I recently watched a video of gospel artist Lacrae, teaching a sermon about what it means to be a “real” man. He pointed out that men had the responsibility to choose to follow one or the other: the old Adam (as talked about in Genesis) or the new Adam (Jesus Christ). The difference in the two is how they handled the assignment delegated to them by God.
Of course, following the examples set by Jesus Christ is the answer; but, what does that mean? Lacrae pointed out three character traits of Christ that men should follow: Avoid being passive, take responsibility and lead with courage.
Let me explain some of the background. Lacrae submitted that when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, in his passiveness, Adam stood by and watched Eve pick and bite the fruit. To make matters worse, Adam then bit the fruit himself. When God questioned Adam about their actions, Adam blamed Eve for picking, biting and feeding him the fruit and he blamed God for giving him Eve. Adam did not take any responsibility. Adam had an instruction from God – even after Eve bit the fruit, Adam should have lead by example by not biting it.
While Lacrae used men and their role in a marriage and family as his example, this message really applies to all of us in our spiritual journey.
This message resonated with me on so many levels. I attribute my connection with the message to the spirit of discernment that God has gifted me. We can hear from God through others when we study, meditate and pray back the word of God; in our work, we are able to hear his voice and receive his instructions more clearly.
Through this message God revealed several things to me. First, we have gotten too comfortable talking about, judging and labeling others. We may see our observatory comments as small things but God revealed that the small things too can be the wolves in sheep clothing. When we talk about, judge and label people, it is equivalent to us repeating Adam and Eves mistakes all over again. We have to be obedient, we cannot be passive, we have to take responsibility and we should be courageous in our leadership.
The next thing God revealed to me is that we have gotten too comfortable with following “man’s” tradition. There are so many “good” messages available to us that we do not always seek the word (through the Bible and through the still small voice) of God. We allow the clever delivery of psychology, philosophy and sociology to brand our lives. We use our remedial intellect (compared to God’s intellect) to decipher who we should be and what we should do; worse than that, we hold others to the same remedial standard. We are often frustrated when the lives of others do not reflect what we thought it should. We subtract from the net worth of our purpose and the purpose of others when we circumvent God’s way for our own.
Another thing God reminded me of was Matthew 18: 12-14 12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish”
He reminded me that we do not have the right to see ourselves as separate from those who have gone astray nor do we have a right to leave them behind. Functioning or not, we are ALL members of the body of Christ. Some of us may be suffering from spiritual paralysis but we are still very much a part of this body – God does not will to lose even one of us. We can never be FULLY functional in the body of Christ until we understand that we cannot be ok with leaving someone to their own devices – we should always pray for them, no matter how tired we get.
In our physical body when we have been injured and unable to use our limbs for a while we have to go through physical therapy. It is the same in the spiritual sense – a part of our body has not been functional for a while and it has to go through spiritual therapy. We who are whole must pray for the part of the body that is just learning to move again.
I know that it is tempting to speak and act out of frustration; however, we have to learn to take every frustration and concern to God in prayer. We have to learn to speak to and about one another in love. We must see that even a small indiscretion and a slight step from God’s path is an opening for the enemy to cause destruction.
Where it concerns relationships, God gave me this word for you….
Men – I want to encourage you that as the providers you must understand that the amount of money you make or do make, does not determine your status as the head of the household. God has already decided that the position belongs to you. This privilege comes with a weighty responsibility. You are there to PROVIDE a spiritual covering for your household by submitting to God. This means that whatever decisions are made, should be made based on God’s direction and not your ego. You should talk with your wife and get her input so that you two can be in agreement about what it is that you are laying before God. As one, what is your petition?
I want to encourage you by reminding you that marriage is a ministry. Each marriage has something unique to offer to the body of Christ. Ask God what your marriage should be. Stop discounting your marriage to gender roles and stereotypes. Support her vision and feed her spirit. If God has called her to open a business and called you to be at home – be obedient. If he has called you to work two jobs while your wife to stays at home, do not complain – be obedient. You only come up short when you are outside of God’s will.
See yourself as the leader. If your wife is not acting in her Godly nature that is not a free ticket (I know it is hard) for you to stop being who God called you to be. YOU STILL HAVE TO LOVE HER THE WAY CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH! After all, you married her. Do not be manipulative or deceitful. BE THE Leader. Be the first to do right. Stay before God and watch her follow.
If you are a man who is not yet married, I want to encourage you to stop feeding your lower nature with the double standards of society. GIVE GOD YOUR HEART (that is not only for women) be KINGDOM WORTHY so that God can bestow you the honor of having a Kingdom. Be a leader who is not afraid to follow – follow Christ. Seek other men of God to be friends with. You dishonor God when you make excuses for the frailness of your integrity. Just because a woman dresses a certain way and acts a certain way, does not mean that you should call her out. Instead, pray for her. When Christ saw a woman who was promiscuous he did not judge and call her out in front of people – he spoke life into her. He was forgiving towards her. Follow that example.
Men – the enemy wants you to distrust other men and discount women. He understands that when brothers in Christ get together that they can cultivate and make use of every resource and will defy all odds to ensure that the covenant with God is sustained. He wants you to discount women because he understands that if you plant and cultivate a seed of greatness in her she will protect and birth your vision from her spiritual womb.
One last word men: A woman does not have to “let a man be a man” because a man understands that who he is, is not based on her action or inaction.
Women – I want to encourage you that when God decided that “it is not good for man to be alone,” he created woman. In the words of Minister Martha Barnes “you are the answer” that God provided. You have been given the position of Help mate. You may have the ability to lead and at times you may be called to be a leader but if you are married, your husband is the head of the house. Do not make it hard on your husband by being hard to lead. It is your spiritual responsibility to pray for him, speak well of him, support his vision and help him to carry out the will of God.
Remember – you married him. So if he is acting out of his godly nature it is not okay for you to shut down and check out. You still have to be totally present. So, if he lacks vision? Start praying. If he is not submitted to God – start praying. If he is lazy and unproductive – start praying. What you DO NOT DO is disrespect him. Stop bad mouthing him to your friends and family. Stop being disrespectful. Quit trying to manipulate him to be who YOU want him to be and start praying for him to be all that GOD wants him to be. GOD IS THE ULTIMATE NURTURER HE KNOWS BETTER THAN YOU.
If you are a single woman, I want to encourage you as well to stop feeding your lower nature with the double standards of society. You are more than your sexuality so stop using that as your admission ticket. Stop manipulating people to get what you want. GIVE GOD YOUR HEART and let him provide. Do not miss your right-now blessing for your future hope. Get your head out of the cloud of somebody else’s life. If you want to be treated like a Queen – treat yourself, even when nobody else will.
The enemy wants you to hate other women and distrust men. The enemy understands that when women of God stand together with a collective goal we press into God until we get what God has shown us in the spirit. The enemy understands that when we, as women, see and learn to trust the God in a man we are willing to provide the land of our spiritual womb to protect and nurture him and his vision until it is time for birth.
Ladies remember: God did not create you to just be ornamental you are supposed to be functional as well. Who you are is more important than what you look like.
That is all God has given me permission to write so….*drops the mic and walks off the stage*