Man of Responsibility

What does a young boy have to do to become a grown-up man in today’s world? With the lack of strong positive male role models through increasing rates of single motherhood, lack of men in the education sector, and the failures of church groups to demonstrate leadership, children are now finding their way through life increasingly over the internet.

Teenagers are now faced with an overload of contradictory or zero-sum information that competes to define what “masculinity” means. Whether these are encouragements to satisfy one’s material needs, experience through premarital sex, to the pursuit of happiness with as little work as possible, our world appears to be returning to Epicureanism.

Is the best that what a man can achieve is a pure materialist aim that lusts for pleasure over everything else?

How we conduct ourselves is important and what messages we are allowed to be conveyed to and through us speak volumes about who we are as a person. When each of us learns ultimately, that we are not our own but have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood and realises that our selfish inward focus is nothing more than deceit, then we can allow ourselves to discover what God has awaiting us truly.

Let us not be deceived by what the world defines as being a man, one that can dominate or pursue their interests with little to no regard for anyone else. It’s time that we break free from the rap sheet and rhythm of power, money, killing, sex, or drugs that ultimately shouts me first, and screw you to anyone else in the way. Being a man does not call for the pursuit of power but the self-control to conduct oneself with responsibility.

A Better Outlook

Experiencing power through vice is the greatest sign of weakness and enslavement. True freedom begins to be found through restraint and discipline in containing one’s pursuit of ambitions, desires, possessions, and influence. Building upon such, we can only achieve true individuality when we wholeheartedly pursue being in obedience to Jesus Christ by what’s easier said than done in getting over ourselves.

Acting with the responsibility to manage your character is no excuse however not to be a leader. Perhaps through the lack of positive male role models, how boys grow up in their understanding of power has been warped by secular influences in putting others, especially women down to inflate our sense of superiority. A good leader must be able to march forward, carry the burden of those struggling and demonstrate compassion.

The first fight that man needs to win is against oneself. Resist the temptations of the flesh and ourselves to pursue the Christian path which will be a narrow road. But like in Pilgrim’s Progress, we must not be faint-hearted to be self-controlled. Our impulses are often a sinful response to our fallen world and hence we learn from Revelation chapter 21 verse 8 that “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death”.

The core of the Christian message is that we cannot achieve perfection and freedom from our fallen selves alone. We need Christ because in Him alone can our hope be found! All human efforts that we do alone are worthless before God. And this is where the might of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross becomes realised, in that through our repentance and submitting to Him as Lord and Saviour we can break the chains of eternal condemnation.

True Strength

No matter how big or strong our society calls men to be, there is nothing that we can do to be brute-forcing our way to separate from temptation. What is at play is beyond us ultimately but not something that we are powerless over. This is a soon ending battle between the defeated Satan and ever-victorious Christ. Exercising our dominance is critical as we stand against temptation instead of acting to fulfil our impulses but by rejecting them through prayer.

The stronger we hold fast against the influences of the world, the stronger we train ourselves through Christ to lift His name on high through our conduct. And it is through our thoughts, actions and intentional deeds that demonstrate to the world of makes us powerful. Enough of the worldly definition of man as someone strong, where strength can be attained by all and only through God’s grace and power for which the temptation of the Evil one cannot survive.

Daily obedience to God to the best of our ability as the lived expression of genuine repentance is what it means to be a man. Subduing the world around us, not for our selfish pursuits but striving to achieve Godly order firstly through discipline then loving influence among others to demonstrate true freedom. Such submission to God through changing the way we conduct ourselves cultivates humility which is the best tool to hold fast in spiritual warfare. By training ourselves through the Holy Spirit we can bring our broken lives onto the path of repair.

The virtue of obedience is at extreme odds with secular notions of masculinity, but through Christ no matter how difficult it is, we can learn to humble ourselves enough to be adapting conduct to the path He laid out. Instead of trying to bend Christianity to fit our lifestyles, we can demonstrate how God sent His one and only Son to save man from eternal death but offers entrance to the Kingdom of God: not just in future but in the here and now. Our Godly lives representing humble and disciplined selves is the best witness of Christ and demonstration of strength.

This article was first published at Christian Today Australia on Monday 4 April 2022.