I've been through a number of discussion, especially with the male counterparts, about what it means to be Christian man.
I often joke that as guys we grunt, eat meat or other male stereotypes. Sometimes, the discussion doesn't turn very Christian-like (edifying), as we (myself, too), the men criticize the opposite gender as.....
I remember once during such discussion, I told the group that we should man up. What does this mean exactly?
At that point, I was sharing how guys got to know their Bible and be able to teach.
Lately, I am thinking manning up also means willing to be humble and sometimes even admitting you are wrong. To some, this might not be a manly thing to do. I've seen some guys, in attempt, to live this out, act with macho attitude, pride and throw in the submission part in order to get their way.
I was sharing with my fiancee tonight that when I get into a relationship, I want her to love God more than me. Many people says that and I often ask myself what does that mean? What does that look like? I don't want to say a cliche and not live it out.
At the Marriage Preparation Course, there was one line that the instructor repeated again and again.
It begins with me.
When it comes to conflict in marriage, it is my duty to fix it. And sometimes it is me who is at fault.
How do I make her love God more than me? How do I help her worship God more? It begins with me.
First, am I following Jesus and am I following Him?
When it comes to disciple making, Jesus has one saying....it is painful but it centralizes everything about what it means to be His follower:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." - Luke 9:23
Sometimes it is dangerous for me to say what I believe. I have to ask myself, am I living this out. The Lord is the Lord of the Universe. I cannot hide my heart. He sees through my veil of lies and deceptions. The world can praise me for my works. But He sees the heart.
Am I blinded? Is my motives pure? Or am I saying one thing and doing another? Or as James wrote in his letter, am I the fool who stare in the mirror and walk away forgetting how I look like (James 1:23)?
How is this relate to relationship? Is this some far spiritual talk that has no relevant to husband and wife?
I love my fiancee dearly. Sometimes she notices that I don't share our love as publicly as I should. And I want to offer her the best thing. The best thing, for those who experience Him, is the experience of God. It is incredible. It changes heart. It changes everything. And I want her to be as close to Him as possible.
And it begins with me. Tonight, I told her, it begins with me taking up my cross everyday. It begins with me to be honest about my feelings and emotions. It begins with me at times needing to be humble and ask for forgiveness when I mistreat her. It begins staring deep into those moments when I throw a rage or a sarcastic remark because I didn't get what I want.
And for me, this is the cross I have to bear. In the world, we often blame others. And often we blame our parents, our family, our spouse. The one who we love we place them as enemies and the source of our frustration, anger and disappointment.
For me, to man up, is to start looking within.
Last night, I was reading on Luke 6 on the Beatitudes. Jesus said to not worry about the speck of dust in your brother's eyes and worry about the plank of wood in your eye. He points out the hypocritical and pharisee-like attitude we have when we are filled with self-righteousness.
And so it begins with me looking at my own plank.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. - Luke 9:41-42