I had the benefit of receiving Christ as a child–as far as I remember back. I remember being water baptized at age 8. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues for the first time, at age 21.
At the same time – like most people, I imagine – I gave lots of attention to planning out my life and the decisions that I would make to shape it for my duration on the Earth. Of course, this never really ends during a person’s life, but as a child, envisioning mere decades ahead feels like a sort of “judgment day” in itself. How many of us can remember school teachers assuring us that we better pay attention in class, lest we be condemned to being a fast food worker for life? For sure, Proverbs describes a number of benefits of discipline and hard work for material gain, and a child has a lot to learn about such things and the world around him. Yet Christ’s preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven makes clear that obtaining eternity utterly necessitates leaving behind everything of the world that is sure not to follow us into eternity either way.
A child usually looks forward to a lot of milestones in his life that require work to obtain, as a matter of standard fare:
*Getting a driver’s license
*Graduating High School
*Getting a first job
*Rising in Career
*Developing a Skill
*Owning a Home
To all such things, we tend to attach a great deal of romance. Most of us long for a sense of “accomplishment,” as almost everything on this list requires a great deal of work of the hands.
Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun–all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
Solomon was given a special gift of wisdom, and this is his sentiment regarding our lives with all of its work and all of its milestones. Surely he’s pouring ice-water on the fire of our passions for the various romantic milestones of our lives, calling absolutely all of it “meaningless.” What does Scripture say regarding the romantic confidence that character will produce a material result?
13 Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.
14 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].
15 You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].
Or the romance of conquering the world?
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [a]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
The great stuff we have or can get from the world with some amount of work?
1 John 2: 15-17
15 Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].
17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.
Through all of these commonplace life objectives, some of us receive something exceptional at some point in our lives, which is the gift of Christ.
Is it obtained as an accomplished adult?
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Faith with its rewards isn’t something you work to get. It’s a reason why you work hard because you already have a gift handed to you. After we receive the kingdom of God in the heart and the Spirit of God who enables, we are truly able to produce fruit unto genuinely good and lasting work. (Luke 17:21)
But I still want to talk about masculinity! ;)
In today’s world, many men are rightly complaining about masculinity portraying men like objects of productivity and the depreciation of their personhood. We can see men, historically, pursuing sciences, building things, fighting in wars, great thinkers and philosophers, but what is it that a man is doing as he does those things that are less socially oriented but pointed out toward nature and the elements outside of people? Looking for God.
“For the head of man is Christ.” A man goes straight for Christ in the wild, with the power of socially-independent thinking. He discovers the truths of nature and uses it to build–materially or otherwise. He ventures bravely into the wild to discover, getting what he needs for himself from the Lord’s provision . . .
. . . to be God’s “child” and His “bride,” so greatly loved, docile and obedient before Him and totally dependent on Him. He receives all of his instruction from God and returns to society with no timidity–quite the contrary, he now has what it takes to be a leader, unafraid to override the feelings, ebbs and flows of society around him, not a “mist driven by a storm.” He loves himself, filled by God from his adventure, and loves others as himself, entailing suffering negative reactions from those around him for love’s sake–love, essentially a force that creates. Much like all of a man’s hunting and survival instincts, he goes out and finds in the wild and returns it to others, builds and fights with it.
“The head of woman is man.” A step lower on the authority hierarchy, women will more focus on looking for God from people as man brings it back to her, also with equal courage to follow where it leads.
The greatest milestone of a man’s life is made in the boldness of his heart to independently receive Christ. The victories aren’t a material world-conquest in essence, but are won in the heart, as a man discovers God and hears Him speaking to a man in his work: great victories alone in his room, on a hike in the wilderness, building what he builds, exploring the “wild” in which he can achieve line-of-sight with God as His child and utterly docile and submissive bride. A “real man” seeks God beyond the scope of society, Who in all reality was calling him as a child or a bride of total dependency. The rest of his life, for however long it lasts with whatever other “milestones” are accomplished, is nothing and everything at the same time–though the “meaningless life” that Solomon describes perishes unto absolutely nothing, a man will constantly receive from his heavenly Father freely, stand firm among others, and with an ability to provide and lead with all that he receives from his heavenly Father.http://selfdefensiveman.com/2015/08/20/the-greatest-milestone-in-a-mans-life/