One of my favorite old hymns is “Rise Up, O Men of God!” It was written by William P. Merrill in 1911, but it still carries just as much weight 110 years later. As men, we make a habit of beating each other up quite a bit. In most cases we do it to motivate and change lives, but it can be exhausting to constantly feel like you aren’t adding up as a man.
Christian men are fully aware of the responsibility they carry as leaders and as heads of the family, and sometimes they are attempting to carry this weight all alone. When I look around at Northside I see men showing up, leading the church, and leading their families closer to God, and it makes me proud. But I know many of these same men struggle in silence, putting on a brave face for the good of those they love. Statistically, men are becoming more and more absent from the church. I believe there are many reasons for this, but Northside is blessed to not reflect those statistics.
There is a lyric in “Rise Up, O Men of God!” that encourages me when I think about the godly men of Northside and the various struggles and trials they might be facing: “Rise up, O men of God! The church for you doth wait. Your strength unequal to the task, but Christ in you is great!” Over 100 years ago the men of the church were attempting to carry it all. They knew they were supposed to lead the church, and lead their family, and prepare the next generation, but that was a heavy burden to bear. They realized they were unequal to the tasks set before them, but were reminding each other that it wasn’t them, but Christ in them, that would accomplish these things.
Men of Northside, the Spirit will prevail. Continue to put on the Armor of God and throw off the things that entangle you, but remember where your strength comes from. “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19.
Northside men, you encourage me. Continue to “rise up!”