The Heart of a Man
There is a significant difference in the way Christian men live today than the men of the early church. I know this may even upset a lot of people but it’s true of most men in the church.
The men of the early church were radicals, but not the type of radicals that we hear about on social media or in the news. No, these men were radically sold out to Jesus. They were so sold out that they would scold kings and sing to God in the face of certain death. I believe this is the way Jesus wants us to live.
Recently I’ve been reading a book called The Irresistible Revolution and the author, Shane Claiborne, talks about how he wasn’t content with the Christianity he was receiving at church and about the journey he went on to get back to the roots of the church. He lived his life as if he was in the book of Acts himself; He decided to live solely for God. For him that meant spending a year in a leper camp in Calcutta and living in an abandoned cathedral with a community of homeless people. He started living as the early church did: as a lover of Jesus and the radical decisions that come with that.
I don’t think that the goal is to be radically brave or even willing to radically preach the gospel. But I think Jesus’ heart for us, and our lives, is to be radically in love with him and, with that, the rest will follow. Think back to when one of your friends started a new relationship. How often did they tell you even the tiniest little details about the time they spent with them? Why aren’t we like this with Jesus? Why aren’t most men so desperate to tell people about our love of Christ?
The sad truth is that at some point it became weird for men to say, “I am in love with Jesus.” I remember having a conversation with my dad one time. He was telling me his frustration with so many worship songs not engaging men because they were about love. Something I started to question was whether it was the worship song or the heart of the man that limited their engagement. The fact that men are not able to fully express their love for Christ is completely hindering the relationship that God so desired we have with him. Remember how Christ calls us his bride? Mother Teresa once said, “Do not worry about your career. Concern yourself with your vocation, and that is to be a lover of Jesus.” In the book The Irresistible Revolution, Shane talks about how he decided he would change his job title and call himself a ‘vocational lover’ because he understood the relationship that Christ so desires with us.
However this divide is not because men suddenly decided that they don’t want the full relationship with Christ. It’s because, for so long, society distorted what it means to be a man. Men are taught from an early age that to be masculine they need to earn lots of money, have fast cars, sleep with lots of women, and have the biggest muscles. Society has completely divided the idea of God and masculinity. This is why so many men struggle with their identity and end up becoming passive, abusive, or depressed.
John Eldredge wrote a book called Wild at Heart (in my opinion every man should read this book) where he talks about how men, just like women, are created in the image of God. He uses Genesis 1:26-28 to talk about God creating mankind in his image as both male and female. He explains how we are image-bearers of God and how men were made to reflect God’s masculinity. He digs into the core desires of a man’s heart and how that reflect God’s character: the warrior, the adventurer, and the rescuer.
Something I’ve seen recently is that, at some point, something happens that release men to be able to say, “I am radically in love with Jesus.” I cannot pinpoint a specific time or place as I am sure it is different for all. But something happens and it’s beautiful to see so many men starting to live as lovers of Christ. Knowing Christ as your lover and living a life radically loved by Christ allows men to tap into the core desires that Eldredge highlighted and to fully step into their identity as a man of God.
If I had to answer what it means to me to be a man of God, I would say that it means being a radical lover of Christ. This is what strikes at the very core of a man’s heart. It’s what allows us, as men, to get back to the root of Christianity, to live completely sold out for Christ, to scold kings, to sing in the face of certain death, to defeat giants, and to walk on water. A radical lover - a man of God - lives a radical life!