There’s a comedian named Mike Birbiglia. He is a terrific story teller. He has a bit wherein he is telling a story. At the moment that everything can go wrong he says, “What I should have said…was nothing.” And then he tells us how he did exactly the opposite.
Thinking back on “How to Become a Man Worth Following, Part 1” from last week, I feel somewhat like that. Although, if I were to say it my way, it would be “What I should have said…was the Gospel.” But instead, I said nothing.
Confused? Let me clarify.
CHANGED BY THE GOSPEL
Men, you took some heavy shots on Sunday. My goal is never to bully but to push you towards godliness. Let me be clear: there is nothing I am apologizing for. If you walked away from Sunday convicted, saying to yourself, “I am not a man worth following,” praise God. However, if you walked away thinking, “Check! I’m good on all fronts!” Then you’ve got more you need to work on than you realize. The humble think they need the most work, and the proud think they need little work at all.“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:12).”
On Sunday, I let you walk away without a clear path of restoration. Here is that path.
Men who see their need to change, women who are begging God for for their husband to lead their home, women who are begging God to be married to a man who will, this is hope: The Gospel is powerful enough to change you and the men in your life.
I felt the Holy Spirit prodding me to say this on Sunday, but I did not because I had my eye on the ever-ticking clock.What I should have said in addition to everything else was, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).”
The Christian life is one of a perpetual discovery of weakness, and perpetual discovery of the power and strength of the Gospel. Do not be surprised that when you look into the mirror of God’s Word (James 1:23) you do not like what you see. But the beautiful thing about belonging to Jesus Christ is that there is grace, there is hope, and there is the power of change in the Gospel.
Listen, the only man that is worth following is Jesus Christ. If the standard is “Be exactly like Jesus or you will not be a man worth following,” then you will never be worth following. What is the standard, then? What are you supposed to do when you find yourself lacking as a leader at home spiritually, financially, sexually, as a friend, and in communication?
The answer is found in the Cross of Christ. Jesus, who is our covenant head, knows full well that you are going to fail in your covenant with your wife just as much as you have failed in your covenant with Him. We are sinful men with sinful hearts and we do sinful things. And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9). It is no surprise to Jesus that you are not fulfilling your role as the head of your home. Jesus is not interested in gathering up perfect people: Jesus is interested in taking you from brokenness to restoration. The challenge now if for you to not wallow in self pity, but to make a plan to change.
STEPS TO CHANGE
- TALK TO GOD. If you were convicted on Sunday that you are failing in your responsibilities as a man before God, make a list of where you have fallen short. Take that list to your knees, and lay it out before the Lord. Confess each and every area of failure to the Lord, and ask Him to forgive you. You are forgiven! Rejoice in the joy that is found in having your sins forgiven! 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore OUR sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).”
- TALK TO YOUR WIFE: CONFESSION. This may be the hardest step, men. Talk to your wife. Confess to her the ways that you know you have failed her, and ask her to forgive you. Then ask her, “Where else have I failed you that I am not seeing?” Your wife married you so that you would lead her in righteousness. Failing in your responsibilities to lead her is a sin against her and you must seek her forgiveness before there is restoration in your marriage.
- TALK TO YOUR WIFE: MAKE A PLAN. Now that you have been humble enough to confess your sin and own your sin, be humble enought to make a plan together. Take the top 5 areas that you are struggling as a leader and make a plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail. If you do not set out your course on how to lead in a stronger way, you will fail to lead in a stronger way. Involve your wife, “Honey, how can I be a better spiritual leader for you?” “Let’s sit down today and make a budget together.” “Let’s research some resources to help me to lead our family in the Word and in Prayer.” Here are a couple of resources that I have found to be very helpful in leading my family at home:
- TALK TO YOUR FIANCE OR GIRLFRIEND IF YOU HAVE LED THEM INTO SIN. If you are dating or are engaged and you have led your girlfriend or fiancé into sexual sin, this is not something to be taken lightly. If you have had sex before marriage, you have made yourself one with this woman in a way that God only has in place for marriage (1 Corinthians 6:16). You must seek her forgiveness, and I would challenge you to lead by taking a break in the relationship until you can are restored and can lead her in self-control. Do not be fooled, men: God will not be mocked. You are leading His daughters into sin (1 Timothy 5:2). Be very careful.
- TALK TO YOUR BROTHERS. There is no reason why you need to do this on your own. God has commanded us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Men, we must walk side-by-side with one another, pointing each other to Christ, picking each other up when we fall, and holding each other accountable to the commitments that we make to the Lord and to our families. We gather in our Small Groups for this exact purpose, and if you are not involved in one get involved TODAY. Do not hide behind a facade of a perfect marriage. That is the fastest way to ruin your marriage. Get other people involved and you will see your walk with Christ accelerate faster than you can imagine.
Tim Keller is famous for saying that in the Gospel we see that we are far worse than we ever imagined, yet we are loved far more than we ever dared to dream. It is true. Come to the waters of forgiveness today, and be satisfied. Then take the steps you need to take today to become more like The Man worth following: Jesus.