So I was listening to Focus On The Family in my car during lunch, as I do often. On this particular broadcast, Dr. Tony Evans was the guest; and, he was discussing topics from his latest book entitled “Kingdom Man” . Now, I have not read this book as of yet; however, when Dr. Evans speaks about the role of the Christian man, I have a tendency to listen. For quite a while, I have felt like true Christian men were a dying breed. Apparently, I have not been alone in that sentiment.
Rather than get into an over-the-top dissertation of the short-comings of Christian men, I will key in on a simple but important point that Dr. Evans brought up instead: Men reside, mentally, in one of three ‘hoods’ – malehood, boyhood or manhood. Which one is your ‘hood’ mentality?
Most of us would be inclined to jump right into the manhood mentality; however, I dare to suggest that fewer of us are actually there then we may think. Let’s break down each ‘hood’ and then breakdown ourselves so that we can be real with where we are on this scale.
Easy to determine, and essentially necessary to progress to either of the next two. In simplest terms, If you are properly equipped, you are a male. End of discussion. Malehood is pretty primal. If you are existing in a primal state currently, you have a very long way to go to become the man that God intends us to be.
I am willing to bet my paycheck (all 17.5 cents of it) that the vast majority of us, as men, are in a state of spiritual boyhood. For those of us with teenaged sons, I make this analogy: Your teenaged son probably acts as if he knows more than you. Nothing you say to him is of any value. He sticks his chest out and constantly challenges your authority. Yet, we all know that he hasn’t got a clue. He is still motivated by his environment and what his ‘friends’ think. He can’t take care of himself, let alone even dream about being responsible for somebody else. He’s all hormones and not at all relational. He is still very much immature. Many of us behave in the exact same way; however, because we are older, we claim manhood as some sort of God-given right of passage when we have done nothing to deserve it. We are still boys in the way act and think spiritually . . . .
Every adult male thinks that he is here; but, so few of us actually are here. In the Bible, Titus is given instruction on how to raise up (or teach) Godly men. He is told to, “ . . . Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.” (Titus 2:2)
What Titus is instructed to teach men is unnatural for testosterone driven beings. To exercise self-control means to not allow yourself to blow up over any and every little thing. I know that I fall short here – especially as the father of teenagers. But as Godly men, this is an essential trait to possess.
Being worthy of respect does not mean that respect is owed to you. It means that you conduct yourself in such a manner that those around want to give you respect. If your actions are deceitful or contrary to the word of God, no one will have respect for you. But, if you live your life according to His will, with His word as your guide, people will develop a healthy respect for you; and, often times won’t even know why.
To be filled with love and patience is not only essential; but, it is often times incomprehensible to us. The world is constantly disappointing us. It can never live up to our expectations and only provides a false sense of temporary happiness at times. Our relationships develop in the same way. That is why we must have sound faith. If we develop sound faith, we understand that God loves us unconditionally in a way that we could never reciprocate or understand. We also understand that He is beyond patient with us because of our sinful nature. We can never live up to His expectation; therefore, He is constantly forgiving us and directing us to live according to His will. It starts from the moment we are born and continues until the day we die. When we can approach our relationships in that same Godly manner, grounded in our faith, God’s design for us begins to take shape.
Titus was also instructed to, “In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:6-8)
So now with the traits that he was to pass on to the elders, Titus and the other ‘older’ men must be the example for the young men – just as we are to be the example for our young men. We are to act in integrity and to teach in truth. These are just the basics of developing into spiritual manhood.
I found another resource that outlines thirteen biblical marks of manhood . I encourage you to take a look and to apply them practically in your walk (these principles apply to ALL Christian men of ALL ethnicity, race, and socio-economic status).
It’s time to step up, men. We ARE a dying breed. It’s time for us to be responsible and accountable according to the intention of our God. What’s your ‘hood’ mentality?