by Clif Johnson, Pastor
Garrett Memorial Baptist Church
I love the military. I love its discipline; its ability to train men to overcome complex tasks with simplicity and efficiency. I especially love their codes of conduct, which essentially become their battle cries. What I love most, however, is to see military people outside of their ranks and uniforms, still living by a military-type code that brings structure and purpose to their lives. You can see it in their dress. You can hear it in their talk. You know them. And you respect them. Or at least you should.
The American military is not the first to understand the value of a code or war cry. War cries date way back. The Maori people of New Zealand perform war cries called “hakas,” that are especially stirring. The All Blacks rugby team performs a haka before each match. Hakas are performed at funerals and also at weddings. I love watching these!
Christian men, we need to rediscover and carry the code given to us by our Creator. We need to carry this code with full-throated allegiance. We need to refer to it every day, so that we are reminded of our purpose as men. We need to carry it for the world to see and observe, especially for our young boys who tag along behind us. After all, it is the most important code you will ever be given.
What is that code? The bible sets it out for us in its first book and it looks something like this:
A KING TO FOLLOW
From the very beginning, it is clear that there is one creator, one king, and that one creator is not me (or you). Yet, He did give us, his vice-regents, a command to follow. We represent our king in the earth by exercising godly and loving authority in our world, and broadening the renown of our great King. We follow our king by knowing and joyfully obeying his commands. He is our King. He speaks. We listen with a will to obey.
A WORK TO ACCOMPLISH
God also instructed the first man to work and maintain the garden in which he was placed. Dig, grow, build, reap, repeat. Make it grow. Work is a good thing, a godly thing. Men, you were created to work, to sweat, to accomplish something for the greater good. You were created to make a significant contribution to the world around you. A man without a work to accomplish does not benefit his society, but rather is a drain. Paul reminds some men in the church at Ephesus that a man who doesn’t work and provide for his family is an ungodly rebel (1 Timothy 5:8).
A FAMILY TO LEAD
God, and Adam, saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so God gave Adam a family to guide, starting with his wife Eve. He was to be the leader of the family, passing down to Eve the previous commands and words that God had given to him, helping her to see the goodness in the King’s word. She was to help him measure up to all that God had called him to be. Men, if you are not married, then live your life and prepare yourself to be worthy to guide and lead a wife. Be the type of man that a woman would gladly follow, instead of reluctantly follow, knowing she will have to clean up behind you in every way.
AN ENEMY TO FIGHT
The enemy is fighting against us, fighting to keep us enslaved in our selfishness and fear. We must fight back. But how do we do that? This is where we run into a HUGE problem as men. We can’t successfully fight our enemy. In fact, that whole manhood code I have just listed is impossible for us. We do not naturally follow our king, accomplish our work successfully, or guide our family correctly. We are ruined. When Adam messed up in the garden by going against his true king, his failure became our failure.
But here is the great thing about the Creator, and what truly makes Him a king worth following. He, in his great desire to display His justice, greatness, and love for His creation, stepped into our world by sending His son to do all the work to satisfy God’s wrath against our sin. Jesus lived by the code perfectly, which we could not do. He bore the punishment that we deserved. That was His work to accomplish. Jesus took the greatest blow that Satan could deliver Him, death, and then Jesus came back to life. He wins.
Now Jesus lives in every man, woman, boy, and girl, that confesses their rebellion against God, and puts their faith in Jesus as conqueror of their sin and king of their life. They will be brought back into a right relationship with their Creator. And by the Spirit of Jesus living in them, every man can pursue the code. You have a King to follow, a work to accomplish, a family to guide, and an enemy to fight.
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”