Monday, October 10, 2011
More Thoughts on Biblical Masculinity
A continued exploration of some of my thoughts from my recent post on this subject.
A friend of mine was discussing this through e-mail with me and we talked about the distinction between personality traits and character flaws- a very important distinction.
So what is the difference between a quietness that is OK- or even admirable- and a quietness that is weak and unManly? What is the difference between (another discussion with another friend) a man having a perfectly manly desire to stay inside and do computer work and a man being a mouse who can't handle a good, rugged hike?
God has given us different personalities.
God has also called us all- all of His sons, that is- to be men. Manly men. To obey Him, serve Him, advance His Kingdom.
So to the degree which our personality traits hinder our obedience to Him- to that degree our personality traits are character flaws.
You may be a quiet warrior or an outgoing one, a musical warrior or an outdoorsy one, a blogging warrior or a fishing one.
But as a son and ambassador of The Most High God- you must be a warrior.
No matter your method, you must slay the dragons.
So, to make it practical. If your quiet personality means you talk less and listen more, that's probably a good thing that we could all learn from. If your quiet personality means that you don't evangelize, don't meet new people, don't truly love others, then your quiet personality is now more than that- it has gone into the realm of sin, because it is preventing you from doing what God has called you to do.
On shyness. I don't think shyness is ever a good thing. Quietness can be Biblical, but shyness is a manifestation of love of self. So instead of being shy, we should turn our attention from ourselves to others, and start loving God and loving the people He has placed in our lives. (1st and 2nd greatest commandments)
On to my next point. Hear ye, thou wimps.
"The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair." (Pr. 20:29)
Note to Mr. Hiccup: If a girl is showing you up (or beating you up) in physical contest, either she had better be quite the man or you had better be quite ashamed. Fortunately for you, young sir, Astrid is quite the man.
We are to be the protectors of the "weaker vessels"- that adjective is Scripturally applied to all of womankind, though the passage in question speaks specifically to the marriage relationship.
As young men, we should be strong. The stronger vessels.
So, my brothers, what are you doing to be strong? To be a good steward of the body that God has given you, of course- that goes for my sisters in Christ as well!- but specifically to be strong. Ruddy. Healthy. Able to protect and serve.
Do push-ups. Run a few miles. Something.
If your natural smallness means you aren't the fastest kid in the Church or the record-holding pusher-upper, fine. That's how God made you. Learn to use your mind. Hiccup is a good example of this- he can't throw the iron ball thingies, so he invents a machine to throw them for him.
But if you take that to be an excuse to be pale and wan, with bent shoulders and limp wrists, then you had better invest in some P90X or something.
Point three in my post addresses the girlyman syndrome.
This is something I've done myself in the past, and I regret having done so. I want to warn my brothers lest they too fall prey to this condition.
The girlyman syndrome is likely to happen when a young man hangs out around girls a lot. Note that it doesn't have to be this way. Not at all. It just takes a man of superior vision to be able to retain Godly masculinity even when he spends most of his time with those of the fairer sex.
A godly young man can be thoroughly manly when spending time with sisters in Christ- pure, masculine, respectful, chivalrous, edifying, and downright a pleasure to be around!
But the girlyman tries to be like the girls he admires or hangs out with (or is infatuated with). He'll read the books they like, and at least act like he enjoys them, just to please them. He'll listen to the music they like, he'll eat the same foods, he'll- well, the list goes on. You get the idea.
He's the kind of guy who says that he's not insecure about his manhood, therefore he can proudly carry around Pride & Prejudice or wear pink or collect stuffed animals.
Neither said book nor said color nor said pets are my issue. My issue is a man who is, ultimately, fearing (wo)man instead of fearing God, and who is acting out of regard for others instead of vision for The Kingdom (Mat. 6:33).
This is no true man at all.
Sadly, it can be very endearing to the young ladies since this young man is sculpting himself in their image.
And they might be Godly girls. A young man made in their image might be externally a pretty straight-laced and Godly fellow. (Maybe I should put a comma after "pretty". :-)
But the reason for his Godliness isn't true repentance and worship of God, nor the working of The Spirit in his heart, but rather a fleshly desire to please others.
Such sculpting in the end only results in a girlyman, not a true man seeking conformation to The Image of Christ.
These might be hard words for some. Know that they are spoken in love and with a smile! I hope this post edifies both brothers and sisters in Christ. Brothers- if you find yourself falling into these categories, and can see why that is Biblically reprehensible, repent and reform! Sisters, perhaps this will better arm you to look for the right things in men instead of being attracted by a man who molds himself to your will just to please you. Perhaps it will also prepare you to encourage Godly Vision in your brothers.
Men. We need to be devoted to a cause higher than ourselves. That cause must be The Kingdom of God. And for that cause we must be prepared to forsake all else.
For The Glory of God.