All about IT
“Be a man” or “grow up” are two of the most common phrases that boys hear as they are going through life. The sad part of this is that many people, including the ones that are telling boys this, do not know what it means to grow up.
Parents, teachers, and society as a whole encourage boys to become mature, to be a man, and to grow up, but do not have a clear direction or definition of what mature manhood actually is.
The implications of this are frightening. Young men are forced to find out what it means to be a man on their own. As a result they go down a path that most often leads them to an absolutely skewed view of manhood.
Due to the fact that so many men don’t know what mature manhood is, we have produced a society full of men who are adults chronologically speaking, but are children in the realm of maturity.The truth is that some men eventually end up back on the right path; while others, sadly, don’t.
There is a depressing reality that we must accept. Regardless of age, a lot of us don’t have an idea of what it means to be a mature adult.
We must honestly sit down and soberly ask ourselves, “What is the definition of maturity?” In addition, we must also ask ourselves, “What is the definition of masculinity?”
This article seeks to explore that very question. Obviously, I do not have it all figured out. Rather, I hope and pray that I will be able to lay a foundation for whoever is reading this to begin thinking through this issue.
We shall examine the three common things that men use to define masculinity; in other words, we will identify where men place their identity.
When it comes to defining mature manhood, young men are commonly misled to believe that their masculinity is based on one of three things.
The first is basing masculinity in physical capabilities. Whether it is how far they can throw a ball, how much they can lift, or how hard they can punch, this seems to have somehow become the measuring stick of masculinity for most men.
In reality, this is a sad representation of what it means to be a man. We must understand that having a certain physical stature does not equate to being mature.
The second false mindset is that masculinity is defined by a man’s sex life. Men seem to be convinced that the more women they sleep with, the more of a man they are. Yet in reality, they are merely demonstrating insecurity in how they use others.
The man who sleeps with a bunch of women and never commits to anyone wears a mask and would realistically not know what to do with a real relationship if they had one. Placing masculine identity in a man’s sex life is absolute ridiculous.
The last mindset that men tend to have in their search for masculinity is the idea that they are a man when they have economic success. Whether it is buying that suit, getting that job, becoming the overseer of an institution, launching that business, nailing that investment, or making a certain amount of money, men place their identity in their ability to succeed financially.
All three of these means of finding fulfillment as a man are horrendously misplaced. Physical capabilities will eventually expire with age, sexual relationships won’t last, and our financial endeavors or investments may fail us. There needs to be much more to masculinity than these things.
So you ask: If masculinity is not defined by the three mindsets stated above, then what does define masculinity?
I am twenty years old, and I have been thinking through this question since I was a few months short of turning eighteen. As a young adult and a young pastor, I turned to the pages of the Bible for wisdom. Here is what I found:
“We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”
The Bible is quite clear in its definition of what it means to grow up. Jesus is presented as the essence of what it means to be a mature man. In fact, some translations of the Bible will flat out say “We are to grow up in to mature manhood” rather than simply saying “We are to grow up.” Being a man means to strive to be like Jesus.
Now the implications of this are nearly infinite when you stop to consider how amazing Jesus was. Everyone, even Non-Christians, has to admit that Jesus is one of the most influential people in history.
Jesus was someone who loved unconditionally, forgave constantly, served humbly, worked honestly, and spoke truthfully. He was a man who had a dual presence. He knew when it was wise to be gentle or to be harsh. He could tenderly speak to someone who felt outcast, and at another moment intimidate and rebuke overly religious people who cast judgment upon others.
Jesus was an extraordinarily mature person who demonstrated god-like characteristics as well as the wisdom of what to say and when to say it.
Striving to be like Jesus is what makes someone mature. Now I say “striving” because obviously nobody could ever be perfect like Jesus was.
At the same time, for Christians, which literally means “Little Christs,” we should strive to be more like Jesus. After all, Jesus is God, whom we are created in the image of and therefore, we try to reflect Him in our daily lives in our we conduct ourselves and interact with others.
On the other hand, for Non-Christians, Jesus was a great man and a great historical figure that was well respected by a multitude of people.
I would encourage Non-Christians who are reading this to investigate historically why it was that some poor former-carpenter who died a humiliating death was able to have such a wide influence if He was not who He claimed to be.
Regardless of Jesus’ identity, He certainly displayed god-like characteristics that everyone agreeably should strive for in their daily lives in order to become more mature.