Tomorrow is Good Friday.
The Nature of the cross & the passion – the centerpoint of history – a Christian man cannot observe honestly the reality of the events of the passion without recognizing two things: one, his utter frailty as a man subject to weakness and temptation to abdicate his proper role; and two, his renewed position of poised conquest.
Frailty must be recognized first, as “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” Every man must recognize the vast capabilities at his hands given the tools and power and talents he bears.
The greatest temptation of our age is not that our actions will harm others, but that if we simply do nothing, good may result. The greatest temptation is to cruise, to abdicate, to merely enjoy life and “go along to get along” and hope things will improve. Every action a man takes with an aim to accomplish a goal can be turned into a positive, whether a successful act that accomplishes a stage of his mission, or a failure from which he can glean truths and learning. Failure is a productive act. No action is not a productive act. Therefore, even failure or acting poorly is greater for a man than abdication of responsibility to act. This speaks nothing to those people a man is responsible for – wife, children, friends. They are harmed most by a man’s failure to act and to set in place the stabilizing plumblines of morality and mission.
This brings us to the reality of choosing not to act in a situation where we know we should. The reality is not that we avoided an action, but that we chose another action instead. By Adam’s choice not to explicitly state that Eve has committed error or to at least consult with God about what had occurred and not to simply go along with it, he was then tempted to commit treason against God and go along with Eve, resulting in a cascade of human degradation.
The precursor to male sin is nearly always a lack of effort toward a mission which would have precluded the temptation in the first place. King David committed adultery and went down a disastrous road that included him intentionally setting up one of his best warriors to be killed in battle because he was lazily enjoying his palace during the portion of the year when “Kings went out to war.” If you did not contend for your land during that period of the year, the nations around you would contend for them, and they would take the outlying cities and villages of your land for themselves. He continued his errors by refusing to discipline his son Amnon for raping his daughter from another wife, Tamar. His abdication of moral responsibility led to Absalom stealing the hearts of the sons of Israel and leading a rebellion against him, very nearly succeeding in stealing the throne forever.
This entire chain of events was because David wasn’t on his mission and lost his moral stones to do what was right and get back on his mission.
Second, we see the incredible things that can happen when a man really is on his mission. He is poised for conquest – no one who industriously pursued a goal with their entire spirit and focus has ever been worse off, and most of those who do so will succeed in ways they never imagined.
Again, the temptation creeps in with thoughts of taking the easy way or finding alternatives that might be easier than the mission we know we should be pursuing. It speaks in hushed tones of “Wait, wait a moment. You could fail, and that would be a waste of time. Maybe we need to take this alternate mission or wait a while to see what happens. Maybe achieving the mission will be easier if we wait for this one thing to happen.” No. Choose what is worthwhile and pursue it. If you cannot figure out which one is worthwhile, make your best guess and go for it. You do not figure out what your mission is without action. A highly successful way to hamstring men of our age has been to tell them they need to “find themselves” or they need to figure out what they want to do with their lives. That is beating around the bush.
You can only find yourself in battle. You can only discover your next mission or your life missions in the heat of effort.
Sin hamstrings men partially by making them fear error because the penalties are known. This paralyzes men, since not all men can handle the intellectual burden of endless complex sets of rules. Jesus frees our action by telling us to go forth, “be fruitful and multiply.” If error be found, the solution is simple – remember the cross. Confess your sin, take up the sacrifice that was offered on your behalf, and “go, sin no more.” You will not avoid sin by inaction. You only make yourself vulnerable to worse sins.
Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary frees men and sets a plumbline in our lives that, when understood properly, frees us to be beings of action rather than beings that wait around to be acted upon. “Be fruitful and multiply” when it was said of human beings included the invocation to “have dominion” over all areas of the earth. The birthright for men is dominion, if they will act. Dominion begins when a man chooses to act; by doing so, he precludes certain things from acting upon him, and every act increases this dominion. Provided he remembers the first principle – humility – and provided he recognizes his errors and continues to act, his possibilities are well beyond his dreams.