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10 Tough Words for Men

Tough DogI’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?


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  • http://www.joewickman.com Joe Wickman

    Great post! If we can keep our first priorities straight, the rest will follow.

    • http://www.brandonacox.com brandon

      Indeed!

  • Tom

    Hi Brandon! The post is great, I think you highlight a few of the really important responsibilities that God places on men, as well as the importance of prioritizing worship and family over work, or other things we often put first.

    I would like to offer one thing though. I’m not sure the idea of being “wild” is inherently biblical. I understand what you’re going for and how you mean to communicate this idea of being “wild”, but I think the word comes with some negative repercussions, some that you even notice when you provide qualifications for “wildness.” By definition, being “wild” means to live without restraints, without any cultivation, even prone to violence. I’m not sure this word captures what the Bible calls us to as men. For one, the Bible commands us to submit ourselves to his discipline (Hebrews 12). Jesus talks about pruning us like plants, cultivating us so that we may grow in all the right ways (John 15). He calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5). I see these callings as separate from being wild.

    Now, to your point, the Lord calls us to speak with boldness as the apostles did in the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4). He also commands us to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1). We are certainly not to be sheepish! There is a call to step out in faith, to take risks, to stand firm on Christ as our rock and to not back down to the temptations and pressures of this world, to hold fast to the Words of life. And what a calling that is!

    I would venture to say we don’t disagree on most of what I’ve mentioned, and again, I think you’re spot on with a lot of what you offer here. However, I just want to be sure that the words we use are more shaped by scripture than by our culture, so as to not communicate something separate from what scripture gives us. Saying we are to be “wild” seems to contradict calls to discipline and peacemaking. Yet, saying we as men are called to great courage, to stand firm, to speak out against injustice and to worship God without hindrance as many of the men in scripture did (which is what I believe you meant by “wild”) doesn’t contradict the other ideas in scripture, as well as uses language that we’ve been given in the Bible. Our words are important, and in an effort to remain faithful what scripture calls us to, we must be sure to use words that are more scriptural than cultural, so as to not miscommunicate our message.

    Again, I do like the post, and thanks so much for posting. And if you have any thoughts about what I’ve offered, please do share! Let iron sharpen iron! We are brothers in Christ, looking to grow in the same direction, toward him! :-)

    • http://www.brandonacox.com brandon

      Hey Tom, thanks for the feedback. I think you’re right about us agreeing on the concepts. As for the term, I’ve gotta say, I still like “wild.” John the Baptist was described as “wild and hairy.” I know that in our culture, we describe a rebellious teen as “wild,” but this is a word I’d love to see us redeem from the culture. John Eldridge’s good book on manhood, Wild at Heart, comes to my mind, as well as Erwin McManus’ “Barbarian Way” (different word, similar connotations). Within the church, passivity is an epidemic problem. So I’m hoping for some guys who will get off their lazy boy’s and get a little wild in this adventure of being all out God’s man.