While the church population is heavily weighted with college students, it is not a “college church.” Summit does not bend over backward to win the loyalty of college students. There are no reoccurring football game day references. They just preach really, really well—and they preach straight from scripture.
Today, the pastor started a two-part series: “He Must Be/She Must Be.” The teaching is based on Ephesians Ch. 5:25-29, and it talks about the parallel between the relationship of a husband and wife and the relationship between Christ and the church-- and the pastor did not pull back any punches.
He gave men five principles they must abide in to meet the minimum standard of being ready for God-glorifying marriage/relationship. I’m going to touch on the points, and then I’ll give you my reaction:
Lead in Love
Love: an act of will accompanied by emotion that leads to an action on behalf of its object [of desire].
Real love for a woman needs to cost you something. It is not circumstantial, but consistent; it is not just emotional, it is also reinforced by action.
It is reinforced by action.
It’s tangible. It’s real. It costs you something.
Lead in the Word
It is not the pastor’s job to uphold the principles and values of Christianity in a relationship—it’s the man leading the relationship’s job.
You don’t have to be a scholar. But you do need to possess a conceptual understand of the principles and truths the Bible teaches.
He Must Be a Protector of Purity
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Lead in Selflessness
Men are disillusioned by their own awesomeness. It’s an arrogance/pride/refusal to do that whole humility thing. Left unchecked, a man’s opinion of himself might increase with each passing year.
Woman, however, experience a contrasting phenomenon. Partially because of design and partially because of post-modern America, a woman’s opinion of herself might decrease with each passing year. Society puts a measuring stick up to woman at an incredibly young age: you must be beautiful to be noticed. This mentality can rob a woman of the ability to see her own value.
As men, we need to prove by our actions [see point No. 1] that we value the women we love above ourselves. Period. When man, who thinks so highly of himself, can prove to a woman, who may think less of herself, that he values her more than himself… well it’s basically awesome.
Lead in Intimacy
Intimacy is letting someone into an area of your heart inside which you don’t let anyone else enter. You then fiercely protect that area of who you are—that is a place that is meant just for that one person. This type of fiercely guarded intimacy leads to a relationship full of trust.
Walking into the service, I felt comfortable and genuinely interested in the topic at hand. Walking out of the service, I felt disoriented [read: I felt like I had been gut punched.]
As a guy, it’s easy to think we’re doing pretty well in this space. A common line of thinking is, “Well, I am not doing x, y, or z, so I feel like I’m Godly guy.”
Nope. Nadda. Gut Punch.
Who I am, as a man in Christ, is not decided solely by what I abstain from in this life—it’s also decided by what I do differently in this life. All of the points above are action oriented. They are also not easy.
I am currently reading a book by Fred Stoeker that explores issues of how a man can be a reflection of Christ in the present society. Put briefly, it’s a life long challenge. The issues discussed in this book, and the principles outlined above, are not items to scratch off the list and then forget about. It requires a lifetime of discipline and growing pains.
To sum, the bar has been set really, really high. I feel like I’ve been stopped midrace just to be told I have been doing it wrong, and then walked back to the starting line to begin again.
Luckily, I always love a good run, both metaphorically and otherwise.
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