Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

7 Pitfalls Of Male Independence

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God has called men to be strong. (1 Kings 2:2)

Problems arise when a man trusts in his own strength. (Jer 17:5-8)

When a man forgets that his strength comes from God and is in God, he gets himself in trouble.  There’s a pride that creeps in that says, “I don’t need anyone”, “I can do this on my own”, “I got this”.

Macho male independence is dangerous.

An arrogant self sufficient fool thinks he can pull off his life on his own.  He believes the lie that showing weakness or any form of dependence is less manly.

He doesn’t cry.  He doesn’t ask for help or directions.  And although he may be somewhat transparent, he sure isn’t going to be vulnerable enough to let you in.

Wake up men.  Jesus wept. (John 11:35)  Paul boasted in his weakness. (2 Cor 11:30, 12:5,9)  And David wore his heart on his sleeve. (Psalms)

Beware of the pitfalls of male independence:

1) Independent Of God

Samson is the classic example of this.  He forgot that the strength he had was from God and he foolishly thought he could live independent of God’s word, will, and ways.  Consequentially, he ended up tormented, weak, blind, and bound. (Judges 16:19-20)  And that’s the same place every man ends up when he lives independent of God.

2) Independent Of Church

Some people develop a bad habit of giving up meeting together.  The writer of Hebrews warns not to do this because we need to be “spurred” on and encouraged. (Heb 10:24-25)  We need sharpening (Prov 27:17), shepherding (Heb 13:17), and the body (1 Cor 12:14-20).  And please don’t be so foolish as to believe that all God wants is you warming a chair or a pew.  Be a man and lead.

3) Independent Of Other Men

Men need other men.  This is why the bible says to “love the brotherhood” (1 Pet 2:17).  There are certain things that are best addressed and talked about with other men.  Also, a woman cannot initiate a man.  Only a man can initiate another man.  Pursue other men who possess what you lack and ask them for help.

4) Independent Of Women

In the beginning God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created woman to be his helper (Gen 2:18).  Men, unless your God given calling is better served by being single, you should go find a wife (Prov 18:22) to help you.  And if God has called you to be single for the kingdom, you’re still not independent of women.  Jesus wasn’t: (Luke 8:2-3).

5) Independent Of Those Who Are Older

I don’t care how clever or competent you are.  Don’t be so foolish as to dismiss those who are older than you.  Turn your hearts towards fathers (Mal 4:5, 1 Cor 4:15).

6) Independent Of Those Who Are Younger

It’s easy to dismiss young people by saying they are prideful, but pride is no respecter of age.  A person can take pride in the fact that they are old in the same way that a young man can take pride in his youth.  Resist the temptation to dismiss those who are younger than you.  Turn your heart towards sons (Mal 4:5, Luke 1:17).  “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)

7) Independent Of Counsel And Correction

The bible says that “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Prov 15:22) and “whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” (Prov 12:1 NIV)  Don’t be stupid.

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Prov 18:1)

Use good judgement.  Be a dependent man.

(Image Credit: National Library Of Scotland)

Fighting For A Woman’s Beauty

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A woman is most beautiful when she is unafraid.

A woman makes herself beautiful by not fearing anything that is frightening (1 Pet 3:5-6).

Men are one of the primary causes of fear in women, whether by what they do or don’t do.  It’s incumbent on men to reverse this trend and to fight for women to be unafraid, or to put it another way, to fight for women to be beautiful

When a woman feels the safety of being fought for, the confidence of knowing she has a voice and it’s being heard, and the comfort that a man cares more about her than himself, she’s unafraid and her beauty shines.  This is why the bible says that when a husband loves his wife, he loves himself (Eph 5:28).  Because the more you love her this way, the less she fears.  The less she fears, the more beautiful she becomes, and the more you enjoy her.

In order for a man to fight for a woman to be unafraid, he must identify what a woman fears.  When that is identified, a man can proactively fight against those fears.

Here’s a short list of common fears that women have and how men can fight them.

Not Pretty

The majority of women don’t think they are pretty. In fact Dove says that “only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful”. Little girls grow up asking whether they are pretty or not.

Husbands and Fathers need to tell their wives and daughters often how pretty they are, and they need to define true beauty to them as well so that they don’t buy into the lies that culture is telling them.

Not Pretty Enough

Some women may believe that they are pretty but they are constantly struggling with the fear of not being pretty enough. The fake, photoshopped images of women in advertising and on the covers of magazines are not helping.

A man can fight for a woman to feel pretty enough by not looking at porn.  A common conclusion drawn among wives of men who look at porn is that they are not pretty enough, so their husbands look else where.  Husbands, fight for your wives by abstaining from pornography, both hard porn and soft porn.

Abandonment

Because of the breakdown of the family, many women are afraid of abandonment.  A man needs to give a woman the safety and comfort of covenant (marriage), while building trust for the covenant, before the covenant takes place.  What I mean is that a man should not be engaged sexually with a woman who is not his wife.  Why should a woman trust a man to honor covenant in marriage if he won’t honor it before marriage?

Physical Harm

A man should never use his strength to harm a woman physically.  A man should be tough to protect a woman, but tender towards her.  Tenderness creates an atmosphere of safety, not fear.

Bad Leadership

One of the specific ways that a woman’s beauty shines through a lack of fear is in submitting to her husband (1 Pet 3:5-6).  It’s not easy to submit to another’s authority, no matter what sex you are. Husbands need to live with their wives in an understanding way so that they are not fearful. (1 Pet 3:7)

No Voice

If a woman feels like she doesn’t have a voice or that her voice is not being heard, she feels trapped and afraid.  Men need to be great listeners.

Being Hurt

No one likes to be hurt.  Transparency and vulnerability can go a long way in alleviating the fear of being hurt.  Husbands, don’t hold secrets from your wives.  Walk in the light.

You Only Want Her Body

A woman is more than just body parts.  She’s a person and she wants to be loved as such. Men, fight for a woman’s beauty by being concerned with much more than just sex.  Show her the respect a woman deserves.

Woman Worship

It’s very scary for a woman to find out that a man loves her more than God.  No woman is God and therefore no woman can give what only God can.  A man who loves a woman more than God can’t be trusted.  It is very comforting and safe for a woman to know that her man loves God more than her.

Men, are you fighting to create an atmosphere most conducive to a woman’s true beauty?  

Are you fighting for women to be unafraid?

(Image Credit: SMU Central University)

Fighting For Your Respect Or For Her To Be And Feel Loved

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God wired men with a desire for respect.

From his youth, he desires it from his parents.  When he’s older he also desires it from a woman. (Eph 5:33, 1 Pet 3:1-2)

You are more than likely especially sensitive to your desire for respect if you had a physically or verbally abusive father and/or a manipulative, controlling mother who still treated you like a boy when you were old enough to be a man.

The problem is that a lot of men are not very respectable.  If you’re not a respectable man you can either man up and start being respectable or you can fight for your respect.

And let’s be honest, a lot of times, if you have to defend yourself with words, your actions aren’t speaking loud enough, or they’re saying the wrong thing.

Fighting for your respect is the cheap, cowardly way of getting the respect you lack because of your lack of substantive manhood.

Men are to love by laying down their lives (John 15:13) and if married, by giving themselves up for their wives (Eph 5:25).

When you’re not getting what you want, don’t act like a baby.  Grow up and act like a man.

Don’t throw a tantrum.  Don’t fight for what you want.  Don’t verbally or physically abuse.  Don’t yell, control, manipulate, or dominate.

DIE. (Luke 9:23)

Lay down your life.  Give up the fight for your respect.  Be respectable.  Fight for her to be and feel loved.  That’s the best way to get the respect you want anyways.

Women respect love.  Women respect tenderness and chivalry.  Women respect strength – a man strong enough to resist the urge to dominate, in favor of serving.

A woman respects a man who fights FOR her, not WITH her.

She’s not your adversary and you’re not in competition with her.

A man doesn’t fight for things to be fair.  He doesn’t care if things are fair, because he doesn’t think selfishly.  He thinks sacrificially – how to bless.

A man doesn’t fight for his right to be right or for any of his rights, because a dead person has no rights.

Men, it’s not wrong for you to fight.  It’s wrong for you to fight for the wrong things.  It’s misdirected energy.

Stop fighting for your own respect.  Fight for her to be and to feel loved.

She’ll respect you for it.

(Image Credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Men Act

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In the book of Job we see Job having a pretty incredible encounter with God. After listening to Job and his friends go back and forth, God steps in and gives his thoughts.  But before he does, he tells Job to do something in chapter 38, verse 3.  He tells him to “dress for action”. It’s important to note that he doesn’t tell him to dress for action in a general sense.  God specifically states in what way he wants Job to “dress for action” or as the Hebrews put it, to gird up his loins.

God adds three very intriguing words to his command.  Three words that give us a picture of how God sees manhood.

“Like a man.”

He says to “dress for action like a man”.

The way God sees it, men act. True manhood involves action. Dress for action like a man, because that’s what men do. They act.

A man isn’t still.  He’s active.

A man isn’t passive.  He’s aggressive.

A man isn’t silent.  He speaks up.

A man isn’t a spectator.  He’s a player.

A man isn’t lazy.  He works.

A man isn’t indecisive.  He decides.

A man doesn’t run away.  He runs to.

A man doesn’t just confess.  He repents.

A man doesn’t just talk.  He does.

A man doesn’t procrastinate.  He initiates.

A man doesn’t avoid, or even merely just accept responsibility.  He takes responsibility.

Are you dressed for action like a man?

Are you actively engaging God, seeking to connect with and enjoy Him on a regular basis?

Are you actively pursuing your wife, cherishing her, pastoring her, praying for her, providing for her, laying down your life for her?

Are you actively engaging your kids, listening to them, playing with them, disciplining them, instructing them, praying for them?

Are you actively pursuing a career, working hard, growing in your skills, using your gifts?

Are you actively confronting other men, challenging them, encouraging them, teaching them, and being a good friend to them?

Are you actively advancing the kingdom, winning souls, making disciples, and doing your part in a local church?

Are you active? LIKE A MAN?

(Image Credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Louis C.K. On Fathering And Manhood [VIDEO]

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Here’s an excerpt from the following video by Louis C.K. on CBS.  It’s excellent. Watch it below.

I’m gonna be a dad. I’m not gonna be mom’s assistant. That’s depressing.

Don’t do that if you’re a dad, just wait for her to write you a list, walk around the store staring at it and call her from the cereal isle to make sure you got the right thing.

Be a man! Make your own list.

Fathers have skills that they never use at home.

You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a four year old. Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. Get into it.

It won’t take away your manhood. It’ll give it to you.

Woman Worship

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Are you worshiping a woman?

Do you love her more than God?

Would you rather sin than upset her?

Does she control when you’re up and when you’re down?

Is she the main source of what makes you happy and what makes you sad?

No woman feels safe with a man who loves her more than God.  If you can’t choose to love God most when you are with her, then how can she trust you to love God when you are away?

If you love her more than God then you will inevitably try to pull from her things that only God can give you, therein frustrating the relationship. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t give you what you are trying to pull from her.

If you worship her, then you’ll look to her to satisfy you.  Because she can’t ultimately satisfy you, you will look elsewhere.  Many men look to pornography, some look to the next woman. Until a man’s heart is redirected to what he really craves (God), he will not stop looking with ever increasing greed for more, because what he has is not enough to satisfy, and it never will be. (Ephesians 4:18-19)

Lastly, be careful of the most deceptive form of woman worship: using God as a means to worship a woman.  When “worship” of God is the means to your happiness with a woman, rather than an end in and of itself regardless of whether you find happiness with a woman, then it’s not God that you worship, but a woman.  True worship, worships because Jesus is worthy regardless of any benefit it may have on you or your relationship with a woman.  Anything else is humanism wrapped up in a spiritual looking package.

Men, you were not created to worship a woman.  You were created to worship God. (Is 43:7)

Repent from woman worship, and turn to Jesus worship. Then and only then, can you really love a woman the way God has called a man to love a woman: like Jesus. You’ll never love like Jesus until you love Jesus first and most.

(Image Credit: George Eastman House)

Mom Primary Breadwinner In 40% Of US Households: Where Are The Men?

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A recent Pew Reserch Center analysis found that mothers of children under 18, are the sole or primary source of income for their family in 40% of U.S. households.  Although many have touted this story as a success for women, I believe it says much more about a serious problem with men.  Especially when 63% of the 40% of households where moms are the primary breadwinners are such because the mother is single.

Where are the men?

God has called men to lead in providing for their families (Eph 5:29).  Wives are called by God to help their husbands (Gen 2:18), which most certainly can include helping to provide, but the primary responsibility for provision lies with the man.

Single Mothers

63% of the women who are primary breadwinners are because they are single mothers.  And there has been a significant increase in the amount of single mothers who have never been married in the past.  In 1960 the share of never married mothers was 4%.  In 2011 it was 44%.  This is staggering.

Not only are more and more men getting women pregnant out of wedlock, but they’re not paying for it either.

First of all, men if she’s not your wife, you have no business having sex with her.  God has called you to rise up and protect a woman’s purity, not rise up and take it.

Secondly, if you have impregnated a woman outside of the safety and security of wedlock, you better be busting your butt to provide for your child’s care.  Be a man and take responsibility.  And don’t go thinking that if you had a child inside of marriage, that divorce let’s you off the hook either.  You are still responsible to provide for your child’s care.

One of the most disturbing things about the PewResearch survey is that less people are believing that single motherhood is a problem.  Only 64% say that this growing trend is a “big problem”, down from 71% in 2007.

It is a big problem, and the problem is predominantly a man problem.

No woman should ever be left alone to be the sole provider for her child.  Stop being selfish, men.  Provide for your family.  Step up.

Married Mothers

37% of primary “breadwinner moms” are married.  Again, if a man needs help providing and his wife can do that for him, that’s excellent.  Proverbs 31 commends that and there is nothing in the bible about who should be making more money.

Unfortunately there’s a growing trend of dead beat dads, unwilling and unprepared to pull their weight in the area of provision.  More and more moms are picking up the slack.  That either leaves the kids at home with dad or with someone else.  And that’s a problem.  Children are the ones who suffer in all of this.  This shouldn’t be about fathers and mothers fighting for their rights, but rather fathers and mothers laying down their lives to exercise their God given complimentary roles, for God’s glory and the benefit of their children.

Fathers, you should be doing everything you can to fight for your wife to be able to love you and your children, “working at home” so “that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:4-5).

Some of these mothers want to lead in the area of provision and they want their husbands to be their helper.  There’s a growing acceptance of this role reversal in both men and women.  The problem is that men were not created to be a woman’s helper.  Women were created to be a man’s helper (Gen 2:18).

God has called husbands to lead in providing for their family so mothers are free to fulfill their role to nurture and raise children in the unique way that God created their bodies to do that, for God’s glory and people’s good (husbands, wives, children, and society).

The Hard Truth

The bible has some strong language for any of you men who are not providing for your family:

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8)

It doesn’t matter if you profess to be a Christian.  The bible says that if you are not providing for your family, then “you have denied the faith“.  That’s some seriously strong language.

Men, if you are single, get vision for your provision.  Adam, the first man, got a job before he got a woman (Gen 2:5-20).

If you’re married, work hard to lead in your family’s provision (Eph 5:29).

If you’re divorced, fulfill your responsibility to your children and their care.

Be men.  Be responsible.

 

5 Ways For A Man To Leave His Father And Mother

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One of the reasons today’s young males are stuck in a stage of development dubbed “adultolescence” is because there is an unhealthy, unbiblical dependence on Mom and Dad.  Genesis chapter two, verse twenty four says it plainly:

“A man shall leave his father and his mother”

Young man, what’s your plan to leave mom and dad?

It’s time to put on your big boy pants and be a man.

1) Move Out

Let’s start with the literal.  Some of you need to move out of your parents house.

That’s what the bible says a man does.  He doesn’t stay.  He leaves.

Yes there are circumstances where living with your parents may be wise for a season of time, but the key is that it’s for a specific purpose or predetermined time frame.  The goal should be to leave your father and mother.  Living indefinitely in mom and dads house is not healthy, especially if you are being pampered.

Get a plan for moving out.

2) Pay Your Own Bills

I get it.  There’s nothing wrong with your parents helping you out here and there, or possibly helping pay for college.  There’s not a list of things your parents can pay for and a list of things they shouldn’t pay for.  Here’s the question you need to answer:

Is the financial help that’s being provided, helping or hurting your manhood?

If your parents are emasculating you by doing too much for you in the area of financial provision, then you need to politely, but firmly refuse.  Don’t be a jerk about it.  Show gratitude for their desire to help, while explaining your desire to be intentional in the things that help you become a man.

3) Make Your Own Decisions

I know it can be a lot easier to let Mom and Dad make all your decisions for you, but a man leaves his father and mother.  Leaving doesn’t mean cutting off completely.  It’s often wise to seek counsel from your parents.  But, a man is responsible then to make his own decisions.

A man doesn’t go to college without any idea of what he wants to do, just because Mom and Dad want him to, or because Mom and Dad are paying for it (see #2).  Don’t let your parents fund your indecision or foster your avoidance of responsibility.

You need to be decisive.  College is filled with boys avoiding responsibility, decisions, and ultimately manhood, all the while feeling justified because that’s what Mom and Dad wanted them to do.  What does your heavenly Dad want you to do?

Figure out what you want to do and go for it.  After a season of going after something, if you’ve found out that it’s not for you, then humbly correct course and go after something else.

Be your own man.  Seek wisdom from your parents while making your own decisions, and by all means, do not give into manipulation.

4) Make Your Faith Your Own

I’m not suggesting you leave everything your parents taught you about faith in Christ, if that’s what they taught you.  I’m saying believe it because it’s true, not because Mom and Dad believe it.  Believe it because it’s real in your life, not just because Mom and Dad said it’s real.

Your Mom and Dad’s faith is not enough to get you through your hardships, or to battle the culture’s cries for meaning and truth.  You need to know what you believe and why you believe it.  That might mean that you have the same core beliefs as your parents, but the difference is that you’ve moved from having your parents as your primary source to having Jesus as your primary source.

5) Pursue A Wife

The last part of the verse we are referring to in this post says to “hold fast” or “cleave” “to his wife”.

Unless what God has called you to is better served by being single, it’s not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18).  Your leaving of Mom and Dad is unto pursuit of a wife.

No woman wants to marry a boy.  A woman wants to marry a man and before a man pursues a wife, he leaves his parents.  One of the best ways to screw up a marriage is to avoid a clean break from mom and dad.  Make it easier, on your wife and leave well before your wedding day.

(Image Credit: Mary Louise Eklund)

Dealing With The Problem Of Men [VIDEO]

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The following is a 19 minute video of Jackson Katz, Ph.D speaking at TEDxFiDiWomen.  The talk is entitled “Violence & Silence”.  He does a great job fighting for women and children as a man in his talk.  He addresses the real problem with violence in this country: men.

You can watch the video below and then I add a few thoughts at the end of this post.

If you are viewing this post outside of a browser and you can’t see the video, click here to view it in your browser.

I want to comment on the following three points he brought up.

1) Men Are The Problem

Men are the problem.  As John Bryson said, “Gender is the single biggest predictor of crime.”  The vast majority of violent crimes are committed by males.

Men are the ones abusing children.  Men are the ones raping women.  Men are the ones beating women and children.  It’s men.

In order to fix the problem we need to focus on the cause of the problem: men.  And the answer isn’t to write off men.  The answer isn’t independence from men.  The answer is healthy, biblically masculine men.

Men need to know the truth from God about what it looks like to be a man and to act like a man. Then they need to act on it.  They need to be men and they need to act like men. (1 Cor 16:13)

If we change the men, we’ll change the world.

Do you know what it looks like to be a man?  Are you being and acting like a man?

2) Men Need To Confront Other Men

In the video he speaks of the silent bystander who laughs at the inappropriate joke, or acts like he didn’t hear what he heard, rather than confronting the other male.

Men need to be confronted.  Honestly, most men love to be challenged, but unfortunately very few are.  It takes courage to confront another man.

I love the quote he brought up from Martin Luther King Jr.:

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

I believe there are a lot of men who would love to be the men that they know they should be, but they don’t know how or don’t have the courage to do so.  They are waiting for a man to challenge them. Will you be that man?

3) Men Need To Lead Other Men Well

I agree with Jackson, that this is primarily a leadership issue.  Where are the fathers, mentors, coaches, teachers, and other leaders challenging men to be men and teaching them how to do it? Where are the leaders who are teaching men how to treat women, how to be married, how to be single, how to love a wife, how to treat women and children?

What’s keeping you from being a leader to men?

Lazy Boys

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la·zy [ley-zee] adjective – averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion

Laziness is an enemy of true authentic manhood.  It works against everything a man is called to be and do. True men aren’t lazy.

The following are six areas where a man needs to fight laziness.

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