I’m a man. I like being a man. Men aren’t better than women, and women aren’t better than men. But we’re different. So I’ve had to do a lot of painful discovery of who I am as a man, and I’ve learned a lot, mostly from my mistakes. I’ve come to some practical conclusions about manhood and want to drop them on you so you can get back to your man things.
- God likes men with a wild streak – not a sinful, rebellious wildness, but an “I’m gonna do some stupid-big things for God and take risks in the process” wildness. King David, the Apostle Paul, and John the Baptist were all wild men.
- Being a wild man doesn’t mean being a wild animal. My appetites for food, entertainment, and sex are God-given, but need to be under control. “Under control” appetites are godly. Out-of-control appetites aren’t.
- I have responsibilities. Paying the bills, serving my wife’s needs, loving my kids, and leading my family spiritually all take priority over hunting, fishing, comic books, and video games.
- Integrity means being ONE man at home, in public, and in private. The very second I start keeping secrets from my wife, my family life is beginning a slide toward destruction. Secrets are lethal.
- “Growing up” means being physically healthy, emotionally mature, mentally engaged, and spiritually confident. It’s not enough to be tough in half the areas of my life. I need balanced growth.
- Strong leaders are few. In a vacuum, bad leaders will fill the void if I choose not to. So I need to show up, speak up, and lead in a culture where men are sheepishly silent.
- Meekness isn’t weakness. It literally means “power under submission.” Jesus was meek and His tender side changed the world. I should celebrate meekness, tenderness, and affection.
- Being mad and mean is weak. Bullying my wife or kids provokes the God who made them and assigned me the role of protecting them. Yelling at people doesn’t make me bigger. It makes me smaller.
- Work matters a lot. Family matters more. And worship matters the most. At the end of my life, I want to look back with a clear conscience at how I lived what I said were my priorities.
- I don’t have to drink, cuss, smoke, or chew, or run around with those who do to feel more manly. But if I want to be like Jesus, I’ll be a friend to people who drink, cuss, smoke, or chew.
There are more tough words to hear, but these ten were in my heart and I’ve shot from the hip. What would you add?
Photo by Jeff Hill Photo.