I recently had the honor of having lunch with a local fireman.
As I talked with him about the war he waged against fire, the picture of a man as a savior materialized in my mind.
Remember the danger and drama of September 11th, 2001?
When everyone rushed out, the firemen rushed in.
· Because saviors save.
In the last two blog posts we learned the following:
Mirroring his maker, a man initiates as a lord then cares for what he creates as a husband.
In this third post about Biblical manhood we examine man as a savior.
· But what exactly is behind the action of a man’s role as a savior?
As a savior, a man wars against evil at the risk of his own life for the sake of the one he loves.
While he depends fully on the saving grace of God, he pushes against danger until the evil is vanquished.
Here are three signs that signal when a boy switches over to be a manly savior.
First, a boy is often cowardly in the face of harm and hostility, while a man is courageous.
Way back in Genesis 3:15 God responds to the treasonous trickery of Satan by promising this to Satan: “I will make you and the woman hostile toward each other. I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel."
The complete story of Scripture explains this mystery descendent who would crush Satan’s head with hostile force as Jesus. Men that are joined to Jesus, join the war and confront the hostility of Satan, sin and evil.
A man notices that a real spiritual war is going on all around him and even inside of him.
A boy is helpless in the face of this hostility.
He yields to fear, pain or the threat of harm. He runs to others for protection.
A man in Christ is not cowardly but courageous.
Surprisingly, not by internal fortitude or positive thinking.
Consider Iron Man.
In the Marvel Comic, Tony Stark suffers a deadly chest injury and constructs a suit of armor to save himself. As long as he is inside of that suit he can courageously challenge hostility and save others.
A man admits his helplessness and rather than constructing a suit of armor (his personal performance) he receives the righteousness of Jesus and wraps it around his life forever.
Living inside of that salvation, he can exercise mental and moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear and difficulty on behalf of others.
Second, a boy bullies others while a man benefits others.
Because of our indwelling sin, men can abuse the desire to save with selfish fighting.
A savior does not bully. He confronts evil in order to benefit the ones that he loves.
Intimidation, the act of frightening into submission by inducing into another a sense of inferiority marks the bully.
A savior does the opposite.
He comforts and encourages those that feel stuck, hopeless and weak.
Young men, do you speak to your sisters, “friends that are girls” and moms with a tone of comfort or cruelty?
Young men, you need to know that bragging (voicing your strength to others without any sacrificial results to show for it) shrinks your manliness in the eyes of the ladies in your life, while quietly benefitting others expands it.
Third, a boy begins to discern virtual good from evil and enjoys competitive gaming and sports, while a man actually sacrifices, with painstaking perseverance, to defeat the real evil all around him.
Boys can be found playing endless virtual wars by means of video games and community sports while men enter into the real flesh and blood harms and threats in their community.
Gaming and sports are a helpful catalyst for a boy to begin the push against the enemy. But when a boy becomes a man a real sacrifice occurs in the daily battles of life.
A sacrifice is an actual giving up of something of value (your time, money, health, goals, comfort, etc.) so that evil is displaced.
I have struggled with being a savior. But that’s just the point.
A savior, mirroring the ultimate savior and empowered by the Spirit, leans into struggles against cowardice, bullying and spending endless hours in virtual contests while actual responsibilities are neglected.
What are two things a man can do this week to grow into the savior role?
· First, just as King David killed real lions and bears that threatened the sheep under his care, go fight a real threat to the people, places and things that you deeply love.
Do you need to weed your lawn, write your congressman, challenge a spiritually wandering friend, correct a child, fight against the status quo in your church or neighborhood, or protect a friend or family member from an abusive person or situation?
· Second, take the time to look inside. Sin lurks in the cracks and crannies of your heart and seeks to overpower you. If you are in Christ the savior, his Spirit is in you and can demolish twisted sin with acts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
And remember that God did save you, is saving you and will save all that put their trust in Him.
Metro North Church