Currently I am in my 27th year as a man. Many say you become a man at some point in your adult years—at least meaning strength of manhood different than gender alone. Perhaps this is true but then how does one mark when that occurs? Some writers show rites of passage existent in every society, where there is a definite and generally acknowledged point of becoming a man (Keen ref.). Perhaps that is one key problem today—we are lacking clear direction and definition? In search of direction I have read many books on being a man: all psychological, philosophical, and spiritual in nature. All were good reads to their extent. I love these kinds of books, and I will read many more in the future. However, each is lacking what is experienced in a dynamic relationship with Jesus alone. True manhood is not discovered in the typical self-help approach because the way to manhood is narrow, and its door is also not found just anywhere.
The Bible is the most important study on God and on manhood. It’s not surprising because we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). In my opinion, the book Mighty Man of God is a must read for everyone serious about achieving strength of manhood. Although it was not sold at every Barnes and Noble, Laing made a significant contribution to the topic of manhood. He used many important biblical principles on manhood with significant practical impact. The rarity of works and importance of the subject is a big reason why I did this study.
Furthermore, perhaps it is and has been too controversial to discuss manhood—the discussion of what it means to rear boys to men? I would argue it is a discussion people do not want to even bother because it is hard to express clearly, hard to listen, hard to understand. We have so much confusion as far as what we’re even talking about. But is it something that can be understood through God’s word?
Let’s pause and take a minute to look out into the example of our world at large. It is rather scary looking out into our world and seeing the dire need for the character of a strong man. Problem: Why so much divorce? Explanation: Too many weak men not leading and too many women do not require strong men to lead them. Problem: Why so much crime, danger, scandal, abuse, neglect, injustice? Explanation: Lacking big time in the network of influences was the standout man to show the kind of character, to give a boy what he needs as much as water—the strength from a father figure. You may consider this too simplistic an explanation of the world’s problems, yet man bears the responsibility of most of the world’s problems. A feminist will rightly say, “men are the problem,” but they don’t have the right solutions.
All men, if they are honest, admit manly influence is either an empty void or much appreciated. The lack of manhood is the most reasonable explanation of the world’s problems. If one really thinks about it, it is not too simplistic as one of the biggest explanations for why the world is so messed up. Would strong men rearing strong men cause a chain reaction of powerful impact on the quality of society? I am thoroughly convinced it would. In the ensuing study I will not call too much of the reader’s attention to the problem. Nor will I go into what science has to say. Rather the Bible makes the simple wise.
The whole realm of manhood can be portrayed in the popular recent commercial series that sung “real man of genius,” while relating a code of manhood to being a real man. As you may recall, it was trying to imply beer went right along with that code. Well, it was catchy and funny to most men I think, perhaps even partly true in relating with most men, but more typical than truthful.
The truth of manhood lies in both character and action. It isn’t simply a matter of feeling good about yourself. What kind of man you are is directly reflected in what kind of life you live. What kind of fruit you produce, what kind of outcome you have, and what kind of effect you have on others are all by-products of the kind of man you are. Pragmatic language, although sometimes hard to hear in our pride, is actually the language of men. We can talk about feelings, but we’d much rather do something about it. Guys can feel a frustration with too much heart talk being a waste of time when no solutions, no action is taken.
So we have heard the question, “Are you man enough?” many times. Perhaps we have used it on others as a dare or taunt? It can be in jest but is a weak way to motivate. I think everyone serious about manhood has had the thought within themselves at one point. “Are you man enough?” is a challenge on one hand and hinting at the insecurity that haunts us on the other. Throughout the study we will be calling one another to the challenge and simultaneously killing the insecurity.
In sum, one becomes a real man only through Jesus. The theme Real Man of Jesus is about discovering the way to manhood we often miss. It is about discovering the ideal man. We, like most, tend to follow a cheap, easy version of a man. Finding manhood is not just about discovering a journey but about finding ultimate fulfillment in a powerful personal relationship with God! Are you man enough to walk with God? As you personally realize this Real Man, He will unlock the door and rear you all the way to manhood! Why would you want to be reared by anyone but the most authentic image, the Real Man of Jesus?