After many years of ministry to men, it is clear to me how simple men are. They are all threatened with the same basic man-killers. That's one thing I like about working with men. They are not complex.
While the problems of men are simple and easily identifiable, most men believe that their problems are unique to them. They think they are blazing a trail on an uncharted mountain of threats – that no one has experienced quite like they are experiencing it. I am here to tell you, this is a lie. It's an effective lie, because it softens the pain of failure with the legendary uniqueness of their own personal struggles. In contrast, the apostle Paul said, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). I've discovered that what plagued the heroes of the Bible, men throughout church history, and the men I know in 21st century America are all basically the same. Below is my list of five man-killers. They are wreaking havoc on our churches and leaving families virtually fatherless all around us.
They are constantly harassed by fear because their god is not big enough to deliver them. They do not really believe that God is sovereign, so they are constantly obsessing over the threats to their security. They exist in a constant state of low-grade discomfort about themselves and what might happen to them. They are unhappy dads and discontented husbands. They are lousy leaders and no fun to be around. They suck the joy out of the room – and the hearts of wives and children.
Men, disarm this killer with joy and a vision of the sovereignty of God. Rejoice in a God who "did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32). Remember the words of Christ: "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matt. 6:27-30). Remember your Father in heaven who said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). Remember King David who declared, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed" (Ps. 46:1-2).
They are overtaken by lust because they have refused to starve the dragon of lust. Instead, they feed that dragon enough tidbits to keep him alive and always waiting in the wings. This kind of man struggles with pornography because he has not had the resolve to deprive his eyes and ears of impure things. They watch movies that aren't "that bad" and listen to songs that aren't "that good" and as a result the dragon is strong and ready to devour. The fires of lustful passion are always smoldering ready to burst into flames at any time.
Men, neutralize this man-killer by starving him into impotence. Trust the Word of God and take action, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you." (Matt. 5:27-30). "Flee sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18). And, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things" (Phil. 4:8). Remember the words of Solomon in Proverbs 5:8: "Do not go near the door of her house." Victory over lust is not just simply staying out of bed with the harlot, it is depriving yourself from thoughts of her house all together.
Most men struggle with anger. They are angry with their wives, bosses, pastors, brothers, and friends. They never learned that all of life is exposure to imperfect people. God keeps sending imperfect people into their lives, and they are angry about it. They never learned how to love those imperfect people. They are always disappointed in someone. They are one-way perfectionists. They demand perfection from others but are oblivious to their own flaws. They never understood that God sends these people to them for their sanctification, not to stroke their egos. It has not occurred to them that God sent these inadequate people in order to teach them what love is. They are clueless that God desires to magnify His grace and mercy through them.
Men, put down this man-killer by remembering the way God would have us think of others. "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 4:31). Obey Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." Remember the servant who was forgiven much in Matthew 18:23-35. After the servant was generously forgiven for the massive debt, which he owed to his master, he went straight out and started strangling his fellow servant over a miniscule debt. Don't let this be the story of your life.
Many men are feminists at heart. They have "PMS" – "Passive Male Syndrome." Except with men, it is not isolated to once a month. They get there honestly by simply growing up in a culture that is breathing feminist air.
Their brains have been pickled in feminist juices for so long that they don't even know how deeply their thinking has been saturated. From the time of their birth, they have been steeped in feminism via the media and their pagan education.
When you breathe feminist air all your life as most of us have, it is almost impossible to be a real man. There are many symptoms. For example, men won't lead. They won't teach. They won't exhort their wives. They are afraid of their daughters. They won't restrain their children. They are not willing to die for anything. They think, "Nothing is that important anyway. Hand me the remote."
Men, silence this man-killer by rising up to uphold God's design for men and women. "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man" (1 Cor. 11:3). Remember that this condition is a sign of a culture in collapse, "As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them" (Isa. 3:12). "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27). Men, do your job regardless of what the culture has told you. Stop being ashamed of what you are. Stand up and act like a man.
God has created men to play a role in this world that is easily abdicated – easily handed off to someone else. Men have been given specific jobs. Men are appointed by God to be the lover of their wives and the teachers of their children. Nonetheless, they are disconnected from their wives because they are going in different directions. They live separate lives. They are not teaching their children because they are obsessed with their own pleasures (usually technology or sports or both). They do not walk and talk and live alongside their children because their attentions are elsewhere. That world out there – outside their families – is bigger and more important to them, so they abdicate the primary for the secondary. They can get away with this one for their whole life long, and no one will confront them about it. The church won't say a peep. Their friends give them a pass.
Abdication is different from the other four man-killers in this sense: the first three will eventually grab him by the neck and throw him to the ground and destroy him.
Abdication and even feminism will not be so obvious. These are the most socially acceptable man-killers. However, as it turns out, while they may seem unscathed, it will result with their wives and children being grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground.
Men, nuke this man-killer by recovering and establishing your role in the world. Rise up as the shepherd and teacher of your wife and children (Eph. 5:22-34; 6:1-4). Scripture is clear about the terrifying implications of not leading and guarding your own home. Remember God's words to Eli, the unfaithful father: "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them" (1 Sam. 3:13). God says in Deuteronomy 5:29, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!"
Death to the Man-killers
These five man-killers are always lurking at the door of every man's heart.
Thankfully, there is only one solution for a man. With one blow the man-killers are knocked unconscious. It is the heart of the matter. This one thing destroys the ache of fear, weakens the dragon of lust, soothes the burnings of anger, incinerates feminism, and turns the hearts of fathers to their children. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 22:35-40:
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
This is the heart of the matter: the power of Gospel-love! Loving the Lord your God with all your heart is a summary of the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It presents a clear statement about what is means to be a Christian. It describes the essence of genuine spiritual life. It is the foundation of all true faith. It exposes the centrality of love in the Bible. It explains the Gospel. It neutralizes man-killers.