It is the Friday before Easter. This Friday is the day we reflect on the wonder and terror of the cross. The day that Jesus died.
For many this time has not been normal. Worse, for many around the world more suffering has visited them. There are millions around the world suffering from a new strain of coronavirus while there are thousands that have died from it. For many it is a time of uncertainty and difficulty.
For many families it has meant a lot of time together sheltering in place to help slow the spread of the virus as best we can. This means that many families are spending more time together than they ever had to before.
Men: take advantage of the extra time. Do not scourge the time. Love the extra time to learn and grow and serve.
Today, I pray that you would take the time to reflect on the agony and wonder of the cross. Jesus–God the Son–dying in our place for our sin. Then, on Sunday, celebrate the joyful victory that God our Father declared when he raised Jesus from the dead.
In this post I would like to apply some gospel truths to the lives of men. The world, our families, the Church, and our workplaces are in desperate need of godly, Christian men.
So, in this unique time, what is one way God calls men live in this world?
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.John 13:2-5
John 13 has been in my reading plan for passion week. I read this just recently and it stuck out to me. This passage is familiar to many and if it is not, please meditate on it. I encourage you to read the rest of John 13 and learn about the deep truth Jesus taught his disciples in regards to the heart-washing that he would bring to them. But, here I am going to emphasize something different.
Jesus’ whole ministry and life was about bearing burdens. In this living parable one thing Jesus was teaching his disciples to do was to bear burdens for the glory of God. On good Friday Jesus would bear the greatest burden a man has ever born.
Men need to remember Jesus’ example. God calls men to be the kind of men that bear burdens. Jesus was hours away from bearing the greatest burden. He would die on a cross, bearing his Father’s wrath for our sin, in our place. So that we, could enjoy eternal fellowship and joy with God.
Husbands: Godly Men Bearing Burdens
To the married men God is calling us to bear the burdens of being a husband. We must bear them joyfully as Jesus examples for us. Husbands: be courageous and develop a true strength of godly obedience and self-sacrifice. Bearing the burdens of your wife, children, and the responsibilities God has put on you.
What are some ways we can do this during this unique time?
Bear the burden of offering relief with chores and tasks. I have found that men often think that they may have certain kinds of chores or tasks and then their wives have another. While every married couple must figure out the normal pattern of how their life works men should be pro-active to take every opportunity to bear a burden to help your wife. This is an area I continue to strive to grow in.
Bear the burden of offering relief from the children. Children are a joy and a special blessing from God. Children are also a lot of work. Men, spend lots of time with your children regardless of this post and unique time. But, one way to help bear the burdens for your wife is to offer her a break from watching the kids to get that much needed alone time. More than likely, there are times in the rhythm of your life that you can step up and give relief to your wife. Don’t do this to earn something. This is not a contract. It is a marriage. A covenant relationship built on faithful love and commitment.
Bear the burden of enjoying what she enjoys. Quite often we are willing to give up everything but our own down time. But, this down time is not off limits to God. Men, think of your wife and her desires. Seek to match up how you spend your free time with the ways in which she enjoys spending time with you. Of course there is a balance and you and your wife will figure that out. But in terms of your heart, men, look not to your own interests but to the interests of your wife. (Philippians 2) Do not let your own pride determine what you are “willing” to do. This willingness is not always something I have been good at. I pray God continues to grow this in me.
Bear the burden of leading her spiritually. Her heart and relationship with God is of utmost importance. This is not always easy. It means you need to be close to God (or you will have nothing to lead with). It means you need to humbly ask difficult questions and have difficult conversations. It may mean changing habits and leading in this. It may mean leading you and your wife to sacrifice other things to nurture this. It also means encouraging your wife to enjoy relationships outside of the home that also encourage this growth.
In summary, lay down your life for her (Ephesians 5) and wash her feet, daily (John 13).
Single Men: Godly Men Bearing Burdens
If you are not married–what does it look like to bear burdens? So often, calls to men are focused toward married men. For those that are single here are a few things I have thought of to encourage bearing burdens in your life.
The principle that guides me toward single men is this: likely, you have more time, energy, and ability to help those outside of your immediate sphere than anyone else. So, use that for the glory of God.
Bear the burden of being able to more often give up your time in service of the church. So often-gifted, married men are limited by their God-given responsibilities to their families and thus cannot help as much in service to the Church. As a single man, bear this burden. Your church is your family. Now, go out and bear that burden.
Bear the burden of helping families struggling with little or no support. Many families struggle to survive emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Find them, and give up your time to help them. Help a single-mother by being a good and godly “big brother” to her son or daughter. Help a family struggling to make ends meet in spite of how hard they work by babysitting, stopping by with groceries, or simply helping out with chores.
Bear the burden of mission-minded living. It is hard being intentional when you are single. It is hard to learn the practice of sacrifice. Learn it well. Learn to be on mission for God’s glory as much as you can. This will train you well in godliness and prepare you for a family if God has that for you. Enjoy your time by giving it away. This is the joy of gospel-centered, mission-minded, paradoxical godliness. Pursue it for the glory of God.
Men: bear burdens for the glory of God. Look to Jesus, not only our example, but throug the Spirit of God the one who will work this godliness in us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2