Faith is not easy–at least living it is not. Much of my adult life it seems has been a kind of soul-search, and so, I find myself asking questions like what does it mean for me to be a “man.” Sure, those who know me know that I have a unyielding love for the outdoors, martial arts, am skilled in a few forms of martial arts, and many types of martial arts weapons. I enjoy quiet solitude, reading heady philosophy and theology. And, I also enjoy working on my cars. But I’ve been asking myself lately, what does it mean for me to be a man? When my son grows up, will he know how to be a man because I taught him how to change the oil or do a tune up? Will he define himself as a man because I taught him how to shoot a bow? I think, there may be a danger in defining my manhood by my actions. But the problem seems that in our society, that’s how manhood IS defined.
When my son becomes a man, I hope that he will define himself, not so much by what I “do” or the skills I have passed on to him, but more so because I spent time with him. I believe that we spend time with those we are closest to, and that’s not about proximity, but about relationship.
There is also a natural human tendency to transpose our human relationships to our Heavenly Father. We are like little children, we call on him when something goes wrong and we need him to fix it. God is just a mechanic–maybe he’s the main mechanic, but he’s still just the mechanic. We tend to think of God in terms of what he does for us, rather than our relationship with him. What would happen if we treated the people around us? What is we only acknowledged our wives for what they do for us rather than through relationship? Would it be any different for parents or friends? Those closest to us are the ones who are willing to give the most and do the most, not because we acknowledge them for their actions, but because of our relationship with them.
Our heavenly father is no different. He gives us every good gift, we can ask him for anything, he will do greater things for us, and all this not because he is our mechanic, but because of his relationship to us through Jesus Christ. We are adopted into his family and placed as his sons. He has placed his Spirit in us to confirm that we are his sons, we are redeemed and reconciled in Jesus Christ who continually makes intercession for us.