by William A. Lee, Jr.
In Acts 3:1-9 we have the story of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, where Peter and John, through the power of God, commanded the lame man to rise up and walk. It’s interesting to note that, when Peter commanded him to walk, “…he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” (Acts 3:7, KJV) Peter actually helped the man up, even though it was God himself who healed him.
Today, however, the enemy has convinced many men that this isn’t the way to do it. This is best seen in the “real man” syndrome. As men we are supposed to be invincible and never in need of anyone. Real men are never overwhelmed by their problems. Real men are perfect fathers and husbands; they don’t need to ask anyone for help or take any suggestion on how to be better. This idea is causing us to hide behind a “macho mask” we have created. The simple fact is that we need one another. You could be a senator or a janitor; you could have gotten your degree from Brown or just hung out downtown. Whether you have a GED or a Ph.D.; no matter where you started from or where you are at now, there will come a time when your resources will run out and you will need someone in your life to lift you up.
Many of the problems we have in our lives today were in place long before we came into being. Some theologians call these “generational strongholds.” These are demonic bondage buildups that are contributed to by human participation. Take a look at your family history. Do you find alcoholism or divorce there? Or abuse of any kind, be it sexual, verbal, or physical? How about poverty, violence, or homosexuality? Chances are that the devil has been using these sins from past generations to fight against you today. You are so important that the devil has been planning your destruction before you even got here! But 2 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that “…the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” We do not need to be defeated by the attack of the enemy, irrespective of our backgrounds.
Once we understand the depth of our problem, we need to find a solution. To do this we must understand our position and, when we reach out and help others, their position as well. They’ve been exposed to things they shouldn’t have been at the wrong age, especially with sexual experiences, or with verbal or physical abuse. The basic foundation of their life—just like the lame man’s foundations of dysfunctional ankles and feet—is not right. And people are like buildings; without a firm foundation, the building, no matter how beautiful on the outside, will inevitably experience distress and damage. Until the foundation is fixed—until the feet are healed—the building, or the life you are building, will not stand properly.
So many people with so many problems find it difficult to get free from them, so they carry around the “American Excuse” card. When you talk with them, you go so far and then, when it seems the victory is in sight, they come up with some kind of excuse. They say “I was abused as a child,” or “Daddy left home when I was a little boy.” We must understand that when we get into the presence of God there are no excuses. There is only conviction and redemption; there are no excuses, because they were nailed to the Cross.
As men of God we must move forward. To do this means much more than to just say some things and walk away; it means that we, like Peter and John, must follow up our words with action. But Peter took the lame man by the hand and lifted him up; then and only then did “immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” It’s time to take ministry to the next level. Do you know the son of a single mother? This boy needs a man in his life; will you be that man for him? What other men that you know need support? The whole point of men’s ministries is “men helping men,” not just easing into some kind of spiritual retirement. Will you take your ministry to the next level? Will you be one of the “men helping men”?