A Blueprint for Manhood in a World That No Longer Provides One, Pt. 2

A Blueprint for Manhood in a World That No Longer Provides One, Pt. 2 September 16, 2008

Yesterday, I started a blueprint for Christian manhood. I want to note today that I do not intend this to be seen as the blueprint for this subject, as if I have received a direct revelation from God on how this all should take place. Rather, I am trying to do what all Christian parents must do, namely, to provide a road-map for their children that will enable them to navigate their way from childhood to adulthood.

In attempting to lay this out, one will necessarily make some arbitrary judgments. The Bible, as I said yesterday, does not give us an exact plan by which children become adults. There are some signposts, to be sure, and one would want to delve into the stories of the Old Testament, the wisdom of Proverbs, the call of Christ in the gospels, and the comments of the apostle Paul on manhood in his epistles (especially 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) to better form a biblical framework on this subject. Even if one does so, however, one will find that there are a large portion of matters that must be decided by wisdom, appeal to tradition, and the specific makeup of one’s child. I’m offering this sort of blueprint, and am explicitly stating (thank for your helpful comments, Ryan) that my blueprint is a mishmash of things. While I have come to certain conclusions on different aspects of manhood, many of which I am voicing in this series, others will come to different conclusions. So long as those conclusions are not stupid, unbiblical, and made only to thumb one’s nose at tradition, I cannot say that they are wrong. I would personally be very happy to see more Christians do this sort of thing, whether or not they came to exact agreement with me or not. The point, then, is not, follow this perfect blueprint, but rather, to follow it insofar as it is helpful, wise, in accordance with the Bible, and helpful for your children.

Later manhood (22 or 25-death): Al, you’re right about these ages. I’m only providing them, though, so that I can challenge guys of specific ages to step up and embrace manhood. With that said, the chief functions incumbent upon (most) men in this season are the duty to provide for a family, to take a wife, to raise children, to contribute to one’s church, and to be a productive member of society. In formulating these matters, I would note that this is a season of life that is going to require a lot of energy, character, toughness, and ambition. In accordance with Genesis 2:24, a young man seeks a wife, and then seeks to build a family, believing firmly and counter-culturally (in many instances) that children, and perhaps many of them, are a blessing from the Lord, a “reward from Him” (Psalm 127:3).  Though couples may take a little time to develop healthy marriages, children should not be avoided as an obstacle but should be pursued, though such a decision may make life tougher than it otherwise would be.  In order to honor the Lord by filling his quiver, the man must take the burden of provision for the family squarely upon his shoulders. This may mean hardship; it may mean less sleep; it may mean finishing a degree slower than one’s peers; it may mean a tough life for some time. If so, the man must remember that things aren’t going wrong. His energy is not being misused or wasted. He is doing what he is called to do as a man, given 1 Timothy 5:8 and the fact that Titus 2 teaches that a woman’s sphere of work is the home (especially when children are in the mix). If he has to work two jobs, or pull a night shift, or miss out on sports, or read less books, or make less friends, that is fine. He must remember that he is doing what he is called to do, and that even if his life is hard, it is well-pleasing to the Lord.

The man leads his wife in worshiping the Lord. Some men will have more to say than others, but all men can read the Bible with their wives, pray with them, and talk with them about the Bible’s teaching and application to life. Men who do not have a great deal of confidence in their scriptural knowledge can consult their pastors or elders for books to work through with their wives. In the same vein, men will seek to disciple their children when of sufficient age. This may involve something very similar to the way in which a man leads his wife–reading, praying, talking. The man will set an excellent tone for church involvement and attendance and will serve the church joyfully in whatever ways he can. He should exhibit a palpable excitement over the things of the Lord, should evangelize when possible (and train his kids to do so), and should exude strong Christian character in conformity with the image of Christ.

The man will also seek to be a contributing member of society, being a righteous, helpful presence in his community, his neighborhood, his children’s schools, if they go to schools, their sports teams, and other activities. He may struggle to be as involved as his wife, for he may have to work hard and long to provide for his family, but he will do so knowing that he is freeing up his wife to serve and care for her children, her home, and her church. The man will stay closely connected to his children, though, spending time with them whenever possible, sacrificing much personal time for hobbies and interests in order to bond with his children, love them, and invest in them. This will likely mean that the man will have far fewer hobbies or entertainments than other men his age, but he will completely avoid complaining about this, remaining constantly aware that in shaping the lives of his children for the glory of God, he is doing something far, far more significant than mere entertainment or pastimes can provide. He is building a family, leaving a legacy for his Lord, entering into intense spiritual and physical and emotional work, bypassing the mere momentary things of this world in pursuit of something greater.

Singleness–where does it fit in?: As we know from 1 Corinthians 7, singleness is by no means a substandard calling. It is a high calling. The blueprint I’ve sketched out captures what most men are called to do–to marry and have a family. There is a huge need in the current day to communicate the vision of family and children to men today, who are enticed by numerous cultural voices to ignore responsibility, maturity, and to focus on themselves. A godly man, however, is a man for others. For most men, this means specifically making a family and blessing them. For men called to singleness, however, the aspects of manhood that relate to marriage and family in this blueprint will not apply (though many others will!). Single Christian men have a unique and wonderful opportunity to care less about the things of this world, by which I mean things not related to marriage and family. (It’s not as if single Christians are called to walk on a spiritual cloud all the time, as we can sometimes caricature their lives.) In particular, single Christian men can, I would argue by way of 1 Cor. 7, spend great amounts of time discipling young Christians, evangelizing unbelievers, and serving their churches. They can take their energy and strength and ambition and passion and use it for a good deal more spiritual work than most dads and husbands can do. This is an awesome responsibility, and it will involve a great deal of effort and energy and labor, and there may be lonely times, but the single Christian man, if he embraces the biblical vision of singlehood and not the cultural one, can very much be a man for others.

Conclusion: That concludes my brief blueprint for manhood. In days and weeks to come, I’ll try to do one for Christian womanhood. As I’ve already noted, I’m not presenting this as the solution, divinely given. I’ve tried to think through this well, and to make good arguments, and above all to base it on the Bible, but I would in no way claim divine sanction for things not laid out in Scripture. I would caution those who wonder about the value of such an extra-scriptural blueprint, though, and say that we’ll all construct one. It may be thorough, or it may be mere, but everyone comes up with their process by which they become a man or woman. All Christians will in doing so have to go beyond Scripture, as well, because Scripture leaves much of these matters up to wisdom, the application of general biblical teachings, and the counsel of the church. As we make our blueprints, we can do so charitably, humbly, teachably, but that does not mean that we do not make them–because we cannot avoid doing so, even if we want to.

The key idea here is this: whether singleness or marriage is his calling, a man is to live for others. He is to embrace responsibility, to stand as a spiritual tower, to point all around him to the gospel, to bless and not to curse his surroundings. As he lives for Christ, the ultimate Other, he will naturally bring grace and goodness to all around him, making him a man who truly lives not for himself, but for others, to the greater glory of God.

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  • Melissa Fitzpatrick

    I love your line, “As he lives for Christ, the ultimate Other, he will naturally bring grace and goodness to all around him…” Beautiful, really.

  • francisco

    “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(I John 5:19)

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, .etc.) ;-(

    And the “strongest thing” in the evil one’s worldly systems? “Woman”…… yet The Truth, that which is of The Only True GOD, is stronger even than woman. (read I Esdras 3&4 of the Apocrypha) And Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Hope,,,etc,,, all that is “good”, is of The Only True GOD and is of HIS Spirit, not of this world. Those born of The Spirit, those born of The Only True GOD, are the brethren of The Messiah, for they received “a love of The Truth that they might be saved”. Reborn!

    And those who have received “a love of The Truth” have separated themselves from this world and those of this world, for they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come out of her MY people.” They are “in, but not of this wicked, evil world”, and The Only True GOD has received them, and is “A Father unto them, and they are HIS sons and daughters”. And they follow, and desire to be like their Master and Brother, The Messiah, He Who was “the firstborn of many brethren”. And as “The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD”, so also His Brethren are “servants of The Only True GOD.”

    The called out ones are not “adulterers and adulteresses”, they are not “friends of this wicked, evil world”, they do not “fornicate with the god of this world” for they know that “to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of The Only True GOD.” They are at war against the evil spirits that possess those who are of this world.

    And they do not “allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach. For she teaches others to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. The Only True GOD gave her a chance to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev 2:20-21)

    “fornication” and “adultery..” in that which is recorded above signifies spiritual fornication with “the god of this world”, which is to love that which is of his world.

    Once again, the “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”. Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18) Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”. And as stated, “woman is the strongest thing of this world”. Yet stronger than woman is The Truth, which is in those who have “received a love of The Truth”. The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things, nor do they love their own lives in this world”. They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible” ndeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”. Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22) And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And Faithful women are exhorted to “be in silence.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11,12,14) A man and woman joined together in obedience and submission unto The Only True GOD are blessed indeed. All who are not obedient, all who will not submit themselves unto The Only True GOD will have to answer to HIM..period.. Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, .etc.)!

    “The Only True GOD is The HEAD of The Messiah, The Messiah is The Head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman”. Multitudes pervert GOD’s Order because they have been seduced by ” the commandments and doctrines of men and devils”. Multitudes are seduced by the religious systems that are in and of this evil world. Seduced because they love this evil world and their own life in it! “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto the call to ”Come out from among them and be separate!”

    Once again, “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the religious systems. “Come out” from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation and be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world……. francisco

  • owenstrachan

    Melissa, I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks. That really is my vision; not that we would lock men into a certain pattern, or that I would get to tell people how to live, but simply that men would channel all of their strength and gifts into living for Christ and, as He did, bringing a broken world and a stricken humanity into an orbit of blessing. I want with whatever little influence I have to raise up men who are strong for God and others.

  • owenstrachan

    Francisco–I’m not sure of the exact point of your comment, but I certainly agree with much of your content. Thanks for commenting, and I share your desire that men and women not be worldly but be godly.

  • Jane Steen

    Ever attended Men’s Fraternity? It also focuses on true manhood from a biblical perspective. Christ Church Lake Forest, http://www.cclf.org, has been offering this program for over a year. I’m not a man, of course, so I can’t tell you what it’s like (can’t get my husband to go) but I often pass CCLF on my way to Trinity just as the session ends, and I can tell you it’s very well attended.

  • Al

    Amen. Just reading this a bit after the post. May the Lord bless you, Owen, that your life might be an example.


  • owenstrachan

    Jane–I have not attend MF, but I have heard very good things about it, and I’ve used the materials of Robert Lewis, the founder of the program, and liked them a good deal. Thanks for telling me about that, and I’m really encouraged to hear about the program’s reception at ChristChurch. That church is doing so much in this area, and it’s wonderful to see.

    Al–thanks for your kind word. I pray that I’ll live up to it.