Father's Day 2019 Masculinity that Reflects the Image of God

Father's Day 2019 Masculinity that Reflects the Image of God
There's no place for toxic masculinity in the life of a man who follows the example Jesus set.

Genesis 1:26-27 (NCV)
 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. And let them rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the tame animals, over all the earth, and over all the small crawling animals on the earth.“
So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God, he created them. He created them male and female.

Each Gender, male and female, reveal character qualities of God. Human beings reflect, no matter how poorly, the image of the Creator. Since today is Father’s day, I would like to focus our attention on how the male is created in the image of God, how sin has maligned that image, how society is now demonizing males and fathers in general and how the power of the Holy Spirit can redeem and restore and raise a male into a man that will indeed again reveal the character of God.

In the beginning, the theological story of our origins, God is the cause. God creates a sentient being, one that is response-able to Him like the angles.

Genesis 2:7 (NCV)
Then the Lord God took dust from the ground and formed a man from it. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nose, and the man became a living person.

In this material world, this being, this man, is created in such a way as to be able to commune with God, to know God, to walk with God, to talk with God. Man is created in perfection, nothing in the man is broken, nothing out of alignment, nothing that was not intended. The Man is to be God’s ambassador to the creation. The man is tasked with caring for the earth, the Garden that is in Eden, the Man is to work the land, love the land, and be responsible for its wellbeing.

Genesis 2:15 (NCV)
The Lord God put the man in the garden of Eden to care for it and work it.

Being created in the image of God the man is endowed with free will, the freedom to choose. That is an awesome responsibility. Love requires freedom. Love cannot be coerced, love relationships must willingly be entered into and willingly maintained. God made it possible for the man to maintain the relationship in which the man was created.

Genesis 2:16-17 (NCV)
The Lord God commanded him, “You may eat the fruit from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil. If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!“

It is my speculation that human beings were created in such a way that they would never die. Life is drawn from God, to be separated from God is like a flourishing plant that is cut off from water, it slowly withers and dies. We should note that this command to refrain from this certain tree is given to the man. The man is held in account by God.

The origins story continues: God saw that the Man was incomplete, the humanity had something missing, or more accurately someone was missing; a suitable companion.

Genesis 2:22 (NCV)
The Lord God used the rib from the man to make a woman, and then he brought the woman to the man.

The rib, is a symbol of alongside, not from the skull that the woman should be the ruler of man, not from the foot that the woman should be subservient to the man, but from the side, a symbol of equal partnership in the stewardship of the Creation. “The male, full of love, in his tender, strong, moral leadership in relation to the woman; and the woman, full of love, in her joyful, responsive support for man’s leadership. No belittling from the man, no groveling from the woman. Two intelligent, humble, God-entranced beings living out, in beautiful harmony, their unique and different responsibilities.”

A pre-Fall characteristic of all humanity was transparency and equality.

Genesis 2:25 (NCV)
The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.

You can’t get more transparent than naked. Nothing to hide from one another, no secrets necessary, no desires but to love each other, no guilty conscience, no lies, no misrepresentations. Each equally valuable, each worthy of dignity, respect, and love. Yet with this one caveat, the man created first is the one God holds first accountable for the team’s stewardship of the Creation.

In the Garden, there are four key relationships that humanity enjoyed. There is a relationship between God and the Man, the Man and the Woman, The Man and the Earth and the Man with Himself. The nature of the created relationships was love, love free from egoism. When I use the term egoism I am not using in the same sense as Freud’s contribution to psychology with his thoughts about the ego. Egoism is selfishness, self-centeredness, self-deification, self-rule. The Greek word is kata sarkos , and scholars over the centuries have translated the word to mean the flesh, the sin nature, the sinful self. Egoism is the principle within that desires autonomy, self-governance. Left unchecked egoism motivates you to do what you want when you want, the way you want, no matter the consequences for yourself or for others. Logically for there to be the choice to love, there is also the choice not to love. Egoism is the choice not to love.

Temptation awakened egoism.

Genesis 3:4-6 (NCV)
But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!“ The woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that its fruit was good to eat, and that it would make her wise. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of the fruit to her husband, and he ate it.

What happened is that the man, the responsible party disobeyed God in an attempt to reconfigure the relationship between He and God. The man chooses to be co-equal with God, and in doing so instead of being elevated to Divine status became separated from the very source of his life. In the choice to disobey to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the man became less than what he was created to be, and the glory of God within became veiled, obscured, obstructed with egoism.

The relationships between God and the Man, the Man and the Woman, the Man, and Nature, and the Man and Himself, are radically altered. Being expelled from the Garden describes the relationship between God and Man, clothing themselves describes the relationship between Man and the Women, thorns, and thistles describe the relations between the Man and the Earth, being afraid describes the Man’s relationship to Himself. The intimate created relationships are ruined. Instead of a person’s relationship with God being the guiding principle of life, egoism exalts self to that position. The man chooses to distrust God’s goodness and turned away from God to depend on his own wisdom for how to live life.

This problem of egoism is especially seen in the relationship between the man and the woman.

Genesis 3:16 (MSG)
You'll want to please your husband, but he'll lord it over you."

What this verse means is that when egoism has the upper hand in woman, she will desire to overpower or subdue or exploit man. And when egoism has the upper hand in man, he will respond in like manner and with his strength subdue her, or rule over her. Basically when egoism is the guiding principle the male and female seek to exploit the weakness in one another to get what they want.

Our scientific observations of masculinity are corrupted by egoism. Therefore they report a man to be competitive, aggressive, assertive and a sexual predator. The male is violent, an oppressor, a tyrant, and an abuser, especially of women. They use there greater physical strength to subjugate women. Therefore the cultural trend is to vilify the man, men are toxic, a threat to the general well-being of society and unfortunately fathers.

Fathers in the culture are often portrayed as inadequate when it comes to anything dealing with the family. The father is the baby daddy, the sperm donor.  The father portrayed in the media is Frank Gallagher, Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, irresponsible, incompetent, and stupid. What I fear is that the observations are pretty accurate, males who never grew up, boys in adult bodies but never becoming the men God intended at the Creation.

Where to find a role model for masculinity?  Enter Jesus.

Galatians 4:4-5 (NCV) & Col 1:15 (NIV)
“…when the right time came, God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children.” [Jesus] “is the image of the invisible God,

In the conception narrative, we learn Mary conceives supernaturally. Jesus is born human, fully human, but Jesus free from the tyranny of egoism, Jesus is a son of God, not a son of man. Jesus is like Adam before the Fall. Jesus is the model of how humanity is to be, and specifically for us today a model of masculinity free from egoism.

Jesus was never a father, but he most certainly was a man. We have been sensitized to toxic masculinity when it comes to how men treat women. When we examine Jesus relationships with women we find some remarkable characteristics.

Jesus’ brand of masculinity was one where women were:
honored (Matthew 26:6-13),
listened to (Mark 7:24-30),
and embraced as evangelists (John 4:1-42).

For Jesus, women could be disciples (Luke 10:38-42),
 they could travel with him (Matthew 27:52),
and they were worthy of serving as positive examples in his stories (Luke 21:1-4).

In a world where the testimony of a woman was not allowed in court, Jesus entrusted the message of his resurrection to Mary (Matthew 28:1-10).

When we study the roles of women in first-century Palestine we clearly see that “Jesus violated the mores of his time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels.”[ Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers, 129]

Jesus actualized the before Fall status of the woman. Jesus sets the example of how men are to relate to women.

That example informs how a husband is to relate to his wife:

1 Peter 3:7 & Ephesians 5:25 (MSG) & Malachi 2:15 (KJV)
“Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women, they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground.” “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.”  “Let no one deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.”

That example informs Fathers how to relate to their children

Ephesians 6:4 (MSG)
Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

Fathers are to be their child’s first teacher (Proverbs 22:6).
Fathers are to provide for their child (1 Timothy 5:8).
Fathers discipline their child (Proverbs 3:11-12 & 13:24).
Fathers spend time with their child (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
Fathers are compassionate (Psalm 103:13).
Fathers never give up on their child (Luke 15:20-24).
Fathers pray for their child (1 Chronicles 29:19).

Egoism if allowed to take control makes masculinity toxic.

Egoism is subdued,
First by becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Acknowledge that your masculinity has been ruined by egoism
Believe that Jesus is the example of how real men are to be.
Commit yourself to follow Jesus.
Ask God to receive you as His own.

When God answers your prayer, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit within begins to transform you, removing you toxicity:    “It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Eph 4:22-24 (MSG).

The sealing Spirit’s sanctifying grace transforms you and matures you to a place where you realize that egoism still is influencing your behavior, hijacking your best intentions. When you recognize this place on your spiritual journey it’s your time to crucify egoism. Your need is to be filled with the Spirit, out of the desire to be all that God wants you to be, you confess your egoism problem, you consecrate all that you are and have to God, you bend the knee, confirming that you are all in, identifying completely with Jesus. God will answer that prayer. The Holy Spirit now empowers you to disregard the urgings of egoism, giving you the ability to consistently choose to live in accordance with the model that is Jesus.

You will become a real man, a real husband, a real father and a real example of masculinity. You will become a man you reflects the image of God.


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