Gentleman, Tested: Purpose and Identity

Cornelius Lindsey is the husband of Heather Lindsey. He’s a father, son, and brother. He’s the Pastor of The Gathering Oasis Church, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s also the President of Cornelius Lindsey Enterprises, LLC., a company whose concentrated focus can be described in one word, service. To learn more or to connect with Cornelius Lindsey, visit here.

The definition of the modern gentleman is changing as our society changes. The standards have become relaxed and convoluted while the struggle of identity and purpose grows larger and larger each day. If we do not identify the problem we will never come to know the solution. While many problems exist, I want to focus on two main issues: purpose and identity.

President Barack Obama has become synonymous with the word “change.” It’s an eloquent word, but it fails to accomplish anything if those who proclaim it fail to identify what needs to be changed and how it should be changed. Lets be clear on what needs to be changed and how it should be changed in reference to the many issues surrounding young men. I’m going to include myself in this because if we fail as individuals, we fail as a community. The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.

Number one, we are lost. We are like ships without a sail. We are floating along with no direction. Yes, we need direction. We need encouragement and enlightenment. We need purpose. Our purpose cannot come from worldly pursuits or ideas because anything of this world is temporary. It won’t last. It will fade away like the blade of grass and melt away like snow in the heat of the day. If we as young men fail to recognize the importance of service to Jesus, we are left with nothing more than selfish pursuits and worldly ambitions. Our purpose must be more than just a career or an entitlement placed on us by society. It must be more than an idea given to use by our peers. It must be birthed from full-fledge service to our Lord and King. And yes, this service is costly, but it is filled with adventure, war, and sacrifice. We must return to the message of the Commission and teach our boys the value of hard work, discipline, self-respect, and respect for others. If you do not have a purpose then you’ve made it to your destination. If you want to truly live, you must give your life to something and Someone much bigger than you!

Number two, we are blank canvases. As children, our influences are like paintbrushes. They either create a masterpiece or a miserable painting. Either way, we are blank canvases. We are byproducts of our external influences coupled with the sinful nature we were born in. If we are not taught about our true identity, which is only found in Jesus Christ, we’re left to believe that we’re only what everyone else has called and named us—whether it’s pleasant or derogatory. We must realize that we are men. That means we’re to give ourselves to service, hard work, discipline, and purity. We are meant to be obedient unto God. Although rebellion is born in our heart, it should never remain there for eternity. Although our external influences are great, they are not the greater problem. The greater problem stems from within. We lack identity because we choose to live with polluted, rebellious hearts. If we’re to find our true identity, we must begin by approaching Christ. Through process and baptism—both by water and fire–will become sure in who we are and what we’re here to do.

What needs to be changed? We do. How should we be changed? Jesus Christ must change us from the inside out. I could easily give you advice on who to change your behavior so that it reflects the evolving definition of what it means to be a gentleman, but it would be useless in comparison to eternal truth. Those things can help to change your actions, but only Christ can change your heart. I can teach the wolf to act like sheep, but only Christ can make that wolf docile and submissive. 

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