(Note: this comes from a chapel message I preached at SEBTS 10-28-2010. I encourage you to watch Darrin Patrick’s video here before reading further).
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows thegreat enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
When Apache leader Sitting Bull turned 12 years of age he had to spend a week in the wilderness to survive. Today we have a show on television with supposed adults who turn “survival” into a glorified, “reality” game show.
Until recent animal protection laws came into play, Maasai warriors in Africa had to kill a lion with a spear at an age American youth watch Disney’s Lion King on DVD.
As youth David killed a lion and a bear; we go to the mall and build a bear.
As a youth Daniel was taken to pagan land. Today students whine like mules if their free time is held hostage to books.
Spurgeon at 21 preached to 1000s in London. George Whitefield preached to 1000s in the new world at age 25. Luther at 34 nailed 95 theses to a door and led a Reformation, while in the US the average age of a video game buyer is 37.
It is hard to lead a Reformation when you are playing Halo.
What has happened that we are more obsessed w pop culture more than the Scriptures?
Why do young men cherish leisure time more than time with God and His mission?
What has made us love hanging out with people our age more than seeking mentors?
A little historical context:
1. 1951- Catcher in the Rye Salinger. One of the founding documents of American adolescence, Holden Caulfield demonstrates a troubled youth who never really grows up.
2. 1954- Lord of the Flies by Nobel Laureate William Golding (1954). This allegorical novel uses a group of British schoolboys stranded on a deserted island to show the disastrous impact of youth left to themselves.
3. 1955- Rebel Without a Cause hit the big screen with actor James Dean. It told the story of a rebellious teenager who came to a town, met a girl, disobeyed his parents, etc.
4. From the 60s to now, the rise of Rock and Roll and an entire subculture has arisen glorifying youth who act like youth even when they are too old to be youth. I am not a hater of all pop culture and all pop music, nor am I a defender of much of the stale, subcultural Christian music and perspective of our time. But MTV and other factors have contributed to a world in which men today prolong their adolescence to embarrassing lengths.
In our time we have seen a president of the United States have oral sex with a young intern (that would be juvenile delinquent behavior) and a pop star who died thinking he was Peter Pan and who lived on a ranch called Never Land, where you never have to grow up. Michael Jackson did not understand why he in his 40s should not be sleeping with boys eight years of age.
Darrin Patrick in his fantastic new book Church Planter talks about BAN-a half boy half man, a man in chronology but a boy in maturity. These are males reflected in movies like Wedding Crashers, Failure to Launch, or pretty much every Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell movie. These movies are pretty funny (I have enjoyed watching my share of them), but they are not a standard for life for men.
You might be a BAN if you are male and:
-Your favorite show is Glee
-You smell like almonds or peaches
-You wax anything except your car
-You use guyliner or use terms like bromance, mandate, or mancrush.
-You feel like you are a true musician if you only wear skinny jeans
-You cant teach the Bible on Sunday because of how your team did on Saturday
-You NEED A MAN CARD. I don’t need a man card to prove I am a man. I do not need an imaginary card made popular by a stupid beer commercial. I do not have to be a juvenile in a grown up’s body.
My point is not to challenge you to stop watching sports or these movies or playing fantasy football. But take a few minutes to read I Timothy and ask yourself, how much of my time is given to the areas Paul is addressing in I Timothy 6 versus time spent wasted in trivial, often juvenile pursuits?
In I Timothy 6:11-16, Paul is talking about another kind of man. Not a phony macho guy. He is talking about a man of God. And he does not command us to be men of God, for that is what we are if we know Jesus. “You, oh man of God,” he says. Indicative. If you follow Jesus, you ARE a man of God. Be what you are. Then he tells us what that man looks like.
1. Men of God Are RUNNERS (11) Paul says “flee” (see 1-10 for what to flee) and “pursue.”
We have to decide what we will FLEE and what we will PURSUE. The word “flee” has the idea of SEPARATION more than actual running. Run FROM some things: from materialism and consumerism. From divisiveness and stupid arguments. Run false doctrine. In another place “flee immorality,” we are told.
But Paul says men of God run TO some things as well. Men have a natural aggressiveness that must be channeled. Growing from boyhood to manhood means increasingly using PHYSICAL STRENGTH more passively and EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL strength more aggressively. It does not mean to be less aggressive. It means to channel that aggression toward the things of God. The church has too often told men to squelch their passion rather than helping them to channel it into godliness. I have met manly men, tough guys, who wouldn’t share Christ to save their life. They may love God, but their manliness suffered a wimp injection at the point of the gospel. Paul gives some things men should pursue with all the passion of their lives:
1) RIGHTEOUSNESS-Do you seek to have integrity more than you seek influence? Do you seek to be holy more than you seek to be known?
2) GODLINESS-How do you spot a great leader? Get to know a man who leads and you will say to yourself, “I will follow him.” How do you spot a man of God? Spend time with a man, then you will say to yourself, “I want to know Jesus more.”
3) FAITH-What are you trusting God for that He must do? What is happening in your life that can only be explained by the fact that Jesus rose from the dead?
4) LOVE-Boys love themselves and care what others think of them, men love others first. If you do notintentionally treat women with respect, if you do not confront men who disrespect ladies, even in jest in the dorm, you may be helping to create a culture that could be dangerous to women and children in the future. Be careful in the pulpit to show respect to women, to show love to others, to show compassion to the broken.
5) PERSEVERANCE – I meet lots of young men who say, “I want to change the world for the gospel.” But then they realize it is HARD. I asked a group of young men how many of them did the harsh workout known as P90X. About 25 raised their hands. I then asked, “how many of you actually completed the entire 90 days?” About 5 raised their hands. Perserverance is a value of a man of God.
6) GENTLENESS-Men of God are gentle. If you are still trying to bully people (by the way, either physically OR intellectually), you are a BAN. We live in a sad day when the only time you see the word “gentleman” is on a strip club sign or a bathroom door.
“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a Lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Men, we need to pursue godliness.