After many years of ministry to men, it is clear to me how simple men are. They all struggle with the same basic things. That’s one thing I like about working with men. Men are not complex. I have come across several summaries of the things that kill men off. I know a law enforcement professional who identifies these: Lying, Liquor, Lust, and Loyalty as the top four mankillers in his profession. They see these common denominators on the street all the time. I know an attorney who categorized them this way: Greed, Sex, and Power. Here is my list: Fear, Lust, Anger, Feminism, and Abdication.
He is constantly harrassed by fear because his god is not big enough to deliver him. He does not really believe that God is sovereign, so he is constantly obsessing over the threats to his security. He exists in a state of low-grade uncomfortability about himself and what might happen to him. He is an unhappy dad and a discontented husband. He is a lousy leader and no fun to be around. He sucks the joy out of the room – and the hearts of his wife and children.
Scripture: “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed…” (Ps. 46).
He has refused to starve the dragon of lust. Instead, he feeds that dragon enough tidbits to keep him alive and always waiting in the wings. This kind of man struggles with pornography because he has not had the resolve to deprive his eyes and ears of impure things. He watches movies that aren’t that bad and listens to songs that aren’t that good and as a result the dragon is strong and ready to devour. The fires of lustful passion are always smoldering ready to burst into flames at any time.
Scripture: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” (Matt. 5:27-30). “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8). “I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (Ps. 101:1-2).
God keeps sending imperfect people into his life, and he is angry about it. He is angry at his wife, his boss, his pastor, his brother, and his friend because he never learned that all of life is exposure to imperfect people. He never learned how to love those imperfect people. He is always disappointed in someone. He’s a one-way perfectionist. He demands perfection from others but is oblivious to his own flaws. He never understood that God sends people to him for his sanctification, not to stroke his ego. It has not occurred to him that God sent these inadequate people in order to magnify His grace and mercy through him.
Scripture: “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5:22). “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Rom. 12:10). “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20). Proverbs 18:14; 19:11; 22:24; 29:22; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19-20; James 3
Many men are feminists at heart. They have “PMS,” which stands for “Passive Male Syndrome.” Except with men, it is not isolated to once a month. They get there honestly by simply growing up in a culture, breathing feminist air. Their brains have been pickled in feminist juices for so long that they don’t even know how deeply their thinking has been poisoned. From the time of their birth, they have been saturated with feminism via the media and their pagan education. When you breathe feminist air all your life as most of us have, it is almost impossible to be a real man. Its symptoms: They won’t lead. They won’t teach. They won’t cross up their wives. They are afraid of their daughters. They won’t restrain their children. They are not willing to die for anything. They think, “Nothing is that important anyway. Hand me the remote.”
Scripture: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man” (1 Cor. 11:3). “As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them” (Isa. 3:12). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).
God has created men to play a role in this world that is easily abdicated. He has been appointed by God to be the lover of his wife and the teacher of his children. But he is disconnected with his wife because they are going different directions. He is not teaching his children because he is obsessed with his own pleasures (usually technology or sports or both). He does not walk and talk and live alongside his children because his attentions are elsewhere. That world out there, outside his family is bigger and more important to him so he abdicates the primary for the secondary. He can get away with this one his whole life long, and no one will confront him about it. The church won’t say a peep. His friends give him a pass. This last one is different in this sense: The first three mankillers will eventually grab him by the neck and throw him to the ground and destroy him. These last two will not be so obvious. These are the most socially acceptable mankillers. However, as it turns out, it will mean that his wife and children will be grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground.
Scripture: “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Sam. 3:13). “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deut. 5:29). Deuteronomy 6; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Samuel 2-3; Matthew 18:6; Malachi 4
Death to the Mankillers
These five mankillers are always lurking at the door of every mans heart.
Thankfully, there is only one solution for a man: With one blow the mankillers are knocked unconscious. It is the heart of the matter. This one thing destroys the ache of fear, weakens the dragon of lust, soothes the burnings of anger, incinerates feminism, and turns the hearts of fathers to their children. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 22:35-40:
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
This is the heart of the matter: The power of Gospel love! Loving the Lord your God with all your heart is a summary of the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It presents a clear statement about what is means to be a Christian. It describes the essence of genuine spiritual life. It is the foundation of all true faith. It exposes the centrality of love in the Bible. It explains the gospel. It neutralizes mankillers.
I preached a sermon on this text, and you can listen to it here.