Becoming A Four Pillar Man
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Dave Wilson admits he’s as messed up as the next guy. The only difference is Jesus and the courage Dave finds in following God’s instruction for men to be strong and courageous.
Becoming A Four Pillar Man
Bob: A real man accepts responsibility for his actions. Pastor Dave Wilson says that’s not how it worked for Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Dave: When God came looking for them after they ate the apple/ate the fruit, what did Adam say? He said, “Hey, God, You don’t want to talk to me. You want to talk to apple-breath over here. That’s who we want to talk about; right?” [Laughter] Actually, what did he say? He said, “The woman that You gave me…”—He blamed God. We do the same thing; we make excuses. Boys make excuses; men accept responsibility.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, March 8th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. I’m Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. We’re going to hear from Dave Wilson today about what real men do; including, stepping up and taking responsibility. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Are you starting to feel like there is a future ahead that does not include lockdowns and masks and COVID? Are you starting to feel like maybe you can see that day?
Dave: I wish I could say, “Yes”; not yet.
Bob: You still kind of feel like you’re under the cloud. I mean—
Ann: I don’t want to get my hopes up.
Bob: I can get that.We’re getting our hopes up fornext February; right?
Ann: Yes, we are.
Bob: Because this—
Dave: We will be out of lockdown by February.
Bob: This is where—
Dave: I’m guaranteeing it right here, Bob. [Laughter]
Bob: Like that!
Bob: This year was tough. We had ten years in a row, where we had the FamilyLife®Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. Each year, it seemed like it got bigger; it got better. It was just spectacular.
Then we were getting ready for year 11; in fact, it was last year at this time, we were on FamilyLife Today, saying to everybody, “You need to sign up for the FamilyLife Love Like You Mean Itmarriage cruise.” People were calling and starting to sign up. Then, all of a sudden, it was like: “Oh no; are we really going to sign up for a cruise?” because the first outbreaks of COVID were on board cruises.
Ann: Right; it happened right after our ten-year anniversary cruise last year.
Dave: —after we got home, yes.
Bob: But we’re ready for next year. Next February, you have Dave’s guarantee we’re going to be out of lockdown.
Bob: We’ve got a great lineup of speakers and artists. We’ve got great ports that are in place. We’ve talked with the cruise company. They’ve done all their safety precautions; everything to make it—I mean, we’re ready to get on the boat.
Ann: We’re excited.
Dave: It could be our best cruise ever.
Bob: Yes; and we want to let our listeners know: right now, we have opened registration for next year. If you are ready to join us/if you’re ready to get out of all of this, and get on a boat, and head out and have a great time on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise, you can sign up today. It’s the best rate available, right now, for couples. You’ll save $400 per couple off your cabin registration if you sign up this week, and you’ll get your pick of staterooms on board the cruise. Now is the time to get signed up.
We thought we should just revisit some of the highlights from the last decade of cruises. One of the highlights we picked was when you, Dave, back in 2015, did a men’s talk on board the cruise. You borrowed a definition of manhood; explain this to our listeners.
Dave: Yes; bottom line is Robert Lewis—who is a friend/a partner of FamilyLife for years—wrote a book, years ago, called Raising a Modern Day Knight, where he walks through four characteristics of what a man is: “When does a boy become a man?”—“Well, when you start to live out these characteristics…”
I actually sat down with Robert, years ago, and said: “Hey, could I use those as the four pillars of manhood?” and “I want to change one of them.”
Bob: You wanted to adjust it.
Dave: He was so gracious; he’s like, “Of course; do whatever you want. These aren’t mine; these are from Scripture.
I had always heard men—and I’ve said this: “What’s it to be a real man?”—R-E-A-L. I thought, “These actually fit that acrostic, R-E-A-L.” I just said, “You want to be a real man? Here’s what a real man looks like…”
Bob: In Part One of this message, you say the “R” is “Reject passivity.”
Dave: —which is straight from Robert’s material. When something has to be done, you don’t look around and say, “Who’s going to do it?” A man says: “I’m going to do it.
Dave: “I’m going to step in”; so that’s “Reject passivity.”
Ann: This is one of my favorite talks that you give; I think it’s really good. I think, for women, I think this is a great talk to listen to, too; because it helps you know how to encourage your husband and your sons.
Bob: We’re going to hear Part Two of your message. If listeners want to hear Part One, they can go online, FamilyLifeToday.com, and download the complete message. We’re going to pick it up after talking about rejecting passivity; you pick it up with “E” in your definition of real manhood.
[Previous Love Like You Mean It Message]
Dave: Okay; here is the “E.” This is the one I actually got permission from Robert to change; I say this: “A real man engages with God.” “Engages”—action verb—“engages with God”: pursues God; goes after God. It’s a guy on a kickoff team, coming/flying down the field. He’ll do whatever it takes to get to that ball. Same thing—you chase down God, no matter what.
The reason I wanted this in the four pillars is I think our culture gets it all messed up. Our culture thinks a man is a man when they’re tough/they’re strong; right? The opposite is true: “A real man is a man who realizes: we’re weak; we’re sinful; and we are prone to get in big trouble; and without God and His power, we are dead.” A real man in our culture—man, it’s like/really, in our culture, it’s like—if you have Jesus; or if you go to church; or you, even in the football team, if you go to chapel—they are like, “Ah, weak/weak men need that stuff, but real men don’t.” No; it’s the opposite. Real men realize they are weak and need God, so they engage with God.
You know what’s really interesting? In the David and Goliath story, when David goes to King Saul—because he says, “You can’t go fight; you’re a boy,”—you know what David says? He basically says, “I’m a shepherd. When I’m out taking care of the sheep, and a lion or bear come, I do what?—I kill it.” We usually read over that like, “Well, yes; he kills a bear.” No, no; think about it: he, literally, kills a bear.
What does he say to Saul?—he says, “The Lord—your servant has killed both the lion and the bear—this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he has defied the armies of the Living God.” In verse 37, he says, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of this lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
What was David saying? He was saying, “When nobody is looking/when it’s just me alone, I’m engaging with God,”—that’s what he is saying—“I’m getting to know God. I understand God; I understand God’s power. I know God! I don’t know about God; I know God.” That, in a sense, was enough for the king to go: “Okay, you go; because you are not going alone; you’re going with God.”
A real man spends private time alone, cultivating his walk with God. Do you hear what I’m saying? It isn’t once-a-week church. It’s like—Word of God—they know it. Do you know the Word of God? When somebody tells you to turn to a book in the Bible, do you know where it is? See, a real man engages with God/pursues Him. It isn’t: “Try hard to be like Jesus”; it’s: “Train to be like Jesus.” You know the difference? You can’t try hard—that’s the/80 percent of the church is like: “I’ve got to try hard to be like Jesus,”—no; you’ve got to train.
See, when you train, you put your life in an exercise pattern to train you to be like Jesus. You get into the Word of God daily. You spend time to pursue God like you pursued your wife before you were married. I would jump in a car, after a football game on Saturday afternoon, drive to the University of Kentucky; it took three-and-a-half hours. Spent a half hour with her; drive back three-and-a-half hours. Seven-hour trip for a half-hour with her—nobody even blinked—because that’s what you do when you’re in love. Men, engage with God. If I had only one pillar to talk about, this would be the one.
Third one is: “Accepts responsibility.” Again, this is right from Robert Lewis’s material—“Accepts responsibility.” David goes to the king, and he says what?—verse 32, he says—“Let no one lose heart on account of this giant, this Philistine. Your servant will go and fight him.” He says, “I accept responsibility.” “None of these boys are,”—he didn’t say that—but he was saying: “A man accepts responsibility for the bad he’s done in his life,” “…for the good he’s done in his life.” When a man needs to step up and do something, a man does. He accepts responsibility; he says, ‘I will fight.’”
I wrote in my notes: “It’s always easier to wait for someone else.” That’s what boys do; they wait for somebody to step up—that’s a boy. I’ll tell you what—honestly, you know who’s stepping up in our culture?—women. Again, I love women; I love that they are strong. A lot of times, they don’t want to step up. They step up—why? Because there’s no strong men around, so they will.
It’s always easier to make excuses. You ever make excuses? Yes, it’s a part of our DNA! The first man, Adam, was the big excuse-maker; we do the same thing. You know, when God came looking for them, after they ate the apple/ate the fruit, what did Adam say? He said, “Hey, God, You don’t want to talk to me. You want to talk to apple-breath over here. That’s who we want to talk about; right?” [Laughter] No, actually, what did he say? He said, “The woman that You gave me…”—He blamed God. We do the same thing; we make excuses. Boys make excuses; men accept responsibility.
I wrote in my notes: “It’s my responsibility to be the man of my home. It’s my responsibility to love Ann. It’s my responsibility to lead her and our kids spiritually. It’s my responsibility to provide, to protect, and pastor her.” Those are the three words I teach our men at our church: “You are called, as a man in your home, to provide, to protect, and pastor,”—no excuses. Is it hard?—yes! Do I have what it takes to do it?—no! But if I engage with God, He gives me power to be that man in my life.
I can remember—when I was in college, I realized, early, that: “I’m called, now, as a follower of Christ, to share the good news.” I was/I flew down to see my dad in Florida; he ended up living in Florida in West Palm Beach. I spent a few days with him on spring break my senior year. And then, I was going to drive/rent a car and drive up to the Campus Crusade for Christ® spring break on the beach, where we were going to share Christ—never done this before. As I’m driving north, about four or five hours I think, I pray to God: “God, if You want me to share You with somebody on the way, put them in my car; and I’ll do it.”
I am not kidding—a minute later—there’s a big dude hitchhiking. [Laughter] I looked at him; he had this big bag. He was a big dude, and he’s hitchhiking. He didn’t look real nice. As I got closer, I’m like: “No way, God; I’m not picking that guy up.” [Laughter] I drove by.
I don’t know how God talks to you—I didn’t know yet; I was just new—but I sensed in my spirit: “Turn around. You prayed for a guy to talk to. That’s the guy; turn around.” I’m like, “Nope; not going to do it.” I kept driving, and then it wouldn’t go away. I saw this illegal U-turn in the middle of the highway you’re not supposed to do—but if you’re doing it for God, you can do it—so I did a U-turn; [Laughter] right?! And I went down; I did another illegal U-turn, and “Okay; it’s for God.”
I’m driving back north; I’m thinking, “The guy’s gone by now.” And there he was; so I said, “Okay, God, here we go.” I pull over, and he gets in my car—throws his big duffle bag in the back—big old dude. We start talking. His name’s Jim. I go, “Hey, Jim, what do you do?” He goes, “I’m a Navy SEAL.” When he said that, I got so scared. [Laughter] I’m not kidding; I thought, “There’s no way I’m sharing Christ with this guy. Because if he doesn’t want to hear about Jesus, he’ll just reach over and go, [makes a sound: kccch!]; and I’m dead”; you know? [Laughter] That’s what those guys do; right? They are trained to do that. I’m like, “Not going to go there,”—right?—so we just kept driving.
He’s in my car like three hours—never mentioned God/Jesus—the whole time. The Holy Spirit is saying, “You prayed. You said you’d share. Here he is; share Christ with him.” Right before I’m about to drop him off—his exit is a little before where I’m going to get off—I said to him this—I just go, “Okay, God, here it goes.” I go, “Hey, Jim, you ever think about God? You ever think about Jesus and spiritual things?” I’ll never forget—he’s sitting there—and he goes, “I can’t believe you just asked me that.” He goes, “My life is a wreck!” He goes, “I was standing on that road—I won’t even tell you how I ended up on this road, needing a ride—but I prayed the only prayer I’ve ever prayed in my life.”
I go, “What?” He goes, “I said, ‘God, if You’re real, and You’re up there, send me one of Your followers to tell me about You.’” He goes, “Would that be you?” I go, “Yes, that’d be me!” [Laughter] I share the gospel, as limited as I knew. All I knew was: “God loves me. We’re sinners; He died on the cross to pay for that, and you can be born again right here in my car.” We were sitting now on the shoulder, because it took 30 minutes before we could get off at his exit. He gave his life to Jesus right there in my car that day; why?—[Applause]—“Reject passivity; engage with God; accept responsibility.” This isn’t a preacher’s job; this is my job, as a man.
Real men accept responsibility to be men. Let me ask you this: “Where do you need to step up, as a man?”
You’re being passive somewhere—you know it; God already spoke to you in that first pillar—it’s like, “Man, you know I’ve been speaking to you about taking a step in this area; step up!”
Maybe, it’s engaging with God; it’s like, “Man, I am lazy in my walk with God.” So am I, guys. Don’t be lazy; tell another man to hold you accountable. Start the One-Year Bible—whatever it is—say, “Man, hold me accountable. Let’s do this, as men, together. I want to engage with God.”
Accept responsibility—whatever it is God’s calling you to apologize for—say, “I own up to my mistake.” Or God’s calling you to say, “Man, you’ve been letting this area go; accept responsibility; step up and lead.”
That’s the last one: “A real man leads courageously.” As I studied the Bible, and I was trying to figure out, “What is a man?”—I never had a vision of manhood—many of you guys did; I didn’t. Robert Lewis and his material were my thing. I went to the Word of God; every time I read about men, there was this subtle thing—and many times, blatant—“Lead, lead, lead.”
Again, my wife is a better leader than I am; she’s more gifted as a leader. If God was basing it based on who had the better gift, He’d say, “Ann, you lead.” But He said, “No; Dave, you lead.” And my wife loves it when I lead—not as a dictator—as a gentle, firm, loving, lay-my-life-down leader, but still strong. She loves that; she does, and your wife will too. Again, you are not dictating; but you are leading them with courage, even when you are scared to death; even when you don’t know what to do, you lead.
You know, I think about this David and Goliath story. It’s amazing when you get to the battle scene—and I’m going to read some it because you talk about leadership—again, we have a boy, who puts away the armor; because it doesn’t fit. He walks out with a sling shot and five stones. Some of you are like, “Why did he have five? He only needed one.” There were four brothers to Goliath—you’ll find that out in other passages—he thought he was probably going to have to kill them all that day.
He walks out; right?—he stands at the battle line—a giant who nobody will face—every day, taunting them. They’re all hiding behind bushes/hiding behind rocks, and a boy walks out. Do you know what he says?—he says this: “You come against me with a sword and a spear and a javelin; but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty”—where does that come from?—engaging with God; he knows the Lord God Almighty—“the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day, the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day, I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.”
He doesn’t say, “I’m going to kill a giant.” He says, “I’m going to kill all of you.” And how is that going to happen?—“The Lord God Almighty who I know—and I know who He is, and I know His power; I know His character, and I know His plan—you’re going down today.”
Now, here’s something I never heard in Sunday school whenever this story was taught. The next verse says, “As the Philistine, Goliath, moved closer to attack him,”—guys know what it says? —it says, “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.”
You’ve got stuff in your life; I’ve got stuff in my life—it’s like the giant’s huge, and God is little—no; when God is big, and you know who He is because you are training to engage with Him, the giants/the problems in our life get small. He didn’t charge at something bigger than him; he charged at something smaller than his God. Are you attacking anything in your life with that kind of aggression? Or is something getting you, and you are sort of hiding back here, like: “Oh, I hope my marriage works out,” “I hope she starts…”
You know what God’s saying to you guys and to me, as a man, today?—“Reject passivity, engage with God, accept responsibility, and you start leading.” You walk into those situations; you run to the battle—you say, “This ends today,”—maybe it’s the sin in your own life; you say, “I’m going to start leading this family.” By the way, don’t tell your wife that; just do it! I’m telling you—tell a brother; tell somebody back home to hold you accountable, and then do it—she’ll see it. You start doing it.
I’ll tell you where it starts: on your knees. You get on your knees, and you say, “God, I am weak; I can never do this. I’ve made commitments to You before, and I never fulfilled them. God, I need You.” God will meet you there as you engage with Him, and He’ll transform your life.
I’ll end with this; my sophomore year—I don’t tell football stories—I have one football story; and it’s a bad one, actually. I became the starting quarterback at Ball State my sophomore year. When you get in the huddle, as the new quarterback taking over—who is supposed to talk in a huddle and everybody is supposed to listen?—the quarterback. I get in the huddle; nobody listened to me, because I’m nobody yet; right?—start off the season.
But there was an offensive lineman named Tim Young; he went to the Bears. He was a captain; he was a senior. He was like 6’6; 300 pounds. When he said, “Guys, shut up; listen to our quarterback,” they’d all shut up and listen. He was the leader.
Fifth game, we were playing Indiana State at home—homecoming. That’s when Larry Bird played basketball at Indiana State; anybody that old? Fortunately, he didn’t play football. [Laughter] We’re playing them, and we are beating them. We run out the clock, but we needed one more first down. The guy ran the play in and said, “It’s a short little pass; throw it. If he’s not open, run it; so the clock keeps going.”
It’s like a minute left. I throw to get a first down; a guy intercepts it for a touchdown to beat us. I not only threw the pick; missed the tackle. He scores, and we’re down like four with less than a minute to go. I walk off the field; my head coach goes, “Sophomore mistake.” I was so arrogant; I’m like, “Neh.” I sit on the bench. They kick off; we get the ball—one last try. I run up there; and he goes, “Okay, we’re throwing deep. We can’t get a field goal; we’ve got to score.” First down, incomplete; second down, incomplete; third down, there’s like 15 seconds left. We call an up route.
You guys know what an up route is?—you all do—in backyard football, you go down and out, and you throw it. [Mimicking a kid’s voice] “Next time, you go down and out, and then, up”; that’s called an up route.
They are going to thump it; they’re going to come up. That doesn’t work against prevent; right? But that’s what we called. I roll out; I pump at this guy. I go like this—I’m getting ready to throw, and I started getting hit—so on my back foot, I go—FOOMPH—throw it down to the left as far as I can. I go—BOOM—down to the ground. If you’ve ever played quarterback, you know that you don’t see a lot of your plays—you just listen to the crowd—you learn what it means. If the crowd at home goes, “AHHH!” that’s really good; you know? If they go, “Uhhh-ohhh!” that’s an interception. And if they go, “Ugh!”; that’s incomplete; right? [Laughter]
I throw this thing—BOOM BA BOOM BO—BOOM—and I am laying there. I hear the crowd—“AH-AH-AHHH!”—going crazy. I look up, and they are all jumping up. I jump up, and I look. My receiver’s got the ball; he’s sprinting 80 yards to a touchdown. DB’s trying to catch him. This guy, Rick Morrison, runs a four-two—nobody catches him—SCORES! We win the game!
I’m jogging down the field; because we’ve still got to kick the extra point, and I’m the holder. I’m jogging down the field. Tim Young, the offensive tackle, comes up beside me, and he goes [shouting], “You’re the man! You’re the man! You’re the man!” I’m jogging down there, and I’m looking up. I’m like [speaking softly], “Yes, okay; I’m the man.” [Laughter] We won the game; right?
We go to practice Monday. What happens when we get in the offensive huddle? You know exactly what happened; I walked in the huddle, and they’re like—[gestures made]—why?—because I made a play at a crucial moment; and now, “I’m the man.” The next three years, “I’m the man.” And by the way, we saw the film on Monday; it was total luck—it was pure luck/pure luck—[Laughter]—but it didn’t matter; right? Because, in that moment, a man stepped up, made the play; and they were willing to follow him.
Why would I tell you that crazy story? Here is the application, and we’re done. There comes a moment in your home—actually, there come many moments in your home—where your wife is longing for you to be the man. Your sons and daughters are longing for you to be the man. They may never say the words out loud: “You’re the man! You’re the patriarch!” But when you make a play—when you reject passivity, when you engage with God, when you accept responsibility, when you lead with courage—that’s not even your courage; it is God’s courage in you—underneath their breath, they may say it out loud—but underneath their breath, they are like, “I will follow that man.” Why?—because women, and children, and our society, and churches are longing for real four-pillar men.
Bob: We’ve been listening to Part Two of a message from Dave Wilson on what real manhood is. The guys in the room on the cruise, when you were presenting that message back a few years ago, I mean, they were ready to go out and storm the boat; right?
Ann: I want to stand up and cheer. Every woman is like, “Yes! That’s what I long for.”
Dave: I got to tell you—I enjoy speaking to men as much as anything I ever do. When you get in a room—because there’s something in the man’s soul/the masculine soul—that longs to be what God created us to be. Often, I don’t think we know what that looks like; so to get a chance to give a vision, like, “This is what it looks like.” Like you said, Bob—I hope, at the end of the day, you’re like, “Let’s go!”—I mean, it’s one thing to talk about it; let’s actually do it.
Bob: I mentioned that this message was one that you gave on the FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. These kinds of messages—from folks like you guys/the speakers that we bring on the cruise—I mean, you leave that cruise with a whole fresh perspective on your assignment in marriage, your assignment as parents, your assignment as husbands/as wives. It really is an empowering, exciting week.
Dave: Yes; the first time we went on the cruise, I joked because I thought it was just a Love Boat—you know: “We’re going to go on the Love Boat. We’re just going to laugh and enjoy each other. It will be a vacation.” I had no idea. It is a vacation, and you are refreshed; but it’s a marriage-intensive retreat. You come off the boat, after a few days or a week, and you’re in love—you’re not just in love with your spouse, but with Jesus—it’s transforming.
Ann: I think the words that come to my mind are: “equipped and inspired”—
Ann: —in every way: in marriage—and you’re right, Dave—spiritually speaking’ like you want to draw closer to God, because you have a vision of what He’s created you to do and be in a marriage.
Bob: We cannot wait, because you know we had to cancel this year because of COVID. Some of you are thinking, “I’m not sure I’m ready to go back on the boat. I may need…” Okay; if you need a year off, we get that; but I know there are others, who are like, “We are so ready.”
Ann: “Get me out of here.”
Bob: That’s right. “We are so ready to get on the boat.”
We’ve started taking registrations; and honestly, it’s starting to fill up. We’re hearing from a lot of people, who are ready to go. If you are interested, this is the week to get in touch with us to find out more and make your reservations for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in 2022. We’re making a special offer to Family Life Today listeners that is good now through March 22nd.
You can find out more about that when you go, online, to FamilyLifeToday.com; or when you give us a call at 1-800-FL-TODAY—call and talk to somebody—and make reservations for your stateroom, and join us in February for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Again, there’s more information available, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Tomorrow, we’re going to balance things out. We heard from Dave today about masculinity. We’re going to hear from your wife—we’re going to hear from you, Ann—tomorrow about being a godly wife/a godly woman. Again, another message from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise from a few years ago. I hope our listeners can tune in to hear that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch. We got some extra help from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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