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When I first married my bride, I partly knew what I was getting into. I knew there would be good and bad times, sickness and health. I knew I would be challenged in my manhood. And I knew God would grow me to look more like Jesus in all aspects of life. I knew the mission of my marriage was to reflect the Gospel.

What I didn’t know was how God would do that. I didn’t know how he would reveal my self-centeredness and my bent towards happiness over holiness. And honestly, I was caught off guard a little bit.

Men, for those of you who are anything like me, you are striving for all God created you to be. However, you fail quite often. Praise God for undeserved grace and forgiveness. How can we learn to put God first in our worship and devotion? In the same manner, we need to give our lives to our wives, families and friends. Let’s chop it up.

1. Notice Passivity

Since the fall, men have struggled with passivity and playing the background (in the wrong way). When the serpent begins to spit game and lie to Eve, Adam is nowhere to be found to combat the lies with truth.

In my six months of marriage, God has been revealing this type of passivity in me. When tough conversations with my wife have been needed, I have found multiple reasons to not have them. This passivity has sometimes masked itself as virtues such as forgiveness, humility and patience. And when it’s hidden under these guises, we fail to address it. Passivity quiets a nagging wife and allows you to avoid the necessary awkward and hard conversations.

2. Reject Passivity

Once the passivity is exposed, like God did for me, we see the need to rid ourselves of it. In Genesis 34, we see this taking place. Dinah is raped and Jacob (her father) does nothing about it. Dinah’s brothers do. They angrily act out towards the rapists. Why did Jacob remain silent and do nothing? Instead of serving his daughter, he became angry that his reputation was threatened. Everything was centered on himself rather than others.

If this is true, then we can describe passivity as: When love of self overpowers the ability to love others.

Jacob was solely focused on himself. His passivity wasn’t anything new, but it took this scenario to expose it. You also might not realize an infestation in your heart until it’s exposed. How do we fight passivity? What is the cure to this epidemic causing disaster in marriages and families?

3. Example of Jesus

God’s ideal man never dealt with passivity. Sin isn’t only the presence of bad things, but it’s also the absence of good. And Jesus never struggled with passivity because his heart was full of compassion. Compassion and action leads to the absence of passivity. Compassion is a love for others that overpowers a love for myself.

When we look at Jesus in the gospels, we see plenty of times when he had compassion on the crowd. Instead of focusing on self, he considered others and loved them.

4. Accept Responsibility

When God created Adam, he gave him responsibility over the whole garden (Genesis 2:15), including naming the animals (Genesis 2:20). He also had dominion over the entire earth and was given a cultural mandate to subdue and cultivate the land. God also gave Adam the responsibility of taking care of the woman and leading her in obedience to God. Notice God never tells Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He left it up to Adam to do so as the man and head of his wife.

Are you running from any God-given responsibilities? What is causing you to run? Fear? Anxiety? What actions can you take to accept this responsibility and trust God?

Who are you blaming for your sin? It better not be anyone. When God called Adam after he sinned, Adam blamed his wife. Take responsibility for your own sin. Don’t hide it; confront it.

5. Invest Eternally

This life isn’t everything, and it won’t last. When you die and stand in front of God, a lot of things will not matter. Jesus was not just living for his earthly life, but for eternity. An example of this can be found in Luke 12:15-21:

He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” 

This man was rich on earth, but didn’t have any heavenly treasures. When he died, none of his riches on earth truly mattered. Rather than doing the same, let’s invest eternally by:

Focusing more on the future than the now. Eternity is forever long, while this life is but a vapor. Strive to do things that have eternal significance, so when we meet our King on that great day, we will not shrink back in regret.

6. Lead Courageously

The definition of courageous is to not be deterred by danger or pain.

To be deterred by danger or pain is to be fearful. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” This does not mean danger is not real or the odds are not against us, but more so that we have no real reason to fear because we serve a God who controls everything.

Taking initiative is a big part of leading courageously. Isaiah 59:16 says, “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.” Jesus left his throne in heaven and took initiative in our salvation. He did this while knowing the anguish, pain, rejection and death he would taste. He knew the redemptive outcome – his resurrection, our repentance.

Final Thoughts

This is what we were created to do. And there are multiple ways that I can model this more with my wife and the friends I hang around. I’m praying for God’s grace to continually transform me inside out. Men, join me in this prayer to fight against the current laziness and boyish ways of the culture and stand on God’s truth.

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