By Pastor Rob Bloss
Father’s Day is this weekend. It’s a bitter-sweet day for me. Even after 45 years, I still miss my dad. I also grieve the ways I’ve fallen short as a father over the past 30+ years. But the scales are definitely tipped in favor of the overwhelming joy and blessing of being dad to four amazing kids. They are a gift from God, and I can think of few things I pray about and want more than God’s best for each of them.
Men, have you ever pondered this question: “What does a woman want and a family need?” My first thought to that question is that I really have no idea! But qualified or not, here it goes. I think the answer is a man, a good and godly man.
It’s an easy answer, but I know from experience that it doesn’t just happen. A lot of men act like, think like, and/or talk like boys. I feel like that could occasionally describe me well into my adult years. I’m not making excuses, but in retrospect I can see how my growing up was stunted by circumstances and choices.
Do you agree that the journey to authentic biblical manhood is tough? That it’s confusing? Men who tell me they have taken that journey without difficulty and without casualties, I believe are deceiving themselves.
Women want a man. Families need men, real men, instead of the kind we see either hyped or mocked by the media. They want a man to protect, provide, care, lead, and love them. In Eph. 5:25 men are given a command, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” What woman wouldn’t want a man like that! A man who loved them like that!
John Eldridge writes in his book, Wild at Heart, that every man’s greatest fear is that he might be found out, to be discovered an imposter, and not really a man. All humans bear the image of God. God created us as male and female. (Gen. 5:2) And he gives us what we need to be who we were created to be. We don’t have to pose, pretend, put on masks, or hide in fear, but we do need to grow up.
How do we become the men, the sacrificial servant-leaders, God has called us to be? How do we make sure we are not distorting or abusing the role, or abdicating the biblical role, or hiding behind a false front because we feel like we fall so short? Truly only by His grace and by surrendering and submitting to Christ!
In I Corinthians 13:11 it says…”When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.” Kids are not able to figure that the sun and the moon don’t revolve around them. Men are supposed to know this. “When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Acting like a man means developing a non-anxious presence that sees the big picture, remains calm in a crisis, and won’t cave under pressure. Godly men respond; they don’t react. Any kid can get into meaningless scrap on the playground, but we all need to grow up someday.
That is what's supposed to happen. Boys are supposed to become men. We are supposed to grow up even as Christ grew up, and to love our wives even as Christ loved the church.
Growing up is hard. It’s a process. Becoming a man is a journey, and unfortunately for many of us, we didn’t get a lot of help from those around us to take the steps on the path to manhood. What is supposed to be taught and caught is difficult because how can a dad who never grew up himself, raise a boy into manhood?
This doesn’t mean we become a superhero! We are called to strength and stability, but that does not mean we don’t feel things deeply and struggle profoundly. Our wives and our sons and daughters don’t need ironman. They want a man who is open and vulnerable and leaning on the Lord. None of us is everything the Lord calls us to be. We all stumble. We all sin. Acting like a man, doesn’t mean “acting”. It means to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of Christ. It’s submitting to Christ and finding our strength under His control.
As we celebrate Fathers this weekend, let’s give thanks for our perfect Father in heaven who wants nothing less than His best for His kids.