5. bold and brave image-bearers

Men are designed to be IMAGE-BEARERS.

The final aspect of masculinity is seen in the fact that men are the glory of God.  “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26)  Here we come full circle.  To be made in God’s image is to be a dominioneer or lord like him over the earth.

As an image-bearer we are representative of God, responsible to God, and reflect God to the world around us, namely our closes relationships.  “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” (1 Cor. 11:7; cf. v.3; Eph. 5:23-24)

What is the significance of a man leaving his head uncovered before God represent?  Just as the woman covers her head to respect man, the man uncovers his head to show there is nothing between him and God.  Man uncovered respects God position and authority.  An uncovered head is a symbolic gesture that takes the hat or crown from man’s head and honoring the hat or crown upon the King of kings.

It is the image of God that man bears and no other.

Us men are prone to bear many images.  We sport jersey with our favorite team, we wear polo’s with our company name, we represent our roles as parents or grandparents with special t-shirts.  Yet the most important image we bear is God’s.  It’s an image you can’t wear.  It’s what you are.  You are a walking, talking billboard of God’s glory.

Putting this all together, we should have a good idea of where we are going or where we are to go.  Throughout the remainder of Genesis we see Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph struggling to adhere and apply these aspects.  Men are lords—lovingly conquering and subduing, husbandmen—patient and hardworking, saviors—hating and fighting evil, sages—learning from the wise, and image-bearers—worship with our heads uncovered.  Together those aspects show us what biblical masculinity looks like.  I want to look like that.  You too must want to look like that.  With God’s power we can.

DISCUSS:

  • How does man reflect the image of God and woman the image of man? 
  • What does it mean for a man to worship God with his head uncovered, but for a woman to worship God with her head covered? 

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers
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4. sages seeking wisdom

Men are expected to grow in wisdom, becoming SAGES.

Wisdom is something men and women want from day one.  We just go to find her in the wrong place or we listen to the wrong voice,  “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:4-6)

Chad has a respect for elders, authority, and wisdom passed down from men.  This is something absent from Western society.  In fact, authority and trusting the previous generation is forsaken. When making decisions in Chadian culture or whenever I enter a new town I will consult with the sage.  He is usually the oldest, wisest, and must trusted person in the village.  This man typically has white whiskers, sits on a mat most of the day, and is resolves disputes or gives out advice to a myriad of situations.

Wisdom in Scripture is personified as a Lady.  Boys and men are called to listen to her.  As you read Proverbs, particularly the first nine chapters you see that wisdom is a woman who disciplines boys.  When a man has grown up under Lady Wisdom and trusts her words he becomes a sage.

Proverbs is written for men and boys.  There are two things King Solomon emphasizes over and over to his son that are often struggles and for men.  First, be teachable (Prov. 1:7-8; 2:1; 3:1-2, 20; 4:1-3, 10, 20; 5:1; 6:20-21; 7:1-3).  Men are called to be students of many things: students of their wives (1 Pt. 3:7); students of their children (Eph. 6:4); students of God (1 Peter 4:1-5; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Psalm 119:9ff).  Second, be a good listener (13:1; 19:27).  Selective hearing starts as a boy, but men grow into it too.  Third, be thoughtful (e.g. instruction on women, folly, discipline, work, companionship, etc.).

A Christian man thinks.  He seeks lady wisdom.  He is to be a sage that other come from a far to hear.

DISCUSS:

  • What does wisdom look like? 
  • Why is wisdom an aspiration seldom achieved? 
  • At what age do men often become unteachable?  
  • In what domains to men need to be better learners, listeners and thinkers? 
  • What can you do to grow in those areas?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

3. saviors delivering from evil

Men are equipped to be SAVIORS, delivering from evil.

Men have a deep desire to deliver and save.  Men have a deep desire to defend something; to represent someone in battle.  That is why we are drawn to the examples of William Wallace and Maximus.

Jesus is the great example of a Savior.  His deliverance was promised from the beginning of creation, “The Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he (Jesus) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:14-15)

The serpent—dragon—was the tempter and deceiver that tricked Adam and Eve to sin.  God promised here a curse on the serpent, and in that curse we see the salvation of the world.

Men who follow Jesus follow the dragon slayer.  Jesus has promised to you he is defeated and he has promised you all the weapons you need to defend the serpent until Jesus delivers his final blow.

The Christians man is not a pacifist.  The battle is not over.  There is a Chadian proverb that says, “The camel is running and you bring luggage?” Which means, do not speak about reconstruction if the war is not over.  The Christian man is an activist for the kingdom of Christ to reign in this world, in his life, marriage, and family.  The Chadian also say, “You cannot collect fruit, sitting in a shade.” Meaning: You need to suffer in order to enjoy the fruit of your work or fight. In other words, “No pain no gain”. The peace that our Prince promises was fought for by his blood.  Jesus sacrificed himself in the war.  He laid down his life as an example for you to continue in his armor.

I have seen this battle through new eyes living in Chad.  The challenges and transitions of living in a new place were like adding miracle grow on my sin.  I didn’t realize how angry, impatient, and self-serving I was.  Same struggles in new skin.  I was on enemy turf and the dragon doesn’t go down easily.

In the Scripture, God calls us to fight evil on two fronts.  First, God charges us to fight tolerated sin or open sin.  It is the sin which we know we often do but confess we don’t want to do.  Second, God charges us to fight secret sin.  Why fight secret sin?  Because God is omniscient and omnipresent and holy.  Secret sin is built on a false theology of God.  He sees all and knows all (Num. 32:23; Heb. 4:13; Lk. 12:1-3).  God is invasive and he hates sin.  Secret sin is only temporary secret sin. Tolerating a little secret sin is like being a little bit pregnant (2 Sam. 11:3-4, 14-15).  You can’t tolerate too much before it is seen.  Sin breeds sin.  Hidden sin breeds more hidden sins.  Until it becomes too big to handle or manage.  Hidden sin grows and as it grows it becomes a form less pleasant than the sin originally was.  In other words, the initial sin commits other sins it didn’t intend to commit.  If not stopped it will destroy.

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  The principle is this: What I cover, God uncovers, but what I uncover, God covers with his mercy.

I have learned a lot about saviors and warriors living among the northern Chadians.  I have heard many stories about bravery in battle.  The people are a warrior people group.  They pride themselves on their toughness.  They train their children to defend themselves from a young age.  They enjoy find strength through testing, challenges and competitions of strength and endurance.   The way to their heart is stories about courage, victory and doing what is needed.

What is needed for Christian men is to band together with other men.  The I-can-do-this-on-my-own mentality is a quick way to die.  That is to drink diesel fuel.  Men need other men.  Jesus is the only hero who can do it alone.  He made us to need community.  When sin is wounding you fight with you Band of Brothers,

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

“Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

DISCUSS:

  • What are the characteristics of a savior? (strong, sacrificial, courageous, good) 
  • What do you learn about being a savior from Jesus? 
  • Why must men never keep their guard down from sin? 
  • How is having a wartime mentality necessary for men? 
  • What are common tolerated sins for men? 
  • Why is their healing in confessing your sins to God AND other men?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

2. tillers tending to the earth

Men are fitted as HUSBANDMEN, tilling the earth.

Where does the term husbandmen come from?  It is a farming term.  It is one who tills the land.  A husbandman gets his hands dirty and works the earth to make something of it. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15)

Man was created, not only to conquer new worlds, but to make those worlds grow and flourish.  If being a man stopped at being lords and dominioneers we would simply be pirates or marauders.  But God called us also to settle the earth—to settle gardens, families, and towns—to tend and keep it.

One of my favorite things to do is to putter in the yard.  It’s almost therapeutic.  I love to make my yard look beautiful.  I like to make my plants grow strong and healthy.  I haven’t been so successful yet in the southern Sahara desert, but give me a few years and I will.

Some of the best gardeners are men.  It’s in a mans blood to till and cultivate; to work hard.

Cain is identified as the first farmer (Genesis 4:2). A tiller or farmers is closely associated with God in Scripture, since it is God who works closely with him in producing the crops.  So it is with domain God gives you.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mk. 4:26-29) And, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt. 9:37-38)

Jesus teaches us that God produces the success. Us men are simply called to work the field–to keep it and to tend it.

DISCUSS:

  • How is a farmer or tiller a fitting example of biblical masculinity?  
  • What are characteristics of a good husbandman, farmer or gardener? (patient, careful, hard-working; trust God for results) 
  • What terrains or domains does God place men to till? 
  • What does that tilling look like from day to day or season to season?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

 

1. lords of the earth

Before taking a road trip it is a good idea to know where you are going.  Have you ever just got in a car and thought, “I don’t need to plan, I think I know the way”?  That is not a good idea in Chad.

I have a friend who drove a bus or semi through the Sahara desert from Sudan to Libya.  He worked with a team of chauffeurs who knew the sand covered road well.  They’d pack double the amount of food, fuel, and spare parts they thought they’d need.  They knew the route well.  They even buried barrels of water every 50 kilometers along the route in case of future emergencies.  One trip he saw an abandoned bus that had broken down.  It wasn’t broken down long, but in the desert you may not see another vehicle on the road for weeks.  What he saw shocked him.  There were 80 people dead.  The little food they had was scattered about, but they got so thirsty they drank the diesel fuel.  They were desperate.  What they thought would prolong their life only shortened it.

I have been lost in the bush once at night.  It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life.  My trust was in a bush taxi driver and his knowledge of the bush roads, which are almost like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Thankfully I am here to tell you about the adventure!

Sometimes life as a man can feel a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Yet it is a good idea to know where we are going.  It’s not wise to think,  “I don’t need a plan. I think I know the way.”   What men end up doing is drinking the diesel fuel of their cultures definition of a man and dying a quick death.  God doesn’t want you to be dead, but alive.  Let’s be sure we know God’s idea of manhood and masculinity.

We will look at Five Aspects of Biblical Masculinity from the beginning chapters of Genesis.  While this isn’t an exhaustive list it is a basis for understanding God’s idea where a man should be going.  When these are neglected or resisted the consequences for you, your marriage, and you family are very harmful. Today we will explore the one aspect and the next 2-weeks we’ll discover the other four.

Men are created to exercise LORDSHIP over the earth.

Man was created to exercise dominion in the earth (Gen. 1:26-28).

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth

These verses describe WHO created us, WHY we were created, HOW we were created, and WHAT we were created for.  God created the world but He mandated that men be the dominioneers over the world that God created.  That doesn’t mean we are the lords and everyone or everything else is the serf or peasant.  That is domineering, God’s idea is dominioneering.

Did you have a fort or tree fort as a boy?  My first fort was in a willow tree.  It was low to the ground but well hidden.  There is something within every boy and man to want to conquer and subdue.  As a boy the terrain might begin in the backyard, but as a man that terrain expands to endless places.

In Genesis, the domain starts in the garden with man.  Adam is set there to take care of the garden, name the animals and walk with God.  The domains gradually expand to a woman, children, family, field (work), nation, and heart. The amount of domains to care for can be complicated for most men. For many Western men the Lazy-Boy and office are their easiest domains, while they struggle to have lordship over the other domains.

I see the abuse and neglect of the lordship mandate at its extremes everyday in Africa.  Many African men can be passive, distant, self-righteous, abusers, and womanizers.  Women in Africa have a very hard life.  They carry the wood, cut the wood, carry the water miles from the well to their home, till the hard earth, care for their children while their husbands are gone for weeks and months at a time.  All the while the majority of the men do as little work as possible.  The same man will complain to me that their life is very hard and they have no money.

Men were made for more than this.  God-hardwired within men is a desire to conquer and subdue.  Yet countless men abuse it or neglect that desire.  Some will say that man’s responsibility to exercise dominion ended with the Fall, but that is not true since God repeats the mandate again after the flood (Gen. 9:1-3).  While sin seriously affects our ability to fulfill this command, it doesn’t remove the responsibility placed on you by the command.

Jesus repeats the mandate himself when he said in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth (his domains) has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (your domain), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Men, your mandate is to conquer and subdue the world, the office, the home, your marriage for Jesus name.  You are lords of the earth following the Lord of the earth.  As you let him be Lord of your life, you will be a better lord over your domains.

DISCUSS:

  • How do see men abusing or neglecting the mandate to be lords over the earth? 
  • Where are the most difficult terrains for men to gain lordship and why? 
  • What do you learn from God about the right way to exercise lordship or dominion?  
  • How is a Christian man even more responsible to be a lord of the earth? 
  • What would you share with the African man I meet?