If a man doubts his manliness, he needs only to believe what is already true. God created him to be a man and to live as a man by being strong and keeping His Word. Even a man that the world would consider weak, feeble, and the least “manly” can be stronger than many in the world if he believes God and keeps His commandments. He does not need to take a trip to the wilderness and wait for a voice from heaven to declare to his soul that he is a man. He does not have to wait for his father or some father figure to somehow bestow “manness” upon him. He doesn’t have to prove to himself or to others that he has what it takes to do whatever the world or he himself deems is important and manly. Masculinity is given by God to men, and men must live it out Biblically rather than perverting it and redefining it in worldly, carnal, and selfish terms.
A selfless man will be characterized by patience, restraint and an eagerness to do what is best for the object of his affections.
Be men! In courage; not cowards, turning our back on the foe, or giving way in danger, or reproach, or evil days. In solidity; not shifting or shadowy, but immoveable as the rock. In strength; as the man is, so is his strength. Be strong! In wisdom. Foolishness is with childhood, wisdom with manhood. Speak and act with wisdom, as men. In ripeness. The faculties of men are ripe, both for thinking and working. They speak ripe words, think ripe thoughts, plan and execute ripe things. In understanding be men! In all things – what you do, and what you refrain from doing, be men. Act the manly part – let nothing effeminate, luxurious, sickly, childish, puny, little, narrow be seen about you. Christianity makes men, not babes. Adorn the doctrine of Christ by your manliness. In the Church, in the world, in business, in conversation, in prosperity, and adversity, [act] like men! Let no man despise you; and let no man despise the Gospel because of you.
When women lead, men withdraw from both church and home. But when male servant-leaders abound, young men eagerly volunteer to serve. Vibrant, godly, male leadership attracts men. It encourages their involvement. It motivates them to serve in the church and home. Men are irresistibly attracted to other men who model biblical masculinity.
Jesus Christ modeled biblical masculinity. 1. He initiated our salvation at the cost of His life. 2. He was a servant-leader in the first order. 3. He provides for our daily material needs. 4. He protects His church at the cost of His life. The deeper a man’s relationship with God’s Son, the more potent His masculinity will gradually become.
Just as men become more masculine around men who are humble servant leaders, so they become more masculine in the presence of biblical femininity.
Ultimately, men learn masculinity from God. God is not male. He does not have a body. But God is pure, unadulterated masculinity. Ultimately, He alone is the Christian father’s role model. His masculinity expresses itself as the willingness to initiate…the willingness to initiate is the heart and soul of God’s masculinity. God serves us by initiating. He initiated creation. He initiated our redemption. He came to us in the incarnation. We didn’t go to Him. This willingness is most likely what God means when He refers to Himself with masculine pronouns. Although God does not have a male body, He is the ultimate initiator. He is the ultimate servant-leader. In this sense, God the Father is absolute masculinity.
The masculinity I appreciate as a wife is of far greater value than wealth-earning power. It’s a masculinity that is unashamed of the gospel which is the power of God (Romans 1:16). The unashamed masculinity I enjoy in my home leaves a legacy that is more enduring than prolific fertility. It’s masculinity that fervently loves others from a heart that has been born again, born not of seed which is perishable, but imperishable. True masculinity is reborn through the living and abiding word of God. The unashamed masculinity I love to follow in my home is far more impressive than macho pride. It’s masculinity that is willing to take the painful shrapnel in the battle against his own sin, rather than run from sin and hide in the comfort of silence. It is a masculinity that willingly exposes its life to the iron-sharpening-iron of open and honest male accountability relationships. The unashamed masculinity that guards the hearts in my home puts away rash, cutting words that pierce like a sword. My husband’s Christ-honoring masculinity understands the power of words, and he uses words to bring healing to me and our children. The unashamed masculinity I cherish in my home is such that fixes its eyes on Jesus and turns its eyes away from all the vain things of this world that hold a potent charm over other men. My husband’s Christ-honoring masculinity flees from promises whispered by a hiss. The unashamed masculinity I need in my home is concerned that others find their delight in God. Nothing quite says, “I love you” to me than when my husband is willing to humbly stand up to the things I pursue that obstruct my everlasting joy in God. His loving masculinity reassures me of Christ’s atonement made on my behalf, and of the privilege I have to boldly approach the throne of grace. Unashamed masculinity has less to do with how many horses a man owns, or how fast he can run. Unashamed masculinity is about what a man does with the gospel. Where can you see this unashamed masculinity? You see it whenever a man has peered into the empty tomb and found new motivation to lay down his own life to spread the gospel into the souqs of Casablanca, into the office spaces in Dallas, into the cafes in Geneva, into the shantytowns of Mumbai, into the barrios of Sao Paulo, and into the universities of Toronto.
What is a real man? [Contrasting] the lives of Adam and Jesus comes the following powerful reply. A real man is one who: rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously [and] accepts the greater reward, God’s reward. This manhood vision desperately needs to be proclaimed throughout our society. It is a vision that makes its greatest impact when transmitted from fathers to their Modern-Day Knights.
Jesus at once displayed Godhood and manhood, power and humility, authority and submission, headship and servanthood. In the imperfect state of manhood, men can still, by God’s Spirit, display these same attributes (Judy Rogers).
A famous cigarette billboard pictures a curly-headed, bronze-faced, muscular macho with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth. The sign says, “Where a man belongs.” That is a lie. Where a man belongs is at the bedside of his children, leading in devotion and prayer. Where a man belongs is leading his family to the house of God. Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God seeking vision and direction for the family.
Jesus…is the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5) and the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:6) – He was lionhearted and lamblike, strong and meek, tough and tender, aggressive and responsive, bold and brokenhearted. He sets the pattern for manhood.
Men are not born masculine, they need to learn it. Specifically, they learn it by examining the Scriptures, looking to the example of Jesus Christ and following the examples of other men.
Male leadership in the home is seen in radical sacrificial love that mirrors that same radical selfless love that was demonstrated in our Lord’s life-giving death for the church (Eph. 5:25). According to Jesus’ example, masculinity is not domineering, it is service-orientated. Masculinity is not driving the family from behind, but leading the family by way of example, like the Great Shepherd Himself who always goes before the flock.
Another way to determine true masculinity is to look to Jesus Christ. He is the perfect example of manhood. He showed us that real men are gentle and tender, especially with women and children. He showed us it is okay for real men to cry. He showed us that real men stay under control, but also demonstrate righteous anger. He showed us a real man is concerned with protecting the purity and innocence of others. He showed us a real man has the strength to resist the temptations of the world. He showed us how real men are men who take the initiative. And He showed us that real men are humble when the Lord Himself washed the disciples’ feet. Jesus Christ is our example of masculinity. And it is the awareness of our shortcomings in this area that drives us to Him for forgiveness and strength to rightly fulfill our responsibilities.
There is so much confusion among men as to what it means to be a man. Radical feminism is confusing masculinity. Machoism is distorting masculinity. Chauvinism is abusing masculinity. No one is speaking out. Yet the church is commissioned by God with a responsibility to educate, nurture, encourage and model biblical masculinity.
In addition to the role model of Jesus, men also need good role models form other men. David Murrow in his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church said, “You cannot have a thriving church without a core of men who are true followers of Christ. If men are dead, the church is dead.” He goes on to say, “Men don’t follow programs; they follow men. A woman may choose a church because of the programs it offers, but a man is looking for another man he can follow.” Men are not born with an understanding of maleness. Ultimately we should be learning it from our fathers and while that is not always the case, we should always be seeing it modeled before us by other men in the church (1 Cor. 11:1).
Being husband, father and going to church does not make someone a man. Rather it is in these domains that a man is tested and in these domains he shows whether he is a man or not.
Though corrupted by the fall, God has wired men and women differently. Men are built by God to be protectors and providers to be defenders and conquerors for good. And when we don’t use these tools in the home and in the church, we’ll find ourselves using them in other meaningless (from an eternal perspective) activities like the rest of the culture. We immerse ourselves in the pursuit of money and yard work and athletics and automobiles and high scores on video games. We devote our hearts to the things that are carnal, worldly and selfish.
As is so often the case, when we live coram Deo, before the face of God, the thinking of the world gets turned upside down. My freedom consists in large part in being free of the lies of the culture, in believing God’s truth when all around me stumble in the darkness. I need not believe that children are a burden nor that my headship in my home is a heinous crime against equality. I need believe neither that manliness consists of owning a powerful truck, nor that manliness is having the power to blubber like a baby. Because God the Father has adopted me as His son, I am no longer a slave to folly. Because I am free, I no longer believe the lies of my former father, the father of lies. Because the shackles have been loosed and the blinders removed, I know I need to fear no man, but God alone. Our Captain and King has freed us so that we might be free men, and such are men indeed.
The most critical need of the church at this moment is men, bold men, free men. The church must seek, in prayer and much humility, the coming again of men made of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made.
What the Church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use – men of prayer.