The world often shines its spotlight on the young, hip, and glamorous. I’m thankful I’m not as naive as I once was. It took me a long time to see that the way the world defines manhood is very different than the way the Word of God instructs men to live.
Let me start by asking you who do you look up to? Or whose shoes would you like to walk in for a day? Is it…
- Action hero Will Smith? Who wouldn’t want to be rich, funny, handsome, witty and poised?
- Maybe you want to emulate Brad Pitt. He appears to have it all. Money, fame, women who adore him, a talented wife and a glittering Hollywood mansion.
- What about noted investor Warren Buffett? Forbes magazine recently placed his net worth at $44 billion. I’m not even sure how many zeroes that would take.
At least, this is what our culture would have you believe. It’s as if manhood is invariably linked to one of three things: 1) our billfold, 2) the ball field or 3) the bedroom.
Yet behind this illusion lies the stark reality that nothing could be further from the truth.
I know this from experience. After my father died in a car accident, I spent many of my formative years with no man to guide me to maturity. And without a good role model, it is tough to learn how to be a man.
The results all too often become apparent through boys who grow up to be broken men, producing broken families and other broken lives. Children trapped in such homes grow up to be angry and start the destructive cycle over.
This is a serious problem. In the U.S. alone, more than 24 million children live apart from their biological father. Pick any pressing social issue and you can find a strong correlation to missing fathers. Fatherless homes account for:
- 85 percent of all children exhibiting behavioral disorders
- 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children
- 80 percent of all rapists
- 85 percent of all youths in prison
Chasing after the things the world expects of you, instead of the things that God desires, will leave you empty and more frustrated.
Despite its trail of broken promises, the world continues to promote lifestyles of the rich and famous. TV, movies and other popular media promote the things just out of most men’s reach, whether that is the perfect house, sparkling new BMW or a dream vacation.
Surely if you had these things you would be content, right? Wrong! Some of the richest people in Hollywood are the most depressed. It is little wonder that U-2 hit it big with its song, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
Let’s look at the fallacy of the three worldly barometers, starting with your billfold, which represents material possessions. Having associated with men from all walks of life, I can assure you that money does not make you a man.
I have seen rich men act like spoiled brats. Some are plagued with more problems than you can imagine, and don’t do very well in dealing with them.
Number two is the ball field, which represents performance. Measuring sticks may be your position in your company or organization, or how much power and influence you wield in a particular arena.
Many men mistakenly believe the workplace defines them: How successful am I in my job? What are my sales numbers? How many people report to me? What titles do I hold?
Sadly, “what I do” defines too many men. If I tell you my friend is a mechanic, you form a particular mental image. A doctor, another. A construction worker, another.
Yet if you walk through the graveyard, you won’t see “Joe Smith: Farmer” or “Bubba Jones: Electrician.” In the end, it won’t matter!
Last is the bedroom. Spend two minutes in the locker room, a bar or watching TV and you will get the message that you’re not a man unless you have conquered this arena.
I disagree. A man is not some irresponsible jerk who is best described as a serial father, creating babies and leaving momma to raise them. A man sticks around to feed, clothe, and nurture the lives he helped bring into this world.
The Real Man
- Integrity. As Proverbs 20:7 puts it, “The righteous man leads a blameless life.” Now, this doesn’t mean a perfect man; it refers to one striving to do the right thing.
- Purpose. This man never lowers the bar. He doesn’t go along to get along. He doesn’t walk out on his marriage when conflict arises or bills pile up. He sticks around and sees the task to the end.
- Devotion to Christ. The wise man knows that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. He knows he can look to Him to guide him through life and make him into a real man.