This is a hard question to answer. Do you have a clear, succinct definition ready right now? When this question was put to me a year ago I know I didn’t. But why is that? It’s just a simple definition for a word that we use all the time. Yet most men struggle to put forth a good definition.
I saw a video of a reporter who went around on the street and just asked random people (men and women) what the definition of a man was. The responses, or lack thereof, were horrifying. The one trend that I noticed was that women could produce a better definition than the men could. Isn’t that interesting.
Somewhere during the last 100-150 years, the idea/concept of what it means to be a man has been lost. This has been a multi factorial process but suffice it to say, the reason you likely can’t produce a definition of what a man is is because you haven’t been taught it or shown it. This is not to say that your father didn’t love Jesus and didn’t love you, but the saying, “you can’t give what you don’t have” holds true. Their fathers didn’t teach them. The point isn’t blame but an awareness and a repentance, which means “take a new direction.”
This idea of repentence is really important. I heard it preached that Jesus used it in the mission statement for His ministry: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Mt 4:17). The preacher said that repent has to do with changing the way you think. “Pent” means the beginning or the first or the preeminent thing and “re” means to go back. So Jesus was saying, go back to the beginning or what God originally intended.
Think of the sermon on the mount (Mt 5 – Mt 7). Jesus spends a great deal of time preaching, “you have heard that it was said…” “but I say to you…” He spends 3 chapters showing us what our current view is of truth and how we’re wrong and this new view is the correct one, the true one. Jesus knew that once you’ve changed the way you think and actually believe what is the truth, then you can change the way you behave.
Isn’t that true in our lives? You will only behave out of what you truly believe. That’s why some dads say to their kids, “Do what I say and not what I do.” They don’t really believe that what they’re saying is true and that’s why they don’t behave accordingly. They may want to believe it. They may agree with it on an intellectual level, but they don’t actually believe it in their hearts.
It’s hard to change the way you think. It’s down right painful at times. This is further complicated by the genuine desire to only believe what is actually true. We have source after source screaming for our attention and telling us that what they have is true. What’s a guy to do?
I believe that the truth lies in the words of the Bible and Jesus Christ. His words are sometimes hard to understand and/or accept but I believe He proved the truth as He walked out His life on earth. Furthermore, Jesus provides the strength and comfort to help us through the very difficult times: 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11: 28-30).
Please provide any thoughts you have about this post.
Please check back later for a good, concise definition of what it means to be a man. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple, accurate and helpful this definition is.