Last Adam

Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs, and the Choice Men Must Make

It’s easy to armchair-quarterback Adam’s failure in the Garden of Eden.

Why did he allow the enemy to deceive his wife? Why didn’t he anticipate the danger? Why was he so passive in the face of the enemy?

 Each of us imagines we would have operated differently. We would have recognized the danger immediately, right?

Before we treat Adam too critically, we should consider the danger in our own environment. How are we responding to the attacks on our land, our families, and our relationships?

Psychology professor Dave Grossman studies human aggression and the psychology of humans in combat, and he suggests that people fall into one of three personality types.

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep.  If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath – a wolf.  But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens?  Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.”

Adam approached the situation in the garden as a sheep. He failed to protect and defend against the threat, and he invited sin into the world.

Later, his son Cain would become the first wolf, killing his brother Abel out of jealousy.

Although Grossman’s work addresses our military and law enforcement, I believe it applies to Christian men as well. True followers of Jesus have no place being passive, powerless sheep or sociopathic wolves when Satan is working around us to get a foothold in our lives.

Consider Jesus.

He lived His life in sharp contrast to others: standing in as protector and defending His people. Even today, He continues to fight our battles.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

2 Thess 3:3

There’s no doubt that Jesus’ character matches Grossman’s description of the sheepdog. He is both warrior and hero, intent on protecting, defending, and fathering his people. He seeks those who are hurting, suffering, oppressed and lost, and He sacrificed everything for them.

The Last Adam came to accomplish what the First Adam could not. While the First Adam was motivated by self-preservation, the Last Adam came to protect His people.

Jesus stands in the gap where Christian men fail. But given that we all fail, we should view that as an encouragement rather than an indictment.

We are called to stand and defend those around us, but we do so with the strength of Jesus on our side.  

We have something to fight for, and something to fight against.

We have a land to protect; relationships to defend; people to save. And we have an enemy to fight.

Take stock around you:

·      Who has fallen prey to the confusion of the world?

·      Who is imprisoned by sin and shame?

·      Who needs a defender to stand in the gap?

The men of Junto Tribe understand that it’s difficult to stand as a sheepdog in the world, but we believe it’s the path God calls us to.  

God is seeking warriors, and we want to be those men.

In a world of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs, which path will you choose today?

 

 

Photo by Federica Giusti on Unsplash 

 

 

Why Men Must Fight Back Against Shame To Reclaim Our True Identities

Manhood matters.

It matters so much, in fact, that God designed His plan for the world around it. 

Man would care for the world, and the world would care for him. Man would live in intimate relationship with the Creator and would give himself to the world in the form of service. 

But then shame entered the world.

It happened in the Garden of Eden after Adam ate from the only tree God instructed him to avoid. Once Adam realized his vulnerability and nakedness, he sought to hide his mistake from God. 

 

“…I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:10

 

Unlike guilt, which often convinces us to change our behavior, shame tells us that we are inherently bad. According to researcher Brene Brown, shame tells us we can’t change our behavior because the problem is at our very core. Shame identifies the person as bad instead of the behavior.

As it so often does, shame prompted Adam to disconnect from God instead of seeking Him. It led him to cover his mistake instead of confessing it. 

Shame convinced Adam to make himself more acceptable by “covering up.” Adam focused on his image instead of on his heart.  

Later, King David made the same mistake, and it ravaged his entire family. 

Following his extramarital affair with Bathsheba, David discovered that she was pregnant as a result of his indiscretion. To hide his own sin, David tried to convince Bathsheba’s husband to sleep with her. When that didn’t work, David sent him to be killed in battle. 

David initiated a string of actions that served his own purposes at the expense of those around him. Shame prompted King David to hide his mistakes instead of confessing them and trying to make things right. 

Later, when David’s son Amnon engaged in his own brand of sexual sin, shame convinced David to remain silent in the face of his son’s offense.  

Shame rendered David powerless as a father and a king, and it does the same thing to you and me.

Shame convinces us to cover our true selves for fear that we aren’t worthy of love or relationship. Shame convinces us that imperfection is a sign of weakness.

So we cover it all up.

·     We don’t often admit our mistakes.

·     We don’t readily talk about emotion.

·     We rarely ask for help.

·     We fight to maintain control.

Shame convinces men that weakness represents the ultimate masculine flaw; as a result, men should avoid even the appearance of weakness. 

.To accomplish that, men engage in posturing, and we refuse to admit when we struggle. We project confidence even when we don’t feel it, and we fight for control at all cost.

But make no mistake: there is a cost.

We’re numbing ourselves to vulnerability by drinking, chasing women, withdrawing from our families, and going deeper into debt. And because it’s impossible to numb only part of your experience, we’re numbing ourselves to the good stuff, too. 

Our families and our communities need us to let go of false strength and embrace the real thing: the kind of strength Jesus displayed during His time on earth. 

Jesus never feared looking weak, but instead submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He never worried about His image, and He sought only to please God. 

When He struggled, He admitted as much, and He sought help from the Father.

He trusted, He loved, and He served, and He provided the only example of manhood we’ll ever need. 

The world doesn’t know how desperately it needs us to understand manhood. It needs us to be vulnerable, and to love, and to trust, and to serve. It needs us to care for it even as it cares for us.

It isn’t too late to choose differently. The men of Junto Tribe seek to become like the Last Adam and restore our identities and our relationships. 

We’re ditching our false identities and seeking the true ones. We’d love for you to join us on the journey.

 

 

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash