Tonight was Tanner Dicamillo’s “Rite of Passage” ceremony where his fathers and friends received and called him into manhood. This was a powerful occasion, reminding me of the day 3 1/2 years ago when I had my own, a “gentile bar-mitzbah” we called it, on the southern steps to the temple in Jerusalem. While writing a letter to encourage him on this special day, the Lord poured forth language that I had always brewing inside of me, but never really expressed. It’s my take on what it means to be a man. I actually am blown away that God named me, Truman. I write it here to share my thoughts with you. I’ll keep it in exhortation format so that my faithful reader, Ben Wood, may read it and be exhorted… by the way Ben is awesome, though he quit my team, I still love him.
“Something that the Lord has been teaching me is what it means to be a man and He showed it to me in the life of David. A real man is a man after God’s own heart. In the 1st Century, “Christian” originally meant “little Christ’s”, to be like Jesus (essence of a disciple). That’s what it means to be a man too, it means to be like God. God is “The Original Man” if I could say, He is the one in whose image and likeness we were made. All men are like replicas of this “True, Original Man.” Being a man is not a high, lofty thing, it’s actually the most natural thing you can do as a human, it should be normal to be like God. Although it’s been trampled down, scattered and deformed in it’s definition today. The problem is that so many model their lives after a replica. We think, “Surely this is what it means to be a man!” But we’ve left our source, the “True, Original Man.” That is a greatest deception of all the age, Satan said it in the garden “you can be like God”, but the crazy thing is, you are like God, you are His son, His heir. That is who you were created to be (There’s tons of really juicy meat in Romans 1 if you want). Well, I don’t want to give you a teaching, but I want you to see this. God, since the fall, has been trying to restore humanity to it’s rightful place as “Man, made in the image of God, Man, shining forth the glory of the ‘Original Man’, Man, in union and fellowship with his Father and Creator. And God even sent His own son to show humanity what it looks like to be a man. Jesus “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3), He showed us what God was like, because He was God-in-the-flesh.
Basically, a man without God is like a rose without good soil, water, and sunshine; it’ll fade, curl up, and die. But when you give your heart to worship, and as David did in the bible, “beholding the beauty of the Lord [‘The Original Man’]” you are “transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18), the rose is vital and flourishes, for this was the set environment that it was designed to grow and bloom in. So, here are your 3 ingredients (soil, water, sun) to becoming a real man after God’s own heart:
1. Pursue to obey the commands of God’s heart with 100% of your heart. Bring all areas of resistance to God into agreement with God, pursuing wholehearted obedience. (Mt. 5:48, Ps. 101:1-4)
2. Study and seek out the emotions of God’s heart, His beauty, character and attributes. You become what you behold, so be jealous over your eyes. Make this the preoccupation of your heart, to search out and discover God’s beauty. You were made for intimacy with the beautiful and glorious God; only the knowledge of God will satisfy you. (Psalm 27:4)
3. Contend for the purposes of God’s heart. Don’t settle for anything less than the full breakthrough of God’s power and promises. (Ps. 132, Acts 13:36)
Jesus gave a more in depth view of this in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, but this is the essence of it; this is what it means to be a Man of God, a citizen and heir of His kingdom.
This is what sustained David in the midst of many trials and successes throughout his life, He was after God’s heart, not a title given by a replica, or a thrill of pleasure given by a replica, he was after “the Original” source. David could only overcome because he made the Lord his refuge, his strength. God wants God to be your strength and He won’t stop until He is. You don’t have the strength or “manhood” in yourself to overcome and be a True Man. But, if God is your strength, if He is your source, your life will be successful and you will be a True Man.”