Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shallow man

Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice? 
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet. 
She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors...
Proverbs 8:1-3

We are shallow, and we don't care.

As America swirls with greater speed into the porcelain abyss, we get more and more and more talk. We get very little thought and almost no reflection. In the debates that have taken place for a Republican candidate and will certainly come for President and Vice President, the respondents will have 30 seconds to craft an argument. Folks, you can't develop an argument in thirty seconds. You can cough up a sound bite or a hair ball, but a man must build  an argument upon foundations of substance and not propaganda, emotion, and slander.

If we elect substance over form in the coming election, it will only be by God's good grace. Few will do their homework before November.

This past week, I spoke with a young man who had just returned from an overseas mission trip. He said to me, "Mr. Pond, I was amazed because men just don't want to get involved within the church." He meant in the country where he had ministered, but I turned it back on him, "It's not just in foreign lands. In the American church today, it is the women who are hungry for the things of the Lord."

Consider, brothers:

-- Do we know God and his word? (John 17:3)

-- Is his pleasure the most important thing to me in everything that I say and do?

-- Do I even know what his pleasure is? Have I ever read the entirety of his word? Do I feed upon it, study it, and know it?  But I do know how many RBI's Josh Hamilton has.

-- Does my understanding of the world around me pass through the lens of God's word? Do I scrutinize my life and the world around me based upon what God's word says?

In light of that point, I am dumbstruck when I hear Christians talking about the American political process and our government, and the things they say fly in the opposite direction of God's clear proclamations.


-- As a man, how are you serving in your church? What do you do to help the body be the body on a regular basis?

-- Is your pastor bold and unashamed about stepping on your toes, confronting sin in the church, confronting sin in our nation and culture not by standing high atop his pulpit and pointing down in condemnation but by announcing with clarity what God's word says?

-- Has he ever dared preach a message on damnation and salvation? If he has, does he ever not? Does he get past the salvation message to preaching of the full counsel of God's word so that the believer might be equipped to move beyond baptism toward living life in a fallen world in a manner that pleases our God and Savior? 

-- Are we taught and disciplined toward reflecting Christ above all things that we might love him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength?

We say it. We know it. But we do not do it. It's like loving your wife. We might cover the passages in Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3 regarding husbands and say "Oh, yeah," but when it comes to living it out, our legs are as useless as the man beside Bethesda. When Christ commands, "Get up and walk," if we just sit there, our newly strengthened legs avail us nothing.

Wisdom calls aloud in the streets. God is not hiding from us. We know right where to find him.

When I began my first blog, Ripples Across the Pond, I did so to spur on the men of my church. Our discussions over the things of this life in light of God's word seemed to get cut short on Wednesday nights, so I started writing about those things through the lens of God's word to encourage and prod my brothers forward. Today, most of my readership is women.

Our nation's Founders didn't have Call of Duty VIII; they answered the call to duty. They labored hard at their business or at their farm or both, and in the evening, they fed upon God's word and upon great works of literature. They didn't avoid conversations about politics and religion, those were the topics of conversation because those were the things that mattered. These men hammered their ideas and convictions upon the anvil of God's word, and as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), they further honed them in debate and argument with one another.

Husband, if we want to be men that matter in the darkening days our nation's history, we must work. Read well and read deep. Study God's word in all its pages first and foremost, but read widely, too. Read history. Read great fiction. Read great non-fiction.

And then talk. Talk with your family. Talk with other men. Rhetoric has died. "Dude, how you doin'?" is all we can muster. Challenge a brother. Challenge yourself. "Hey, Bob, I'd like to know your thoughts on Paul Ryan as a vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party," and see if you and Bob can discuss it without resorting to slander and name-calling. If you think Barack Obama has tanked the nation, can you explain why in more than three sentences? How does he compare with our Founders' intentions for a Constitutional Republic? How has he stood as a leader in light of God's word?

Brothers, I don't have all the answers, but I ache for men to spur me on. If I desire that, my hope is that other men might desire a kick in the keister, too. I write these missives not for you to enjoy but to move you to love your wife by being the man God has called you to be.

Let us not be shallow men. Let us prepare ourselves so that when God seeks a useful man, he might find us prepared, ready to be used in whatever manner he sees fit.

"Let us strive to think well." ~ Blaise Pascal

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderated. Grace and civility in all things, please.