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Discovering What It Means to Be a Man (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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April 25, 2022 6:00 am

Discovering What It Means to Be a Man (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 25, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor and best-selling author Mark Batterson offers his insights on biblical masculinity and what it takes, particularly for a father, to raise a boy to become a good man. (Part 1 of 2)

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Top Gun is not someone that can do what he knows of black and it's someone who's willing to hang on the cross for someone else's sin that pastor Mark Batterson talking about the importance of godly men as our guest today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for listening in on John Fuller. John a man's role is so important.

But there's so much confusion today what it means to be a man and as dad play African role in giving our children that identity in one way we do that is by being a man of integrity ourselves and then teaching this to our children and you kids are going to find you upright faster than most people is 11 with you they can see is he consistent is see the man he thinks he is. And that's always proof in the pudding and I need to probably write more about what it will be good here.

Focus we want to strengthen you.

That is our goal. I know there's many many wives there, listening, saying I wish my husband would hear this get the download that Shirley does some way put it on the pillow. Here is the Focus on the Family program.

You may want to listen to do it lovingly in a way that's good shaming, but that is our goal to help you be the best parent you can be. It's as simple as that.

And so listen in and as you do. Just know that we got a great book that our guest has written called play the man becoming the man God created you to be. We've got that and the download.

Jim mentioned another or call one 800 a family and Mark is the senior pastor of national community, church, and that's in Washington DC Mark, welcome to the program. Thanks so much guys. You know I love that lets you start there.

Your church there Washington DC. It's not where I wanted to start originally. But you shared with me what's happening. Tell us about the church and how excited you are we starting with 19 people decades ago, and here we are with seven campuses. About 50% single 20 something so Lotta Hill staffers and people that live and work in Washington DC State Department military students and we are were trying to bring the gospel to bear in our nations capital mark when you look at that. So often we can despair you know we don't see God in that arena as much as we'd like to is Christians you know Washington seems like a very desperate place spiritually but is it awesome to know there's probably many churches, but certainly yours is one of the biggest there any have folks coming who were working in the government during sermons on Sunday. Knowing the Lord, trying to do their job well and do it from a biblical perspective that actually is encouraging to me yeah and it it isn't what makes the news. Most often, for you know actually I think the good news out to make the news and in many ways we are so I know the people have the perspective of what happens inside the Beltway bid to be able to be there and just minister to people that are swimming in those waters. We need to be there and I'll tell you this, I believe we need revival in America and I wouldn't mind if it started right in the nations capital and so that's what were believing for praying for you. What this is like the Lord to do that we would start the Bible belt that he'll go right there and say let's start here and there. That's what's wonderful you for this great book, play the man I resonate with that.

I so appreciate what you're expressing their I mentioned, there is confusion today and what it means to be a man. What do you think defines masculinity. Let's get right to it in a word Jesus I mean I think the compass needle of masculinity is spinning and things are being redefined and there is a lot of confusion and so I think we got to go back to the original source.

What you do is you reverse engineer did you go back to first Adam look at some of the mistakes that he made and then I think in second Adam, the person of Jesus Christ.

We've got true north. He simplifies what it means to be a man that is so good to play the man. The title of the book what you're expressing their it's a catchy phrase. But what is the meaning of it yeah will you guys know I love history and this title comes out of a true story. Polycarp was a martyr in not 155 A.D. bid something really interesting happened when they brought him into the the Coliseum at Smyrna. They told him recant his faith in you would not do it. He said 86 years have I served him.

How can I blaspheme my King now, and he hears a voice from heaven know you'll find this in Fox's book of martyrs.

He hears a voice from heaven that says be strong Polycarp play the man gives you goosebumps dozen and he played the man by the way was personally discipled by the apostle John while so when you read those words to the church in Smyrna. In the book of Revelation. Polycarp would've heard John's voice and it said be faithful unto death, and he was and so he played the man by dying for his faith in, and I just want to flip the coin and say let's play the man by living for our faith and so the title of the book, comes from that little piece of history and it does grab you. That's a wonderful story. What does God desire for us as men. Well I think that's a big question with many dimensions to it, but captured the issue that I think we face would just this simple example. I'm in a room with 500 guys a year to go and I asked them how many of them were discipled by their father and three hands went up 3/5 3/500 and we have a problem and so I think what we have is man who don't really know what it means to be a man of God and fathers who don't really know what it means to be a spiritual father and there is this tremendous void, and in that void. You can hear that last verse of the Old Testament.

This kind of plea that God would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and I think that's really the heartbeat of this book and the reason behind me writing it. That's why we resonate with the message that certainly the missionary Focus on the Family for parents, but for men for dads to really be engaged with their families. And that's critically important to helping your children grow into the spiritual people they can be and should be your pastor. You think the church is teaching us how to be godly men martyrs. This is so often now when I'm on the road speaking like you do. Men will say I just doesn't fit me.

My wife loves it the church for me is not meeting a need in me. What are they expressing when they say that what are we doing perhaps wrong when it comes to men being engaged with church yet. Well, let's be honest. Many churches are answering questions that people aren't asking for. And so what we have is this culture that is having lots of conversation about gender about sexuality and if we don't let our voice be heard and speak the truth in love, then, in a sense we lose our voice we lose our standing in culture and so I think what we've got to do is find a way to speak that message of truth to do it in love and you know the second that you bring up male and female, and here we are with you know hashtag me to when everything else is happening in our culture. It's almost like were tentative were afraid to come to speak into this but it's God who said male and female. I have made them, and it's something that we ought to be celebrating it's something that we ought to be cultivating and in many ways. If we aren't defining what it means to be a man what it means to be a woman. I think culture steps into begins to define it. Often ways that are at odds with what we believe based on Scripture.

It's really tries to ask about that before we got to the content of the book, just the role of masculinity today and others that term that's been created now toxic masculinity.

It's almost like men's backs her up against the wall and there certainly are bad men that have done horrific things, but I appreciate in the news media when they say this doesn't apply to every man. Not all men behave badly and it's almost like there's a cultural acceptance that if your man your going to be doing things you shouldn't do.

That's not the case.

It's not the case and I go right back to the Gospels, and I look at Jesus and I look at who we befriended and who we champion and the way that he would reach across these divides and touch a leper and eat with sinners and that he shouldn't have eaten with yes and everybody's ready to cast a stone. Then he steps into the situation and I just I think we've got a go back to notches understanding who Jesus is. Look at the way that he interacted with the culture that he was in and I think in the person of Jesus.

We have this incredible Son of Man son of God, Lamb of God line of the tribe of Judah which one is it yes if you know you have it set, Jesus wept every kids favorite Bible verse right to memorize and then you have a lens of all, you know he's man enough to cry, but he also walks into the temple, and he turns tables over, so which one is he he's both. He's this complex personality who is the incarnation of God himself and when we really look at him.

What we have is that prototype of who I want to be as a man as a husband as a father and that's why it says husband love your wives as Christ loved the church and so there it is. We have the picture. Unfortunately for men.

I think when we hear that specific Scripture. We Artie feel like you're getting a D- then men don't do well this you were so performance oriented, that if in our competitive spirit. We don't feel like we can measure up.

Just, slip away. Yeah, I wonder sometimes, you know, how do we measure up to Jesus. I mean that the perfect person the sinless one. That's a tall order and I think so many men feel like I can't do that. I don't even understand how to love my wife in that way.

Yeah, what is the Lord wanting us to do in that relationship with our wives yeah can I just speak a word and encourage absolutely because we beat ourselves up and you know the enemy is the accuser of the brethren. So he's the one who wants room to remind us of what we've done wrong over and over and over again and I think what we gotta realize is that yes were imperfect, but here's some good news.

His grace is sufficient to rent any makes up the difference in soap the way I think about it.

Let's take parenting, for example, I am an imperfect father, you and I wrote this book, play the man and about a slot as they come in so. But here's what I believe.

Whether you're a single parent. Listening to this or or you don't husband and a wife. The reality is where you fall short.

But the good news is there is a heavenly father who I believe makes up the difference in so where we fall short.

He steps in and that grace is sufficient. By the way parents I want you to know the mistakes you make are some the greatest opportunities you have because he is my parenting philosophy in three words please. Sorry. Thanks skip if our kids can learn please. Sorry thanks but say what the hardest is sorry our kids can learn how to say sorry and less their parents learn to apologize for their shortcomings soap. Let's not pretend to be perfect. Let's get to the content of the book you highlight seven virtues of manhood you've talked about Jesus, who is one of those archetypes in the book.

One of the characters you highlight give us a brief overview of the characters in the book in the will. Big and a handful of yeah well I love history so I I read a lot of biographies and there are some men that I look up to in terms of their manliness. Shall we say, people like Teddy Roosevelt and John Meurer and John Wesley Powell and Louis Samper Reedy and so I love sharing their stories and then I talk about these seven dimensions seven character traits of what it means to be a man of God all the way from tough love to moral courage and some true grit and willpower in between. Let's grab a couple of tough love.

I think you went to Charles Lindbergh for that describe that virtue and who Charles Limburg is because not everyone will remember the first solo transatlantic flight and you know, pretty amazing accomplishment is gotta be a lonely experience taken off New York State and making it to Paris along to that taken in Omaha.

I think I think it was maybe 33, 36 hours of having your the only one at the helm, and I was so Claudia points that he was flying about 10 feet above the water. By the way, my favorite moment was he's getting close to the coast of Ireland. I believe he sees a fisherman and so he circles the boat and asks him the question ended. That poor fisherman is so dumbfounded he doesn't even know what to think of a guy flying a plane around it and I know 2020s and out of your spare and official. I do not out right is an interesting concept, but the tough love connection. Give me more concrete insight yes so I you know I asked the question how does someone have that kind of endurance to pull out that come accomplishment and I point back to his grandfather August Lindbergh who had a little sawmill and I think Sauk center Minnesota and I want to be careful here because this is not a pretty picture but he had an accident with that sawmill and he lost a limb and the stories told the he didn't make a sound. Did she didn't cry, didn't say out student and the doctor didn't show up for three days and so my point in the book is you know to Charles flight across the Atlantic. No big deal compared to his grandfather. You want to talk about tough who endured what he did but then I want to take that idea. Tough because here's the key tough guy is not someone that can blood he and nose are black and and I it's someone who's willing to hang on a cross for someone else's sin. That's the interesting point you're making. It's not the external use of force is the internal absorption of pain. Yes, says there's a big difference yes and it's things like sacrifice and we celebrated movies right but it doesn't seem like we celebrate it in real life we want success without sacrifice we want everything to be wonderful without you know the hard work behind it and I'll tell you why call it tough love because it's tough because it's hard because I it takes tremendous effort to make that kind of sacrifice and loving another person. Market your pastor and I want I want to elaborate on this for minute because one of the concerns I have in the culture today and in a minute I go to Washington I meet with the people help shape policy.

It's something redundant focus for years, but there is an difference I think in the way Christian should approach that area public policy arena and I want you to apply this kind of tough love to it.

You can go in and play a zero-sum game you can shake the stick. You can be the tough guy the mean guy and demand that they get on with whatever it is that were about pro-life legislation, profamily legislation, etc. you can be in some tough meetings. I've sat in some of those meetings and listen to Christian leaders make demands it doesn't seem to me like that is the heart of the New Testament where the Lord is where Paul was at when you're asked to pray for those over authority.

You have to come with a contrite Nessa humility, the fruit of the spirit. That's not a good match in Washington DC which plays this game of power and I think the question I want to ask you is and I struggle with this personally because I want to win. I want to be Peter in the garden.

I want to strap on the sword make sure my side comes out ahead yes then there's this whole other side of me, which I think is the Holy Spirit in me saying act like Steve be willing to lay your life down. It's not that kind of game I don't play that game. If you get a swing that sword going to die by the sword. Just what Jesus did in rebuking Peter in the garden.

Help me to speak to me as a person is in the cultural battle how I maintain the character of Christ in the environment that acts so un-Christlike. Well, I think you have to go back to the foot of the cross on a daily basis right you have to go back to that place where that kind of love is modeled for us. You know Jim, I think we would rather be right than righteous and I think there's an issue there.

Now when we say this.

John one says a Jesus was full of grace and truth.

Truth means I'll be honest with you no matter what grace means all love you no matter what. I found it most people, have a tendency towards one or the other you know that truthful person that maybe needs a little more grace or that graceful person that needs a little bit more truth. I think what Jesus modeled is the perfect combination of these two things and the way it expressed itself was and this is my definition of tough love and loving people when they least expect it least deserve and so it there such a lack of civility just old-fashioned niceness. And when I really got this is to sound super theological but it's Romans 210.

It's his kindness leads us to repentance and he does not us. He shows us kindness. If that doesn't work, try more kindness with that doesn't work, try even more kindness. I think that's the heart of God and we've gotta operate in that same kind of spirit.

I agree. But, and I think here's where were missing it, as the church is we don't really a I don't think we have a lot of teaching in that regard, and it's like in Luke six where it says if you love those who love you, what is that sinners do that. I'm telling you love those who hate you yes okay wow and I think I'm applying it here with what you're saying that tough love. It's that man who can absorb the blows like Jesus did on the cross for the greater good that is living as opposed to the man whose the bully in the arena and I just I want to be cautious that we don't become the bully in the arena because I don't think that's the attitude God's heart. Yeah all right. Let's keep moving. Okay, let's move on to willpower and who did you choose to exemplify willpower and why is willpower important. What is it mean to the man.

Well, there is this wonderful book about Louisiana Perini and a movie about his life shot down in World War II survived on the ocean in a little raft and then things went from bad to worse ends up as a prisoner of war just cruelly treated because he was an Olympian and when his captors found out who he was. He was treated pretty poorly. I forget the weight that he ended up at but I want to say something like 70 pounds and he was skin and bones. He was a dead man breathing, but somehow he survived that and actually found a way to forgive is actually the Billy Graham Crusade that his life turned around. There's this moment in the movie and in the book into he's holding up this theme and it just takes all the strength he has to just hold this beam, but I think there are moments in life where willpower is going to be the thing that makes the difference. Now two kinds of power due to miscounted his physical power but ask Susie it's this willpower, the ability to do the right thing even when everybody else is doing the wrong thing. I think we need more of that in our manhood. How have you done that as a man all well you know it's the tough circumstances it's the difficult times that I think Ford's us and so I think of a near-death experience where I spent two days on a respirator.

My intestines ruptured. I should've died but you come out the other side of something like that. And now every day is a gift you live your life a little differently. After that, I think I probably learned some of it playing basketball in college you know coaches going to tell you it's another when Sprint last thing I wanted to do but you run that when Sprint it's I think life teaches you that you gotta rise to that challenge and keep on keeping on. Yeah, I'm in. That's a great example. I think all of us.

Hopefully can look to a point in our lives were we had to demonstrate the kind of willpower and I would say a lot of pastors. I talked to Mark talk about you know men are missing. We talk about worth the practice of the doing of the word. It's a lot of the womenfolk in church you are stepping up and doing that yes, I guess this is in a shame or guilt thing, but I guess the compounding question is why is that typical and then wire men so easily distracted from what they should be doing, which is that hard work and those things that God calls us are taking care of the widow and the orphan. I'm sure a lot of men would say that's what the woman would do you know what I'm saying. I'm not trying to be degrading, but absent something is not attracting us men to core things that we should yes do we have time for me to answer that with the story. Sure, you know I'm in the Galapagos Islands on a mission trip years ago and it's this incredible wildlife. You know were swimming with sea lions and there pelicans. It look like prehistoric pterodactyls circulating our potent divebombing for fish and then there these iguanas and long story short I go home I go to the national zoo a couple weeks later and I walk into the eight house and I'm thinking to myself one much more exciting being out in nature and experiencing Canada's wildlife in its natural habitat. In this crazy thought crosses my mind wanders churches do to people what zoos do to animals we cage them and we want to tame them in the name of Christ, and we want to remove the danger and remove the risk. And then I juxtapose that again with the Gospels and the fact that 11 out of the 12 disciples were martyred for their faith. Listen, Jesus didn't die just to keep us safe, died to make us dangerous and I think what happens is when we kinda remove this element of danger. This element of adventure we lose the man in our midst.

Listen. Testosterone is a gift from God, but like anything else, is gotta be sanctified and channeled in a way that glorifies God. I think that happens when we begin to in a sense, re-wild, and I talk about that a little bit in the book we don't have time to go into it, but I think there's a real wilding that God wants to do in our hearts will be good to come back next time. If you can stick with us and we'll talk about that and how manhood in in the family needs to be expressed in your marriage and your parenting cutting it down to some even more practical things but I love this. I've really enjoyed seeing God through John mirror and Limburg and other characters of history that you don't normally associate with a deep connection with Christ.

So Marcus been terrific. Let's do that. Let's come back next time and continue the discussion about playing the man this wonderful book that you've written. Let me turn to the listener. Also, and say today's program highlights. I think the very reason we exist or focus to help you think differently about your relationship with Christ to help deepen your commitment to him to help move you along that journey of spiritual development as a man is a woman as a husband, father those of the things that were trying to equip you with to make you a stronger believer and I think that's worthy of all of our support and if you can help us financially. I want to send you a copy of Mark's great book, play the man as our way of saying thank you for joining the team and touching literally hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for more in this life with Christ. And if you can make a pledge of support on a monthly basis to Focus on the Family we would be really grateful and I will say thank you by sending a copy of Mark's book, play the man if you're not able to commit to a monthly pledge right now will still be happy to send you the book for a donation of any amount when you're online. work, call one 800 K in the word for on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for listening to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time.

As we continue the conversation with Mark Patterson. Once again help you and your family thrive in Christ, I'm here asking people how they could both begin and I don't know maybe love you give and get love that it's also possible that the charitable gift annuity you get a secure source and fixed income and a charitable tax to decks and giving a charitable gift annuity to Focus on the Family family thrive for generations to come.

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