“We are left with indefinite adolescence and a Peter Pan Syndrome epidemic where men want to remain boys forever.”
[photo via ]
The world today is filled with boys who can shave.
Historically, a guy would go through two life phases: boy, then man. The transition from boy to man was comprised of five sociological variables that happened almost simultaneously or in very close succession: Leave your parents’ home (Gen. 2:24); finish your education or vocational training; start a career-track job, not a dead-end-Joe one; meet a woman, love her, honor her, court her, and marry her; have children with her.
But here’s what’s happened. Rather than moving from boy to man by this succession of sociological transitions, we’ve created something called adolescence. It’s a third life stage in the middle between boy and man. We don’t know what to call them so we just call them “guys.” These are boys who can shave.
Today, adolescence starts somewhere in the teen years and continues indefinitely. There is no foreseeable end. The problem with adolescence is guys don’t know when they’re ever going to grow up and be men, and no pressure is exerted on them to do so.
Is it when you’re 16 and you can drive? Or 18, when you can vote and join the military? Or 21, when you can drink? Is it when you graduate from college after you’ve worked on your undergrad degree for seven or eight years? Is it when you get married? Is it when you have kids? Is it when you buy a house? No one knows. So, we are left with indefinite adolescence and a Peter Pan Syndrome epidemic where men want to remain boys forever.
“You men are the glory of God, and God wants his glory to shine through you.”
So where do you go? Go to Scripture. Go to Scripture. First Corinthians 11:7, Paul says a man is “the image and glory of God.” He is to reflect the truth and the goodness and the love and the mercy of Jesus, his God and Savior. He is the glory of God. And I still have hope for the guys. When I see a guy, I don’t see a porn addict, an Internet junkie, a World of Warcraft freak, one of those guys who gets, you know, an apartment with 27 other guys and they all share a studio and pay five dollars a month and split a pizza and call that their bar mitzvah.
I have hope for those guys because they are the glory of God. They are the glory of God. Now, it needs some work, to be sure. But you men are the glory of God. And God wants his glory to shine through you. God wants his kingdom to be made visible through you. God wants you to be his sons. God wants you to follow, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the example of Jesus and in the example of John.
I don’t care if you buy a truck, and you can play some video games and rock out on your guitar. I don’t really care. But the issue is when those are prevalent, predominant, and preeminent in your life. Some of you guys would argue with me on this and say, “It’s not a sin.” No, but sometimes it’s just stupid. It’s just dumb. You got fired because you were up trying to get to the next level and become a guild leader. That’s dumb. That’s totally dumb. You work one part-time job so you could play more guitar. That’s dumb. That’s really, really dumb. You spend all your money on a new car or truck, or toys, or gear, or gambling, or fantasy football. Dumb. Some of you say, “Well, it’s not a sin.” Neither is eating your lawnmower. It’s just dumb. Just doesn’t do anything. There are a lot of things that guys that are Christians do that aren’t evil, they’re just dumb.
“You’re not looking for the path of least resistance. You’re looking for the path of greatest glory to God. You take that path like John did.”
You’re the glory of God. What does it mean to be a man? John is a great example. He doesn’t waste his teens and his 20s downloading free porn, racking up his credit card debt, spending seven years to knock out his undergrad degree, trying to be the king of the fantasy football or baseball league, determined to pound more beers at happy hour and conquer more women than all the other guys to show he’s a real man. That’s no man at all. It’s a boy who could shave.
John shows us what a real man is: He’s filled with the Spirit. He humbly prepares the way for Jesus. He’s an evangelist who makes it his life work to introduce others to Jesus. He’s a man who ultimately is a giver and not a taker. He’s a producer, not a consumer.
Men, you are to be creators and cultivators. If you want to image God, your God is a creator and a cultivator. You create a marriage and you cultivate that woman. You create a child with her and you cultivate that child. You create a new family legacy for generations and you cultivate it. You create a business and you cultivate it. You create a ministry and you cultivate it. You want to be a man? You’re a creator and a cultivator. You’re a producer, not a consumer. You’re a giver, not a taker. You bring life, not death.
You’re not looking for the path of least resistance. You’re looking for the path of greatest glory to God. You take that path like John did.
Pastor Mark is the preaching and founding pastor of Mars Hill Church. This post is adapted from the sermon, “”http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/the-birth-of-john-the-baptizer">The Birth of John the Baptizer," preached at the Ballard campus in October 2009.
The Washington Post blog, On Faith, ran another adaptation from this same sermon under the same title.