On his deathbed, King David drew upon the experience of his tumultuous and triumphant life to give his son Solomon the secret to success in leadership, career, marriage, and fatherhood.
These words to Solomon in 1 Kings 2:2 are the 2022 theme verse for Men’s Ministries: “Be strong and show yourself a man” (ESV).
You can almost see Solomon’s left eyebrow shoot upward, as if to say, “Really, Dad? That’s it? Be strong and be a man? OK.”
But David immediately defines strength and manhood in a spiritual exhortation:
“…keep the charge of the Lord your God,
walking in his ways and keeping his statutes,
his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies,
as it is written in the Law of Moses,
that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…”
In effect, David simply says to be a good leader and a good father, you must keep God’s law. Sounds overly simple? It’s a daily battle.
On Father’s Day, there are men who need a reminder of what it means to be a good man and a good father.
Men, we have to be strong. We have to show ourselves as men. But how do we do that? We keep God’s law, honor Him, and we set the example in our homes.
Popular culture screams that we are the problem. Various voices in society claim we are lazy, aggressive, abusive, foolish, incompetent, and brutish. Our masculinity is toxic and causes harm. Such remarks are blatant lies designed to push us to the sideline.
God uniquely created us to protect, defend, serve, and sacrifice. All four of those qualities cultivate nobility and honor in a man. Masculinity is God’s gift to us. With it, we will serve God, be a priest in our homes and churches, and be Christ’s witnesses in the world.
But it’s not an easy road. If you dare to keep God’s law and serve your family with strength and display biblical manhood, you will become a target. In your weak and low moments, the enemy will tell you lies about yourself.
A few months ago, I listened to such a lie.
In November 2021, I was with my wife, Tara, and our son, Omar, in an office in the country of Colombia as we made the most painful decision of our lives.
We chose to disrupt an international adoption. Five years of work and pain to reach that point, only to realize that we could not adequately care and provide for a little girl with whom we’d been matched.
Two days before Thanksgiving, we said goodbye to her, got on a plane, and came home. We’ve never cried so much in our lives. I’ve never felt so small, weak, foolish, and ineffective as a man.
At one point, a very specific spiritual attack came. A voice said, “You’re not a good man.”
For about 24 hours, I listened to that voice. I was ready to return home and resign my ministry assignment, go into hiding, and feel nothing but guilt and shame forever.
When hell comes for your family — and it will — you will be the first target.
But the Holy Spirit prompted someone to speak healing words to me during a phone call home: “Dan, you’re a good man.” Those words broke the dam. The spiritual and emotional pressure of a nightmarish eight days exploded inside me.
I needed a reminder that only God gets to say who and what I am.
Of course, the struggle continues. The grief and regret are still real, and painful. But I know the King I serve. Even though I’m not perfect, He gives me the strength I need to be a man — a man of God.
Also, I know that if I am to truly thrive as a man, a husband, and a father, I must follow God’s law, know His Word, keep His commandments, and stay on a spiritual journey of discipleship for the rest of my life.
David could have said much to his son before he died. But he said, “Be strong and show yourself a man.” It’s advice every Christ-following man must think about, pray about, and then live.
But many of us are on the sidelines. We don’t lead our families spiritually at home, we don’t serve in our churches, we don’t support our pastors. We’re sleeping.
National Men’s Ministries believes that God is calling us out, trying to awaken and shape us into a powerful missions force to change the world.
If you sense, or know, that you are on the sideline, let the simple words of a dying king move you from the place you are now, to where God needs you to be in future: “Be strong and show yourself a man.”
If you don’t know the next step, talk to your pastor. Or, the Men’s Ministries app and Men.ag.org website offer more than 300 free Bible study and spiritual growth resources, including the 360Man podcast and information about how to become a 360Man.
Sunday, June 19, is Father’s Day, and National Men’s Ministries Day in the Assemblies of God.