Oct 13, 2012

Are you man enough? …..part 1

What does it mean to be man?

This morning at the City Church men’s breakfast we looked at the thorny issue of men and leadership. Let’s start with three models for masculinity:

Model 1. Bear Grylls the super-man – strength, self-sufficiency and invincibility

On one website the all-action hero was described this way: The writer and television presenter is known for his amazing feats and has paraglided over the Himalayas, escaped from quicksand and snacked on a still wriggling snake.Bear has also run Class V rapids in the lower Zambezi (without a raft), plunged beneath the ice of a frozen lake in Siberia while naked, and even avoided alligators on his way through the Everglades.

Model 2. Homer Simpson the useless man – immaturity, incompetence and irresponsibility

HOMER: Okay, brain. You don’t like me, and I don’t like you, but let’s get through this thing and then I can continue killing you with beer.

HOMER’s Brain: It’s a deal!

Model 3. Jesus the perfect man – the God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader of other

The perfect man is Jesus and we need to look to him to learn to be a man. Jesus shows us that to be a man involves three things: It is a God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader of others.

Learning to lead – 7 ways to lead like Jesus

1. To be a leader you have to be willing to be led

Leading is not an synonym for autonomous, self-sufficient existance. It’s not an excuse to no longer listen or learn. If you are to be a godly leader you will know your need to let Christ lead you.  The  Apostle Paul writes Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ  – 1 Cor.11:1.

As you follow Jesus you learn how to lead. He was THE God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader.

Q. Are you looking to Jesus to lead you? What does that mean?

2. To be a leader you have to first lead yourself

You are the most difficult person you will ever lead. – Bill Hybels.  Unless you can begin to lead yourself you will not be ready to lead others.

Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus – Philippians 3:13-14 (c.f. 2 Tim 4:7, 1 Cor. 9:24-27).

Q. Are you making progress in leading yourself? Where might you be failing to take responsibility for your life? Your character, your sin, your time, etc..

3. To be a leader  you  must see leadership as living out the gospel

It’s not just a question of whether you are leading but why.

Everyone seeks to lead for one of two reasons. We are all of us leading for an identity or from an identity.  To lead for an identity will  mean our leadership is driven by the need to prove ourselves in some way. Maybe that means to make a name for ourselves by proving our worth to others. To lead from an identity means to be so confident of our identity as children of God and so secure in his love that our leadership is wonderfully liberated from being a tool of self-justification and instead becomes a joyful service of others.

  • Leading for an identity works itself out in lordship leadership in which your relationship to others is an opportunity to prove yourself.
  • Leading from an identity works itself out in servant leadership in which your relationship to others is an opportunity to offer yourself.

So in a marriage Lordship leadership is an opportunity to be a bully.

Learning to lead like Jesus means that a husband’s authority (like the Son’s over us) is never use to please himself but only to serve the interests of his wife  – Tim & Kathy Keller

Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. – Romans 15:2-3

Q. Why do you want to lead? For whose benefit?

4. To be a leader you have to lead others by the gospel

A God-dependent leader recognises his weakness and leads from weakness.  The apostle Paul was an apostle of weakness – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (c.f 12:7-10 ‘I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness’). Leaders who lead from the gospel exhibit the following traits;

  • Leading in dependence on God
  • Leading with the help of others (quick to go to older, wiser Christians)
  • Leading by being first to admit fault,
  • Leading by being quick to confessing sin,
  • Leading by seeking grace

Q. Is it evident to others by your attitudes and actions that you find strength to lead in your weakness?

In a future blog we’ll look at points 5-7.


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