Quit You Like Men

I’ve been working on a course I’ll be teaching in our Bible college, “Christian Manhood.” We often bemoan the lack of manhood in our generation, yet, it is nothing peculiar to our generation. Calling for men to be men is something that goes back further than any of us living today can remember. Manhood may be something more easily recognized when it is missing than when it is exhibited. But the charge to men to be men goes back as far as man.

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Paul exhorted the Corinthians, among other things, to “quit you like men.”  A way of saying, “be manly” or “act like men.”  That means there is a way that is manly that is commonly understood.  Yet, as we consider manhood, it is a moving target in this world.  What one generation considers manly differs from other generations.  What certain cultures consider to be the characteristics of manliness differ from that of counter cultures.

For some, their idea of manhood comes from what is portrayed in the movies put out by Hollywood.  It can include everthing from the muscular weapon bearing man who is able to perform impossible feats against an unimaginable foe to the man who can drink more than anyone else, smoke more than anyone else, and be surrounded by more women than other men.  There are those who define being a man simply by what one is able to endure in the world of sports – the physical capabilities being greater than another’s coordination or strength.

In all generations there has been the need for champions; those heroes we look to, who in some way do what other other men only dream of doing.  Somehow, they become the “real men” and the rest of us are, well, less real?  One of the problems we have to deal with today, and again it is not necessarily new, is defining what it means to be a man.  A real, honest to God, man.

If we look to the world to define, for us, what manhood is, we will have an ever changing idea of manhood; ever shifting sands, upon which building will leave men frustrated and for the most part feeling unfulfilled.  However, if we look to the Word of God to find out what the Creator of man intends for man to be – we can find real fulfilment in the gender God chose for us to posses.  The God-man, Jesus Christ, is the greatest man to have ever set foot upon this terrestrial ball we call earth.  Yet for many, the perception of Jesus is not one of manliness, but softness.  He may be the most misunderstood man that has ever walked this planet in addition to being the greatest.  That should teach us something in itself.  Those who would desire to live up to the gender God made them, may not feel like they’ve hit the mark if they judge themselves by the world’s standard, and may be misunderstood as weak and pathetic the closer they come to God’s idea of manhood.

It’s not that Christian manhood produces weak men; the contrary is true.  It is a matter of the measure you use to determine the level of manhood or to define the word, “real.”

The world may stand in awe of the man who can lift great amounts of weight.  Yet, the difference between the Christian man and the man of the world is the reason for lifting the weight.  One is to impress his fellow man with his ability – the other is to accomplish the task that His God has given him to do.

The world may stand amazed at the man who can endure great pain and suffering.  Yet, the difference between the Christian man and the man of the world is “for what” he is willing to suffer.  One revels in his ability to go longer without breaking than others – the other is willing to suffer “for right” even while knowing it may not be long that he is capable of enduring.

The world may measure a man as manly because of the amount of vice that doesn’t seem to affect him, or the number of others, who also engaged in the same vices, which accept him among their number.  Yet, the difference between the Christian man and the man of the world is the company he chooses to keep.  The Christian man realizes that he cannot be a friend of the world and a friend of God.  That he cannot keep company with fools who deny God and the power of God, and at the same time fellowship with the Saviour of the World.  How can one promote and participate happily in the world from which he needs a Saviour?  To do so sends a message that he does not see himself truly in need of a Saviour.

And maybe this is the real issue.  Men who see themselves as men, yet needing a Saviour, versus the men who interpret the need of a Saviour as robbing them of their manliness.

I propose that sin strips man of his manliness – it keeps man from truly being what God made man to be.  No man can restore himself to manliness, but through Christ the old man can be passed away and the new man can be realized – the man restored in the image of Him Who created Him.

We need a new definition of manhood – really, an original definition of manhood that has been lost.  We need to reject, and teach our children to reject the ideas that come out of this world that do not lead a man to greater heights but instead, bring a man low – even unto death.  We need to get men to Christ and allow Him to do a work in man that allows that man to realize his real potential – to labor together with God in the greatest of causes.

The more like Christ one becomes, the greater the man he becomes.  The less like Christ one decides to live, the further from mahood he descends.  Oh, may we heed Paul’s words to the Corinthians.

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13