After this past weekend, when millions of Americans honored their mothers and other important women for Mother's Day, we are reminded of how Jesus showed us throughout His life what true respect, dignity and honor for women looked like, beginning with His own mother.
"Jesus elevated women in a society that didn't highly regard women," says Dr. Tim Clinton, co-author of a new book with Max Davis, Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Masculinity: The Heart and Strength of Being a Man.The book explores Jesus' countercultural treatment of women in great detail, beginning with His own mother.
"For example, Jewish men could mistreat and divorce their wives for the pettiest of reasons," Clinton says. "Yet Jesus showed respect and honor for women, particularly His mother. His first miracle at Cana, turning water into wine, was at the request of His mother. Although Jesus said His time was not yet come, He did the thing she asked because it was important to her."
With poignant examples from Scripture, the authors show Jesus' tremendous respect for all women, regardless of their perceived station in life. In one example, "He showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery, peering into her soul wounds and rescuing her from violent men, showing her what mercy and grace looked like," Clinton says.
In these Bible accounts, "Jesus demonstrated how a man should treat women," Clinton explains, unpacking the significance for us. "When a man imitates Jesus, he complements and supports women. He makes them better, stronger. Ephesians 5:25 (NIV) exhorts husbands to 'love [their] wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.' How did Christ love the church? Well, for one, He died for the church. He obeyed God and suffered. Sometimes love suffers. Jesus washed His disciples' feet. Sometimes men need to wash their wives' feet."
Unfortunately, this notion is still countercultural, especially in today's secular, pornified culture of self-absorption. Take It Back zeroes in on today's issues and offers Jesus' example: Though He was truly manly, Jesus did not abuse those who were weaker than He was. "Jesus was the perfect blend of tenderness and warrior," Clinton says. The authors explore how this tenderness, instead of sacrificing or diminishing His masculinity, brings it to fulfillment. "He wielded a whip, but He also wept. He didn't stand for status quo or give in to the culture around Him. He took lashings. Make no bones about it—Jesus was a man's man," Clinton says.
"Jesus was about relationships with God and with people. He was all love and all man," he adds..
This has enraged the forces of evil and unleashed the full-on fury of hell, especially over the past year, with increasing attacks against men who follow in Jesus' footsteps. This is not by accident. "The enemy knows if he takes down godly men, he can take down a family, a community, a city, even a nation," says Clinton.
What is the answer? Take It Back outlines solutions and offers a future full of hope for followers of Jesus: to become humble servant leaders and thus avoid unintentionally becoming tools for the evil one. "Arrogant, toxic men who don't respect women are pawns in the enemy's hands," says Clinton. "When you have Christ in you, you can rise up and change the culture."
In Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Masculinity: The Heart and Strength of Being a Man, Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), challenges readers to reject the culture's redefinition and seek biblical examples of true manhood. Fast-paced, filled with relevant, biblical stories of godly men like David and Nehemiah, and contemporary stories of godly men like George Foreman and Tim Tebow, Take It Back empowers men to be who God created them to be and to impact the culture that is in desperate need of their influence. Study and discussion questions at the end of each chapter make Take It Back a perfect resource for men's Bible studies and small groups.
Dr. Tim Clinton, Ed.D., LPC, LMFT, is president of AACC, the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. Clinton also serves as co-host of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, heard on nearly 1,400 radio outlets daily. Licensed as a professional counselor and as a marriage and family therapist, he is recognized as a world leader in mental health and relationship issues and spends much of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He has authored or edited nearly 30 books. Clinton and his wife, Julie, have two children and a granddaughter.
Max Davis is the author of over 30 books that have been featured in USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Bible Gateway and on the Today show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in journalism and biblical studies. In addition to his own works, he's done a variety of collaboration projects with highly notable leaders.
Take It Back was released on April 6 by Charisma House, which publishes books that challenge, encourage, teach and equip Christians.
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