WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MAN

American society, including much of professed Christianity, derives its idea of what constitutes manhood from what is portrayed by Hollywood. This is equivalent to ones deriving their concept of what constitutes a masterpiece of art from what they see in piles of mud and garbage. Sadly, Edward Abbey was right when he wrote, “In the modern techno-industrial culture, it is possible to proceed from infancy into senility without ever knowing manhood.”


Good books and articles have been and are being written on the subject of manhood. But the clearest most challenging definition of manhood has been given to us by the Creator Himself. This is found in First Corinthians 16:13-14: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your this be done with charity.” Let’s break this down.


“WATCH YE.” Men should be “watchful” in terms of paying attention to how they live. This involves being careful relative to such things as family, finances and the people they will count as their friends. Men should “walk circumspectly” (Eph. 5:15, 16), practicing good stewardship relative to the expenditure of their energy, the development of their minds and the care of their physical bodies. The Bible addresses all these things in great detail.


“STAND FAST IN THE FAITH.” Real men, men at their best, are those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, recognize Him as their own Lord and Savior and can be counted on to stand with and for the Christian faith in deed as well as in their words. And they do they this within the context of the New Testament Church that Christ Himself established while here on earth.


“QUIT YOU LIKE MEN.” God intends for men and boys to conduct themselves in a manly way at all times. This means behaving in a gentlemanly way in their conversation, their conduct towards others, how they clothe themselves and how they carry themselves in general. Real men live in celebration of their manhood, and with a wholesome consciousness of their immediate and ultimate accountability to God.


“BE STRONG.” Good men, godly men, genuine men, are strong, steadfast and firm in what they believe. They have embraced, and are guided by principles rooted in the Word of God. They aren’t easily swayed by trends, fads and popular opinion. They aren’t “anybody’s dog who wants to hunt with them.” They don’t always opt for the easiest way and they aren’t quitters. They are among those who can always be counted on to stay with the stuff that counts in life.


“LET ALL OF YOUR THINGS BE DONE WITH CHARITY.” The spirit of and in and behind real masculinity, and that characterizes manliness at its best, is the spirit of love. It is love that makes men (1) “watch” that they conduct their affairs wisely and in a way that doesn’t cause them to be a stumbling block to others. It is love that makes them (2) “stand fast in the faith” for God’s sake and the sake of those for whom Christ died. It is love that enables them to (3) “quit,” that is to behave and present themselves like real men. Love is the secret, silent something that explains their ability to (4) "be strong" and endure the challenges of and demands upon their manhood.


Waller R. Newell wrote, “We don’t need to reinvent manliness. We only need to will ourselves to wake up from the bad dream of the last few generations and reclaim it, in order to extend and enrich that tradition under the formidable demands of the present.” How true. It’s time for America’s parents, and America’s men and boys to reclaim and reapply the biblical principles of manhood. (Please share this if you can).