Last Sunday, I was in the car taking a snooze in the car while my “bride” was shopping in WalMart in Brainerd. I also was catching up on the post game chat about the Vikings’ season ending lose. An advertising came on about Miller Lite beer. The gist of the ad was that real men drink Miller Lite. Men were asked to “Man Up.” Now I am a sports fan and I pay attention to the beer ads, because they tell us a lot about the state of the male in our culture. This was the first time I heard about “man up.” Remember the ads want men to drink beer, so they will do what is necessary to appeal the present state of men in America, especially young men. Have you ever seen an ad for beer appealing to older guys like me (70). So I got to thinking about what I could say about “man up” in blog. So here you have it.
As followers of Jesus there is no place for the idea of “man up.” We are to walk humbly and loving with Jesus. The way of Jesus is following him, allowing his Spirit within us to bring about transformation. We are changed from the inside out. The result will be less of us and more of him. Henri Nouwen calls this “downward mobility.” In order for this to happen, the single most important act of faith that we exercise is that of humbling ourselves before the Lord in dependence and surrender to him. The idea of “man up” appeals to the self-centered pride in the men of our culture. Exalted pride is dangerous to the spiritual life. “For those who exalt themselves, will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt 23:12). The Message put it this way, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
The phrase “If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you” is very descriptive. Be assured men, there will times when the wind will be knocked out of you. If you have an inflated ego, that is, if you “man up” God will see to it that you get the wind knocked out of you. It is important that you recognize this process taking place in your walk as an expression of God’s grace and mercy. God will humble you. It is one of the ways to get our attention. James tells us, “It’s common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God give grace to the willing humble.’ So let God work his will in you.” (James 4:6-7 – The Message). In accepting the humbling in our life we receive grace. Peter warns us, “God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” (I Peter 5:5-7 – The Message). God hand on your life is for your own good.
In closing I would like to suggest an alternate phrase to that of “man up.” I suggest “man kneeling.” What does this suggest? First it gives the description of a man who is humble before the Lord. Actually it is a good posture to practice in your devotional life. Kneel before the Lord and cry out to him for mercy. He hears the cries of a desperate man. Secondly, kneeling suggests a reverent posture of worship. A man on his knees worshipping the Lord. Ps 95:6 exhorts us to kneel before God. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Thirdly, a man who is kneeling before the Lord, is in a posture the is conducive to letting go of his ego. With hand lifted up a man is giving expression of surrender, sometimes in desperation. As I write this blog, I sense in my Spirit a man or even several, who are caught in a circumstance where they are being humbled. I suggest that you spend time kneeling before God, pouring your heart out to him, and saying to him that you let go. Don’t try to figure out the next steps of your journey. Let God lovingly and gently lead you as you humble yourself before him.