.  God told Abraham that he would have descendants more numerous than the sands or the stars, and at that time Abraham was an old man, and his wife Sarah was old and barren.  Yet Abraham believed God.  And God came through for Abraham.  He was given a son through a concubine since his wife didn’t believe at first that she would ever conceive, and through that illegitimate son sprang the Islamic nations.  The son of promise, from his own wife Sarah, Isaac, became the beginning of the nation Israel.  And yet Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son at the word of almighty God, and again God came through for Abraham.  Abraham believed God, and God delivered all the promises that he made to Abraham.  Since that time and even yet today, the nation of Israel calls Abraham their father.  Since that time and yet today, all the Islamic nations call Abraham their father.  Today, many of our own genealogies stem from Abraham.  All the promises that God made Abraham, a man like unto us, God delivered.  Abraham was just a man, but a man who believed God and acted upon God’s word.  Abraham was a real man.

Moses was a real man.  Moses’ mother put him in a basket as a babe to keep him from being killed by an evil Pharaoh.  Pharaoh’s wife’s helpers found the babe, presented him to the Egyptian Pharaoh’s wife, and Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s home as his own son.  As he grew older and set to become heir to the throne, Moses didn’t like seeing the people of Israel treated as slaves and beaten, and killed an Egyptian.  Fearing retribution, Moses fled into the desert, and stayed some 40 years in hiding, raising sheep and a family, and becoming a herdsman.  God heard the cries of the Israelites in bondage to the evil Egyptian Pharaoh, now his step-brother, and God called Moses out of the desert to be the deliverer of these people back in his old home Egypt.  Moses gave God all kinds of excuses as to why he shouldn’t be the one to go, but God doesn’t take excuses kindly.  Moses finally agreed to go under God’s guidance and face up to the evil Pharaoh and give him God’s command to free God’s people Israel.  You most likely know the story as it is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, and subject of The Ten Commandments movie starring Charlton Heston as Moses.  Moses did God’s bidding, stood up to the evil leader, and demanded that he let God’s people go.  Pharaoh wouldn’t do so, and God sent disaster after disaster upon the Egyptian people because of Pharaoh’s disobedience.  Finally after the loss of his own son, Pharaoh was wore down and agreed to let the Israelites go.  Moses and God had won.  Yet Pharaoh changed his mind, sent his army after them, and again God came through for His people.  Moses was a real man, yet a man who made mistakes like any other man.  His anger kept him from entering the promised land, yet God made Moses as a real man admired for generations.  What kind of a man would stand up to the leader of the world at that time, Pharaoh?  A real man.  A man that followed God. 

Peter was a real man.  Peter was a fisherman.  He was boastful, somewhat full of himself, and arrogant.  He was big and loud.  He wasn’t well educated.  He wasn’t a leader.  He wasn’t a politician or a military man.  He was a fisherman.  Yet Jesus Christ himself, the Son of the Almighty God, chose Peter as one of this followers, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.  Peter became a leading figure among the twelve.  Time after time Peter’s big mouth and arrogance would get him in trouble, but time after time he repented.  The only thing bigger than Peter’s mouth and ego at times was his heart, and his heart loved Jesus.  In spite of his shortcomings, even going so far as to denying he even knew Jesus on the night that Jesus needed him the most, Peter has become one of the most successful evangelists ever in the history of the world.  Peter was imperfect, yet he loved God.  Peter had many limitations, but what skills he had he used for God.  Peter made serious mistakes, but was man enough to admit them, repent, and try to make up for his mistakes.  Because of Peter and others like him, we today know the Bible and have access to the words of Christ.  Peter was a real man.

God himself says much to us men in the Bible directly, not just through the examples of other men.  There are many such directives that apply to all of us, but here’s a couple that should hit home with most.

Ephesians 5:25-28 says this: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” 

If you are a married man, then the Bible in this passage instructs us very clearly as to how to act.  We are love our wife first as Christ loved the church.  How much did Christ love the church (the believers on Him)?  Jesus Christ died for those that would believe upon him that he was in fact the son of the living God.  Jesus lived his life to nurture and set apart the church (the believers) from other people.  Jesus cleansed the believers and became sin on all our behalf so that God wouldn’t see our sins that would cause our death, but through Jesus’ sacrificial death in our place we would be set free.  Jesus therefore protected us, delivered us, saved us, and presented us to God as mankind without spot or blemish, perfect in the eyes of God, not because of any thing that we have done, but because of what Jesus Christ did for us.  This is the example as to how we men are to treat our wives.  We are to love them as Christ loved the church.  We are to die for them if necessary.  We are to care more for them than our own bodies.  We are to work to protect them, to deliver them, to take care of them, to set them apart from all other women on earth, to make over them, to cherish them, and to present them to God as a holy woman who believes in God and who loves and admires their husband.  If we men treated our wives in the manner in which we are commanded, then women would respond.  You say you have a bad wife; I say she has a bad husband.  Most of the time, women will respond to a Godly man who is acting as commanded by Scripture.  Not always, but even if they don’t respond, then it is not your fault and God will not hold it to your account.  But I’m convinced that in most cases, if men do their part, and become the kind of husband to the wife that they should be, as outlined in this scripture, then God will bless the family, the wife will eventually come around and heed her husband, and great blessings will commence within that household.  The problem with our families lies most of the time at the feet of us men.  If we were to “man up” as a man and husband, then we would enjoy better families and God would be honored through our families and the lives of us and our wives. 

Ephesians 6:4 says this: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  If you are a father and you have kids, then you are commanded to love them, not make them angry, be a good example, and bring them up to love, trust, and be obedient to the Lord.  If you as a father do this, then your household will be blessed.  Children today are often disobedient to their parents because the husband/father doesn’t step up (doesn’t “man up”) and do his part as a husband to their mother, and as a dad to the children.  Be strong, but be patient and gentle.  Be a godly example to your kids.  Be the kind of man that your boys will want to emulate, and your girls will want to marry.  If we fathers acted more like we were supposed to as dads, then perhaps our families would be much better, and generations upon generations could be blessed from our instructions and our examples.

There are way too many examples in the Bible to cover them all.  There are way too many commandments and direct instructions in the Bible to cover them all.  But they all ring true.  We men are to become men.  We are to become men that follow God, that love our families, and that are faithful to our wives.  We are to become men that stand up for what is right.  We are to become men of truth.  We are to become men of integrity.  We are to work hard and provide for our families.  We are to be strong yet gentle.  We are to follow God as perfectly as we possibly can, and lead our lives as examples to others, from our wives and children, to our children’s children, our neighbors, and our communities.  The Bible doesn’t say in these exact words to “man up”.  But the Bible says the exact same thing by using different words to reach the same result.  We men are to become men, and we men are to follow God and instruct our families to do the same.  We are to become examples.  We are to “man up”.

I wish to make an appeal to all men reading this article to simply “man up”.  Become the man you need to be in your home, at your job, within your church, and as an active member of your community and your society.  You can do it.  Look through historical books of people you admire, and find things about them that you can emulate.  Read the Bible and find characters that are like you, and discover how they used their own personalities to become the kind of man God wanted them to become.  Read direct instruction from the Bible to learn more distinctly how to behave and act as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a leader, as a worker, as a church member, as a member of society.  There are other good books out there by good authors that teach us men how to act better toward becoming the Godly man we should become.  If you become the kind of man that God wants you to be, then you can expect as a result for God’s blessings to flow on your life and the lives of those in your family.  What better thing to ask for in the year 2012 than God’s blessings?  Do your part.  Man up.

At this, the beginning of a New Year, many of you will make resolutions.  Most will be sincere.  Most won’t last the week.  I ask that you make one resolution that you will keep.  This resolution is more important than losing a few pounds, than gaining the new job.  I ask that you seek this new year to become the kind of man that you need to become.  You will be happier, your wife will be happier, your children will be happier, your church and community will be happier, society will be happier, and if enough of us do this, then the world itself will stand up and take notice.

In 2012, make this one resolution above all others.  Be the kind of man that God wants you to become.  Men, “man up”.  This is my personal resolution for 2012.  Perhaps it can be yours as well.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.  And may God bless our families and America in 2012.

Greg Quinn