Final Instructions (Part III)
Act Like Men. Be Strong.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV)
The third and fourth pieces of instruction that Paul gives in verse 13 are to act like men and be strong. Everyone can be strong, male and female. Part of being strong is standing firm in the faith.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
It is through Christ that we are strong. We are strong by relying on the Lord, by leaning on Him and being dependent on Him for everything.
Act like men. Have you heard this said before? Maybe you’ve said it yourself: “be a man” or “man up.” What do we mean when we say this? Be strong. Don’t cry. Be tough. Don’t whine. What the world says a man should be and what God says a man should be is very different. We probably have a good idea of the world’s definition, but do we know what God says it is to act like a man? Let’s take a look.
We are watchmen.
We covered this in part 1 of this series. God has given us men the job of being a lookout. We are to lookout for trouble on the horizon and to speak up when we encounter sin. We are to also know what is going on in our own homes. It is not acceptable for a Christian father to say, “I don’t know where my kids are” or “I don’t know who their friends are.” As watchmen, we need to know what our kids are doing and who they are influenced by.
We are spiritual leaders.
This goes right along with being a watchman. God has appointed us as men to be the spiritual leaders of our households. It is not acceptable as a Christian man to not know where the members of your household are in their spiritual walk.
“But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.” (Ephesians 5:23)
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
As fathers, we are not to provoke our children to anger. To provoke means to stimulate, give rise to, incite, or deliberately make someone angry or annoyed. Do you know someone who is good at provoking? Paul specifically tells fathers not to treat their children in this way. We discipline and lead, but we should not provoke anger in our children.
We think and reason as adults.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
This verse can be thrown around a lot when addressing childish behavior in men, such as playing video games or buying toys. While there certainly is a need for men to put down the video game remotes, especially if it’s at the expense of being the man God has called you to be, this verse is focusing on thought and reasoning. This verse is more about apologetics and understanding why we believe what we believe. There comes a time when we need to be able to reasonably understand our faith, and we must have answers to unbelievers’ questions. How are we supposed to be effective spiritual leaders if we can’t answer tough questions?
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We honor our wives.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
If you want to be an effective spiritual leader in your household, then treat your wife with understanding. Recognize that she is your equal partner in this new life in Christ. Honor your wife. When you glance at another woman, you dishonor your wife. When you lust after another woman, you dishonor your wife. When you watch pornography, you dishonor your wife. When you seek pleasure alone for yourself—which is intimacy that is reserved for you and your wife—you dishonor her. Men, as a whole, have fallen very short in this instruction, and we could all do a much better job at honoring our wives.
We run from evil and pursue righteousness.
Men are runners. Joseph was a runner: he ran away from Potiphar’s wife when she tried to sleep with him. Paul calls Timothy a man of God and tells him to run from temptations (1 Timothy 6:10) and to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness—do these sound familiar? These are fruits the Spirit grows in us! This is what men pursue. We run from temptation and we pursue the fruits of the Spirit. When we do these things, we can fulfill other roles God has given us, such as sharpening other men (Titus 2:7), delighting in the laws of the Lord (Psalm 1:2), and fearing the Lord (Psalm 112:1).
God has given us many jobs as men but we cannot do any of them without Him. Alone, we fail every time, but with God we can succeed through Him. You want to man up, you want to act like a man? Then keep watch, lead your family, know why you believe what you believe and have answers for tough questions, honor your wife, run from evil, and pursue the fruits of the Spirit.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.