“, act like men…” (1 Corinthians 16:13c ESV)
Why did Paul slip this in? I almost just blew right by this. “Be watchful.” Ok, got it. “Stand firm in the faith.” Goes without saying. “Be strong.” Ok, got this one too. “Let all that you do be done in love (v 14).” Yeah..you bet this one. But what is meant by “act like men?” What does that look like?
Once upon a time I attended a Men’s Conference where the main speaker was this guy Mike Bulmore. He opened with the declaration “Men! I assume I am talking to men. This is going to be a conference about being godly men so I am going to be blunt and clear and…” so forth and so on. But whatever he preached and taught on I was done for the weekend at: “I assume I am talking to men.” The way I look at the Scriptures changed with that. There is now a mental picture of what a godly, pursuing man looks like—not benign but purposeful, eager to embrace the Word of God as a reflexive condition—so that I grow into a mature man, eager and ABLE for good works. Some scriptures that come to mind: Describing David: “…having served the purpose of God in his generation…” Paul to Timothy: “Embrace these things, be absorbed in them…” All throughout the Psalms: “I shall…I must…I will…” (My pencil lead gets empty trying to circle all the “shalls, musts, wills” (called imperatives)). And Jesus: “..set His face like flint…” I look at these and I get discouraged because what I have written is difficult. And at the same time I am up for the Challenge. Being a man then is to remember that in my weakness He is made strong. Therefore I participate in His strength by being determined to do the “shalls, the “I will.., the “I must”—to be determined to serve the “purpose of God” for me in my generation understanding that He is defining that day by day; that being “faithful” is an action, a verb, and not a noun or adjective in this application. A man works and doesn’t coast in following Jesus. To the End of my days….
Father, Every time I write I pray that I am writing to myself. The danger I face is thinking that this is somehow a teaching moment for someone else. It could be. But I am the one that must be reminded day by day that I am weak and needy. Oh, how I need You. Therefore I take strength from the Word of God, embrace those imperatives and encouragements, and set my feet (weak and meager and smelly that they are) to walk purposefully worthy of the Gospel. Today I set my shoulders square, my jaw firm, eyes clear, with joy in my heart and a song in my mouth for You alone are worthy of anything of worth that I can bring. Today I declare again my desire to “serve the purpose of God in my generation…”