What Scripture Taught Me About Manhood
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love" I Corinthians 16:13-14
Gender identity is a hot topic these days in America, from transgender individuals to “toxic masculinity.” I’ve wrestled most of my life with feeling like I don’t quite measure up when it comes to being a “real” man. This internal battle was especially acute in my teen and early 20’s; I remember vividly as a freshman in high school having absolutely no interest in taking shop. I loved cooking and baking, so I took Home Economics in the spring of 1988; apparently I was the first guy to ever do that at Pella Christian High School!
Now of course there’s nothing about building an end table that is inherently more masculine than baking a cake, and thankfully when it comes to learning what makes someone truly a man in God’s eyes, we have Scripture to be our guide instead of rigid (and frankly sometimes ridiculous) cultural stereotypes.
This morning I heard a great broadcast on Focus on the Family about real manhood; that led me to the Focus website, where I found a great article by Greg Smalley called “What Scripture Taught me About Manhood.” He starts with this great observation about our American view of men:
According to popular wisdom, men fit into a specific and limited mold: Real men are tough, highly competitive and obsessed with sex and sports. They won't admit when they're wrong (or lost) and are relationally dim-witted buffoons.
Then he pivots to the Bible, where we get a much different picture of true manhood. Smalley uses I Corinthians 16:13-14 as the basis for his illustration: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love" As it relates to men, husbands, and real masculinity, these verses state the foundation of a Godly man includes these five things:
Be on your guard (project our wives/children/those who are weaker)
Stand Firm in the Faith
Be Courageous (not just looking for an intruder at 2am when your wife hears a noise, but being faithful in the little things every day)
Be Strong (be strong AND tender - strength is more than just big muscles)
Do Everything in Love (sacrifice is the ultimate sign of love)
So how does a list like this sound? Intimidating? Refreshing? Freeing? Maybe all of the above? Our culture gets it so wrong when it comes to men, women, and true masculinity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a football player or a florist (or a radio announcer) - through the leading of the Holy Spirit we are all able to become true men and true women.
Smalley writes in his conclusion:
Many marriages today are floundering because men are confused about their masculinity. Thankfully, we don't have to take our cues in this arena from movies, TV shows or cultural trends. Scripture offers a wealth of guidance on how to live as a godly husband. Learning to do so will benefit our wives and our marriages.
Are you looking for some help on how to be a true man, start with the Bible - you can’t go wrong!