When I was growing up, I was never taught how to be a man or knew what manhood looked like.
Not What I Thought
I thought that manhood was about taking care of oneself or your family. As long as you were working, and providing for your family you were THE MAN!
As I got older, I realized there was much more to being a man. There was much more to developing into true manhood.
However, my understanding of manhood changed when I became a Christian, a husband and a father.
When I accepted Jesus in my life, things started to change. And when I mean change, I mean things in my life actually got worse. My marriage started to become challenging.
I experienced things I wasn’t familiar with; it was all uncharted territory. And not being in control, is NOT what I called manhood.
As a new believer in Christ and husband, I wasn’t too concerned or compassionate enough to care to the degree I should have about my wife. I kept things to myself, including my money and my feelings. After all, I was THE MAN.
You can probably guess that didn’t last too long. In fact, with my attitude, our marriage was on the brink of a divorce. And that’s when we sought counsel.
The irony in this, is that at this point of our marriage, I became close to a brother at church Ed, who later became my mentor, friend, spiritual father and Pastor.
At the same time, Timberley became close to a sister at church who was Ed’s wife, Lorri, and she became her mentor, friend, spiritual mother, and Pastor.
God brought our paths together at the worst point of our marriage, but God was right on time. As He was shaping me to become a true man.
When we had our counseling session, Ed took me outside and told me to lay down my pride. Actually, he said: “you need to check your pride.”
At that precise moment and time, what he said penetrated my heart. As a result, it started to change me as a man.
The reason he was able to speak into my life (besides the intervention of the Lord) was because he walked out what true manhood was. As I got close to him, I saw him walk out what it means to be a man of God, a follower of Christ, outside the church walls.
I watched how he loved his wife, spoke to his children, and handle his business. He modeled the characteristics of Christ. What would true manhood be if it weren’t for Jesus in his life and mine?
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT)
True Manhood Imitates Christ
My mentor taught me what it mean to be a true man of God, and how to grow into true manhood, by the way he lived his life. He was imitating Christ. The ultimate man, Jesus embodied true manhood with these characteristics:
Throughout Jesus life on earth, He selflessly sacrificed himself for the sake of others.
Ephesians 5:25 (AMPC) says: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
Now don’t let the word wife, trip you up. The essence here is that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for the church.
It’s one thing to provide financially for your family; it’s another thing to love your families with your whole heart. Choosing to die to self and serve your family. Not coming home looking to be served, but come home TO SERVE.
True manhood is recognizing when we are wrong, and saying we’re sorry. True manhood is being concerned when our wives, or significant others cry. We may not agree with why they cry, but if we made them cry that should concern us.
The Example For The Next Generation of Men
Let me be real with you. Men, being a provider is only part of our manhood. Being the spiritual leader in our homes; men who guide, govern and guard our families; that is what develops us from a MAN to TRUE MANHOOD. This is who we are in Christ.
In our best efforts, we will never be The Man Christ was. However, through Christ (who lives in us), we can take our rightful place as godly men and lead an example of true manhood to the next generation. Titus 2 gives us instructions on how to do this.
Titus 2:2 (NLT): Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.
Titus 2: 6-8 (NLT): in the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
It doesn’t matter if you’re married, or single; a father or not; God has called us to serve sacrificially pointing others to Him. If it wasn’t for my mentor, I don’t know what kind of husband and father I would be today.
You never know who is watching and learning from your life.
~ André Gray