Today I am glad to welcome Ken Harrison to The Exchange. Ken is the author of Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man, and chairman of Promise Keepers, whose national event is coming to AT&T Stadium in Dallas July 31 through August 1, 2020.
Ed: In your new book you write that, “Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived.” Where exactly have Christian men been deceived?
Ken: Satan has been playing the long game on separating Christians from the love and unity we have in Christ. God says in Genesis 1-3 that male and female are the image of God, meaning that a fully masculine man and fully feminine woman coming together as “one flesh” in marriage is the best image of God that we have in this broken world. By attacking our understanding of what a man is, Satan is re-writing our understanding of who God is.
We must understand that God defines what a man is, not society. Men are called to stand up for justice, care for the poor and oppressed, and be jealous for God’s name. This is why I often say that humility is the mark of a person who is in love with Jesus and the outward expression of humility in a man is courage and generosity.
Courage, because when you don’t see yourself as any more important than anyone else, you will always stand up for the truth and for others. Generosity, because a humble heart gives possessions, time, and spirit with abandon because humility trusts in God to fill our cup back up to overflowing.
Ed: We live in a culture that attacks the very idea of masculinity, that wants men to be silent and soft. How are men supposed to act today—especially Christian men? What does it mean to be a “true man?”
Ken: A man is one of action, not reaction. He understands that he is accountable for solving problems and making the world a better place for everyone in his charge. He is constantly looking for areas where those he loves are struggling or in need and he fills those needs.
A man is designed by God to initiate, a woman is designed to respond to a man who initiates in humility and love. Too many men today are waiting for someone else to initiate.
When we see a problem in our lives, we first examine what we may have done to cause it, then we look for ways to solve it. We don’t blame others, we lift them up.
Lastly, a Christian man understands that his life must be one that points to Christ in every way. We are responsible for the spiritual state of our wives and kids. This means that knowing and understanding God’s Word so that we can teach our families and give them perspective to counter the lies of the world is one of the most masculine things we can do.
Ed: What do you mean when you say, “a hallmark of being a man is accountability?”
Ken: One of the most important aspects of masculinity is accountability. And the beginning of accountability is self-control. A man takes responsibility. A passive man looks to take from his relationships. He looks to be served rather than to serve. A real man comes to his relationships with an offer to serve and he evaluates his relationships based on how well he keeps his promises and commitments within those relationships.
Ed: You write about a time when God broke you when he brought you completely to the end of yourself. Why is the experience of brokenness so essential?
Ken: Pride is an insidious disease from which we all suffer. It must be destroyed before we can really walk hand in hand with our Savior. If you look at your spiritual failures, even the fleshly failures like slandering others, sexual sin, or greed, you will see that pride is usually at the core, spurring on your flesh. Not serving and lifting up others stirs up so many sins. It is a lack of following God’s words: “In humility, consider others as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
“Walking with God is a long process of going from the sinful nature’s pride to a place of complete faith. We’re all on that journey, and God wants to bring us each closer to him.
Sometimes it is through his gentle nudging as we read the Bible and pray. Sometimes, though, it takes a time of great pain because God must break us in some area so that we can really grow. I have found that real, life-changing growth always come through pain and sometimes, pain that results in utter brokenness before we’ll come to God in desperation where He can then truly work in our hearts.
Ed: Last year you became the new chairman of Promise Keepers and your team is in the midst of preparing for a huge stadium event next summer in Dallas. Why is this a good time for a new era of Promise Keepers?
Ken: God’s timing on this is so perfect because the church is finally nearing the state of desperation that I described previously. Women and children are suffering under the yoke of emasculated men, and men themselves are tired of living lives without meaning.
Promise Keepers will remind men of who God says they are and what he called them to be. Our lives matter greatly and our families are counting on us to rise up and be counted. Promise Keepers is not only calling men back to their identity in Christ but we, as an organization, are returning to our identity, which is an NFL stadium full of men praising our Lord.