Manliness is more than being male. Some people think that the only thing you need to have to become a male is the right body parts. Some would also say that becoming a man could be obtained with a little surgery to add those parts! But manliness is more than physical make-up.
Don't get me wrong, manliness certainly includes physical makeup. God made men to look a certain way—to be physically different than women. Scripturally, though, manliness is more than “having the right parts.”
The passing of time does not necessarily make one a man either. Puberty may come and go, and you may still not grow up to be a man.
A conversation I once had with a neighbor illustrates this beautifully. My neighbor had a son who was turning 16. She said she had to get him a car so that he could drive. The odd thing about it was that a few minutes before she told me how immature her son was. I couldn't have agreed more; the kid was a goof ball. He didn’t have a clue what it meant to be responsible. He might have been older, but he was still a kid. And she was going to give him a car!
Well, if manliness isn’t limited to bodily makeup or age, wherein does it consist? The Bible tells us that it is found in one’s character. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul commands a group of men to “Act like men.” This was nothing other than a call to biblical character.
We have a similar expression in our lingo today. If you listen in on a group of guys huddled up on the football field, and it is 3rd and 9 yards, you might hear a guy say, “You got to man-up.” What is he saying? Is he saying that you have an adjustment within your jock strap? Of course not. He is talking about your attitude. Your character. You are not going to get those last 9 yards without the right perspective. You have to have some determination.
The sum of the matter is this: True manliness doesn’t come naturally. It is not something into which we are born or achieve with age. Real manliness grows out of one’s adherence to Scripture. Once you understand what the Bible teaches about manhood, then you are in a place where you can become a man.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.