by David Wells
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December 6, 2011 – Mere Men
1 However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], 3 For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 AMP
Mere men. That’s what Paul called the men of the church at Corinth. Unchanged men. Men of the flesh. Nonspiritual men. He had tried to teach them a little at the time. He wanted them to grow so they could be ready for more than the basics of a salvation message. But there was still no change in their life. Their behavior was just like that of mere men.
Men in society today have been painted in a variety of ways. There’s the Ray Barones of the world, from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” a popular sitcom a few years back. He’s the clean cut family man, but he runs and hides when things get confrontational. He’s funny, but his wife runs the home. Then there’s the “Fonz” from the old show, “Happy Days.” He is a rebel. Everyone wants to be like him, yet he is not living a godly life. He is unmarried and promiscuous. Neither are accurate portrayals of what godly men should be.
The fact is that God would not have men represented this way in society. Read the Bible. A man is supposed to be the spiritual leader in the home (Ephesians 5:23). A man is supposed to train his children in the ways of God (Ephesians 6:4). A man is supposed to love and be faithful to his wife (Proverbs 5:18, Malachi 2:15). But many times men drop the ball and leave their wives and children alone, both literally and figuratively, to fend for themselves.
Men, you can blame society for your shortcomings. You can blame your own father who didn’t live a godly example for you to follow. You can specifically blame Hollywood for not giving you a positive role model in the absence of your father. But here’s the hard part to swallow. If you have committed your life to Christ and have chosen to live a life uncompromised for God, you have no one to blame but yourself. It’s your fault. Stop blaming past generations. Stop blaming the world. Quit looking for a role model on television. Your solution to your failures is your relationship with God and His Word.
This is where things get dicey for Christian men. You see, society has taught us over the years to look for support groups to help us with our problems. There has to be someone else out there with our problems, right? The solution: attend or form a men’s group at church. These men will all be Christians and we can all share our heart, right? Don’t be deceived. I have been involved with more than one such group over the years and I can tell you from personal experience that they are all surface. The most heart wrenching thing I ever heard come out of those meetings was someone talking about a co-worker confessing to him that he had stolen ink pens from work. There was nothing personal. It was always about someone else. There was nothing ever about being a better husband, father, or even a better Christian. There were plenty of discussion about failures and how they would never get things right. It was always defeat and never victory. The danger in this is that a defeated mindset breeds a defeated mindset. You cannot be with believers who are continually down without being taken there yourself.
Now if you can find someone to confide in that’s great. But it doesn’t have to be another man. My wife Marlo is the one person in my life that I share everything with. For years I failed to share my inmost feelings with her. I didn’t share my life openly with anyone because I viewed it as weakness. If I would let anyone see the real be I would become vulnerable. I took the old saying “Don’t ever let them see you sweat” to a new level. I was a mere man.
The truth is that Christian men are supposed to be different. After God, our wives are first. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. Men do such foolish things as go to a bar with friends after work to watch a ball game. Do you do that? How does that honor your wife? Do you think it honors her because you are not watching the game at home? What are you putting into your body and mind at the bar? Alcohol and lust for starters, just like mere men.
Mere men follow the ways of the world. Society says men are supposed to be tough and macho. But the Bible says we are to be strong, courageous, and loving. Here are a few questions to see where you fit. If your wife calls you on the phone, do you tell her you love her before you hang up regardless of where you are and who is listening? Are you standing in line at the grocery store gawking at magazine covers because you love you wife and only have eyes for her? Do you talk about your children to others like you love them and are proud of them, or are they always preceded by an explicative in conversation? Have you decided to stop living a worldly life and start living uncompromised for God? If the answer to any of these question is no, you could very well be a mere man.
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