What Characterizes Being a Man?
In some circles, to recognize any difference between the sexes brings outrage. Gender roles are under attack. Shame is directed at being male. We also find a subtle notion that failure is unique to the male.
In another sense, men have largely abdicated their roles. Fathers abandon their children to run away from responsibility or chase pleasures. Absentee fathers are epidemic. If a man is present in family or society, we often find passivity. This leads to acquiescing to life around us, investing little of ourselves. It is easier to let someone else take the lead, reduced to indifferent detachment and apathy. Wives and families may have an emotionally absent figure, though being physically present.
What does it mean to be a man? When we think of this, we define ourselves by what we do. Men are characterized by the job held, title, position, or activity pursued. Yet, we must first be something before we perform. What we are dictates our purpose.
Without God, we can never truly be what was intended in man. Fallen in sin, our default mode is to spend our energies on selfish desires. Whether man or woman, we know in our hearts we have not measured up to our own notions of good or morality, let alone rightness before a holy God. We may sporadically attempt to do better, but our lives are full of regret, failure, and secrets.
There is hope in our mess. God beckons us to the foot of the cross, to receive redemption and new life in Christ. In Jesus, He wipes our past clean. Our sins are forgiven. From here, Jesus calls us to noble purpose in response to His wonderful love. We are to serve our Lord, stand for truth in our homes, and live in genuine repentance. In humility, we follow in sacrificial love toward others.
Hypocrisy or lukewarm morality so often marks American Christianity. Jesus embodied truth and love equally, without diminishing either trait. We are to follow Him. If regretful behavior has been true of our lives until now, let us decide whatever we have done, today we will love Jesus and live in obedience. I admit my sin to Him and allow myself to be molded by my gracious Lord. In His grace and transformation, He will bring a renewed beginning.
Being a man finds ultimate meaning in submitting to God and allowing Him to reshape who we are in the Savior.
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8