A warning to young men idolizing UFC fighters, boxers, or certain musical artists: Self-exaltation is not good manhood. It is wicked and suicidal. Manhood done well, done honorably, done to save one’s soul and live life well, is strength spent for the good of another.
The most powerfully, virtuously masculine man who ever walked the Earth surrendered Himself to the violence of those who came against Him. And He could’ve killed them, could’ve killed you, could’ve undone me, with a word. So why didn’t He? When being spit on, mocked, slapped, and whipped by humans whose molecular structure He could’ve unwound with a whisper, why did the Lion of Judah who knew what true manhood was submit Himself to murder and defeat?
To bring God glory and bring the weak great good.
Good manhood doesn’t brag about its exploits. It doesn’t pound its own chest and shout about its abilities. It doesn’t abuse others for self-gain, nor does it humiliate for self-glory.
True manhood, manhood that is actually worth something, spends itself on others. It uses its strength, whatever limited capacities it’s been given by God, to protect and serve and sanctify. It fights for holiness in its wife or the saving Gospel proclaimed to the lost who need it. Godly men of truly strong stuff want redeemed souls and a world in awe of God more than fast cars and fruitless lust.
Godly men live for the only wise God and for others. Childish, shrill men live for games, pleasure, and applause.
Godly men protect women, devote their muscle and energy and spiritual sweat to one woman alone, and honor the Christian sister as an adopted co-heir. Lazy or diabolical men use women or chase them. They are too slothful or spiritually dead to promise and protect, too idolatrous or timid to love and lead.
Godly men love children, as Jesus did. They teach, admonish, discipline, and shepherd. Brash and unteachable men act like children, unwilling to live for or love anyone other than themselves.
Godly men, men living in tribute to the only perfect Man, and living with Him in them to enable it, call evil evil, while forgiving quickly the wrongs committed against them. They are unafraid to say what is sin, but they hold no grudges. The fights these men choose are for the glory of God and the protection of the weak. But small men fight battles for their own fame and glory.
Godly men control their anger, but spiritually weak ones surrender to it.
Godly men speak and sing and work and play with the goodness and glory of God in mind. Stupid and sinful men seek shallow joys in deep graves.
I want to be like the Savior who rescued me and lives within me. I want to be the man He calls all men, shepherds and servants, fathers and friends, to be. I want to be less about myself and more about Him and others. I want to use the muscles and vocal cords and brain and heart, the tongue, testosterone, and tenacity He’s put in me for His fame, my wife’s good, my children’s upraising, the service of the saints, and the salvation of the lost. I want to shove the pictures of selfish sex, loud chest pounding, and smug self-glory far from my head and heart. For they are not manhood. God made the first man, and He decides what manhood is. No, those infantile screechings and idiotic, wicked prides are hollow shells, walking bodies with nothing to give and no desire to give it.
I rebuke them from my own heart, and I ask God to remind me to live and sweat and fight and pray for His glory and my neighbors’ good. Vainglory, lust, unbridled temper, and idolatry be, quite literally, damned.