If God is gracious, in the next few weeks I’ll be stating some ruminations about how Christian guys should behave with women, if for no other reason than to avoid my mistakes, and to make it easier for my sisters in the faith as they have to deal with us guys.
After listening to the address by CJ Mahaney available online here, though, I realized that I had to begin with something different. As was pointed out to me, I realized that I need to support anything I say by way of criticism with the strength, humility, and unshakable foundation of the grace of God. Like Paul in his opening to Corinthians, I thank God for the gifts and blessings I have seen in his work in those around me, andI am especially thankful for the hope that gives me, based in the faithfulness of God.
Essentially, before I seek to punch holes in an edifice I see as needing some alteration, I need to erect a pillar of grace to keep intact those things that God is actually doing in the very things I seek to critique. Indeed, I need to also remember where I stand in making these observations, again in the grace of a God who called me to where I am, and who in a thousand ways strengthens me.
God is clearly at work in the men of these generations. I have been blessed to be exposed to many peers who honestly seek God, and seek to grow in His grace. I remember the guys who held me accountable as we met Sunday mornings in a coffee shop in Seoul before Church many years ago, and how they impelled and corrected me to be a more Godly man.
I think of the young male Christian leaders I see at my university (whether they are in leadership roles or not) and how they model both gentleness and strength in the way they seek to live lives worthy of their calling on campus. I think of the male leaders in my Church, who model Godly family relationships, quiet strength and the desire and ability to seek God, His Righteousness, and His truth in the Church and in the world. I think of the many dads I know who are bringing up their children in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
I am truly awed by the grace that God has granted me in knowing these men, and for showing me the smallest glimpse of how He is working in their lives.
In each case, I see the work of God’s Spirit in their lives. As I write any form of scriptural advice on what I see as real problems, I want to first affirm that I see God at work. Since I see God at work, I can be confident that God will work all of these things out well, presenting us all faultless before Himself, because He has begun a work in those around me, and God is unshakably faithful. The Christian men I know are called of God, and God has never ever failed.
So, as I think on the many things I can say about how men like me can improve, I begin by saying as Paul did, that I am thankful to know you and that “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor 1:9)