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Personal view: Don’t be a wimp!

October 2011 | by Philip Venables

Personal view: Don’t be a wimp!

A ‘wimp’ is a man who is failing to be what a man should be.
He is ‘weak-in-my-personality’.
And there seem to be an awful lot of wimps around!

However, the cure for wimpishness is not found in bigger muscles, but in the spiritual realm. In fact, physically strong men can be just as much wimps as those less well endowed in muscular terms!
    So what is the cure? We live in an age where people are very confused over the role of men. Men’s leadership role has been undermined. They used to be accepted as providers and leaders in marriage and the family. Today this is greatly diminished.
    So how are men to save themselves from becoming wimps? Not through ‘pumping more iron’ in the gym, but rather by finding and fulfilling their God-appointed duty in life. In fact, the essence of true manhood is found in following Jesus Christ.
    
Christ’s pattern

The Lord Jesus set the pattern at the beginning of his ministry when he called Simon and Andrew from one of the toughest pursuits of the day — fishing — to follow him. To realise their full potential they had to obey Christ’s command: ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’ (Mark 1:17).
    To put it another way, a man starts to be what he should be when he becomes a true Christian and serves Christ in reaching others for him. This means first submitting to God’s call to repent of rebellion and self-assertiveness, and trusting in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to take away our sins.
    It is the devil’s lie to think men cease being real men when they become Christians. Rather, we start to be true men when we embrace God’s call upon our lives and start to follow Christ and fish for men.
    However, it is sadly true today that many Christian men have ‘lost the plot’ and become wimps. Why do we say this? Because many professing Christian men fail to fulfil their responsibilities in marriage, family and church.
    Sadly, wimpishness among God’s people has a long history. In fact, we can say the first real wimp was Adam. We read in Genesis 3:1-6 how he stood on one side and allowed his wife Eve to ‘face the music’ from Satan, who was embodied in the serpent.
    Genesis 3:6b says, ‘She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it’. We can so easily blame Eve for being deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), but Adam’s inaction substantially contributed to the disaster.
    He, alone, was given the command by God (Genesis 2:15-17) and should have made sure it was carried out in that first family. Sadly he did not. And how that continues to this day.

Male weakness

Men stand on one side and allow the women to do the spiritual stuff with their children. Men sit at home, while they send their wives and children off to church. This should not be.
    Where are the men who regularly during the week gather the family around them to read the Word of God and pray? Where are the men who come to church with their families, setting an example in the praise of our God?
    How many Christian wives are there just longing for their husbands to get their act together and set a spiritual tone for the family, as the Bible says they should (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:4)?
    And again, where are the men who are giving themselves to active involvement in the church? Where are the men who are devoting themselves to the church prayer meetings and thereby fulfilling Paul’s injunction in 1 Timothy 2:8: ‘I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing’?
    Of course, many men do have pressing demands in their lives that could hinder them from fulfilling their responsibilities. However, the old adage ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ is apt here. Notwithstanding the legitimate demands of jobs and family it can still be done, given the right attitude.
    The failure of men to be men means ladies assume roles and responsibilities they should never be encumbered with; and it means proper male role models are lost to the oncoming generation. Wimps breed wimps! Boys growing up now in the church need to see manly godliness at work, which they can model themselves on.
    So many men are simply wasting their lives. God calls us to make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). Come on then, you wimps out there! Get out of your comfort zone and be something for God! In fact, start to be a real man!
    But we also need to be brave enough to admit that the church has in various ways contributed to this problem. We have failed men by creating the impression that being a Christian man means being a wimp. Here are three examples.

Distorted view

Too often we present the wrong version of the Lord Jesus. He is seen as a weak and effeminate man who would not say ‘boo to a goose’.
    Rightly we have presented him as the true gentleman who took children into his arms. However, we have too often failed to present him as the mighty conqueror. ‘His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
    ‘He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations’ (Revelation 19:11-16).
    Our Saviour is the victor; every knee shall bow at his name (Philippians 2:10). God the Father has entrusted all judgement to the Son (John 5:22).    
    To have a right view of Christ is so important because the essence of being a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
    For men there is no attraction in signing up to follow a wimp. But if we accurately portray the Lord Jesus Christ, then the response could be very different.

Spiritual warfare

Self-evidently, warfare is not for wimps. To be fit to be a soldier we have to be highly trained, committed and willing to risk all for the cause. And one of the images used in the New Testament of living the Christian life is spiritual warfare.
    Paul tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
    In the ensuing verses, he describes the armour we need for this warfare. He exhorts Timothy to endure hardship like a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3). But we can wrongly give the impression that the Christian life has few difficulties.
    Such an impression is denied by the clear teaching of Scripture. Experience also shows us that there are many battles to fight in living for Christ. Old Testament imagery, for example in the Book of Joshua, substantiates the warfare view of the Christian life.
    Accurately portraying Christianity as involving spiritual warfare against the enemies of God is something that draws men. What better fight than the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12)!

Goals

In the New Testament God reveals himself as the one working to achieve all things for his own glory. Our Saviour said, ‘I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it’ (Matthew 16:18). This is one of God’s goals.
    Then he has given to his church the Great Commission: ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’ (Mark 16:15). Men, like God, gain satisfaction in achieving goals; they are task-orientated.
    Remember that Paul was told by the Lord concerning his ministry in Corinth, ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city’ (Acts 18:9-10).
    Consequently Paul was spurred to engage in eighteen months of ministry in Corinth. He was given a goal to accomplish for the Lord.
    In Scripture, it is often men who have goals set before them and, as these are understood and reached out for, then the women gladly follow their lead. This is God’s general order — for men to take the lead (Ephesians 5:25-33).
    So let us as churches make sure that we enable the men in our congregations to make progress in Christ and grow in grace as true men.
Philip Venables