Tensions Part 5: Breaking and Building

There are certain activities associated with masculinity: sports, hunting, fishing, cars, war, fighting, etc. One of those activities that often relates to the male psyche is handiwork - plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and construction. While I have pretended on many occasions to fix a thing well, what I usually end up doing is making the matter worse, but because I am a man, I tap into the ever-present male ego and through stubbornness and the refusal to be defeated, I pick up the phone and call a professional . . . I can cook. I can write. I can address hundreds of people with an inspirational diatribe, but "fixing" is as foreign to me as speaking Mandarin. Fortunately, my manhood is not dependent on building with wood and metal. Nor is my manhood dependent on going to sports games, shooting deer, replacing my brakes, or taking down the regime of evil dictators. My manhood is dependent, however, on being a good provider, and at different times, it requires the tools needed to break down and build up.

Solomon is honored throughout history as being one of the wisest men who ever lived. If he was alive today, he'd be the CEO of a major conglomerate because his business sense was unparalleled. He knew there were seasons that objects built sometimes needed to come down in order for something better to be erected in its place. The temple project in his day could only be made possible by ridding whatever was previously there. The old had to come down to make room for the new so that he could provide the Lord a place to reside among His people and for God's people to have a place to dwell with their Lord.

Paul exhorts us in 1 Timothy 5:8 with these words, " If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." These are strong words and my confession is that these words have challenged me over and over again. What type of provider am I being to my wife and my son? What type of provider am I being to those individuals whom God has entrusted to me outside of my immediate family? These are a couple of the questions I ask myself on a frequent basis, and if the Lord reveals to me that I am not doing well as that provider, I get to work in breaking down what doesn't belong and building up what He desires.

I used to think provision was only monetary, but the reality is men provide more than something so trivial as as dollars to a bank account. While that is definitely part of it, that is only one small piece of what Paul is discussing. The man of the house provides safety and protection. He provides love and understanding to his wife. He provides identity and spiritual blessings to his children. Too many men have failed at performing this basic function of manhood that they break down and never let God rebuild. Many men run away from their responsibilities and wave the white flag of condemnation rather than fighting to reclaim what they lost.

The biggest reason why I never became Mr. Fix-It is because my example of manhood ran away from his responsibilities and his father ran away from his responsibilities. I inherited a cycle of failure and chaos, but when I met my true example of masculinity in my Savior Jesus, He gave me the resolve to be a man that builds regardless of my mistakes. He gave me the empowerment to provide even when I had no idea what that looked like. And while I may allow a professional to fix my car, I will never let someone else do the job of loving my family that I am supposed to do.

Throughout the history of our small home of three, there have been seasons where I traveled off course in my heart and my family paid the price. We simply pressed the reset button and made a decision to break down the altars of sin and distraction to build up altars of worship to the Lord. Breaking down is as important in our lives as building up.

Though I use the example of manhood to convey this theme, the principle needs to be exercised by us all. Solomon cleared the land and broke up the ground to make room for the temple of God. In our hearts, we need to break down the idols and make room for the new covenant temple. We are His temple. He resides in a heart belongs to Him, and when we live a life of surrender to that belonging, we receive His blessings and His character because He is a greater provider than any of us can ever hope to achieve.

Getting off course is never an excuse to quit. We simply return to God's loving nature and receive His forgiveness so that we can continue in His pleasure.

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