what is christian masculinity?

Christian Masculinity and David’s Mighty Men

Masculinity is the possession of qualities traditionally associated with men. Which begs the question, what qualities should a Christian man consider?

I remember the first time I read about David’s mighty men. One killed a lion with his bare hands; in a pit, in the snow. Another killed a giant. Another killed 800 men with one spear. Another fought so hard, his sword became glued to his hand.

Regular guys. Typical nine-to-five stuff.

Out of the 30-plus mighty men that King David did employ, the Bible never mentioned an accountant or architect. Not even a middle-manager. Although Abishai, his commander, may have come close.
Some answers…..only Jesus knows.

As fun as these stories are, scripture makes the actions of these men seem kind of commonplace. Sure, it mentions the men are “mighty” but when everyone is slaying giants and lions and bears, Oh my! (JK… no bears), it can set the bar pretty high for anyone who is trying to understand what biblical, and dare I say “Christian” masculinity should look like.

It also doesn’t help that every other definition tends to come from advertising. So, we have our options to look up to: Advertising, advent calendars or “Other.” Check.

For my part, I’d like to propose one trait that makes a man genuinely masculine. It starts in Solomon’s book of Proverbs. Chapter 22.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1

A good name.

If you could afford it, it couldn’t be bought.

Your reputation cannot be purchased. It is earned with every “next” action. This is good news. You don’t have to have an excellent name to start working towards one. Each step you take towards integrity is a step in the right direction.

Jesus expands on this idea, by telling us where to start:

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Matthew 5:33-37

 

James, Jesus’ earthly brother, seconded his sovereign bro:

 

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

James 5:12

 

“Anything more than this comes from evil.” Wow.

That’s heavy stuff.

Let’s start with the “Yes.”

More specifically, what you say “Yes” to. Your reputation and the integrity it’s known for is a string of yes’s on which you’ve followed through. The opposite is also true. Every time you refrain your “yes,” you make a statement about what you’ve said yes to as well. Confused yet?

The best way to keep your word is to know what it stands for. Ahead of time.

So, here’s a question:

Do you know where you stand on hard issues? Do you know what you’d do if you were alone in the room?

Do you even know if you’ll go to that party next Thursday?

Yes or no.

Life is full of follow-through.

The decisions we make, make us; so we owe it to ourselves to be self-aware of our choices. Fun fact: putting off a decision is still a decision by omission.

So here’s a good principal you can follow. You can call it a barometer of masculinity (or don’t).

Your knee-jerk responses should be pre-meditated. Made on your knees.

Put another way:

If prayer makes the person, meditation makes the man.
(No, not yoga. ……but no judgment. Nameste, bro.)

Prayer and meditation on the Word are how we understand our position to Christ, and in direct correlation, our position(s) towards other people. It’s how our go-to-responses are made. So we study to “show ourselves approved” as Timothy says. If you know someone that has a reputation for good decisions you can guarantee they’ve spent time pre-mediating those choices. More than likely, they’ve studied scripture too.

Other than knowing where you stand on issues, there are other benefits as well.

When a name has a reputation, it also has influence. In my opinion, it’s the only way to gain influence in the long run. But many men would try other ways…the world is full of guys that lift weights till the cows come home, who try and manipulate women or earn more at any cost. Men who lie to get what they want. Men that…you get the picture.

Guys who are true to themselves, but not true to their word.

So let’s be clear, getting what you want in life does not earn you a Man Card. And if you’re religious, there is no credit score for Christendom either. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” a wise Rabbi once said.

You could have everything, and have nothing to lean on. Which, by the way, is what happens when we don’t have a reputation for keeping our word.

You could be the poorest man on the planet, but if people count on you, you'd have more influence than most. Click to Tweet

So let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No,” be “No.”
And know what your “No” stands for.

It’s how mighty men are made.

Ready to Awaken Your Calling?

Discover it just like Joseph, David, and Paul.

How to find purpose and fulfillment through work and job

How to find purpose and fulfillment in your job

Jobs can be draining. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you.

They take up a third of our day (if not more) and require our constant effort to keep. No doubt, if you’re reading this, you are grateful for your work, but perhaps you never saw yourself working the grind you have. Or at least, not for so long. If this sounds like you, you’d be in the majority. Nearly 53% of gainfully employed guys (and girls) wish they had a different hustle.

The struggle, my brother, is real.

To this point, many men wonder if jumping ship on a job and moving to the wilderness would require more faith.

Not you of course…but other guys.

And it’s a fair question. Wouldn’t a more unique life provide a greater sense of adventure than a cubicle or hardhat would? Perhaps becoming a missionary in Mozambique or some other far away place would do the trick.

But adventure is not a calling. And neither is “the struggle.”

Said another way: flight and faith never produce the same outcomes. Even though at times, they may appear to contain the same amount of risk.

This begs the question:

“What is our purpose in life?”

It’s a simple question. But it can be especially uncomfortable if you don’t enjoy where you work. Can someone really know their purpose (or experience it) within the working day?

Yes, they can. But it will require an attitude adjustment. Career-chiropractry is in order.

Our purpose, or the reason for which we exist, is separate from what we do. Mutually exclusive, even.

Often times, we try to find identity in what we do, but that makes the “purpose question” all the harder to answer. Especially if the glove doesn’t fit in our current career path…no offense if you wear gloves for a living.

Our reason for being is singular. It is to know the Lord.

In His goodness. In His grandeur. In His love.

Now, one of the many ways we get to know him is through our career. What we do during the day. In this sense, our work and our job is the manual labor of communion. It is our “Yes!” to His invitation of doing “all things unto the Lord.”

Finding fulfillment, on the other hand, is not the same as having a purpose.

Fulfillment, both the feeling and acquiring of it, move from season to season. So does our relationship with the Lord. Ideally, it will grow richer and more nuanced throughout the years.

When we look back through our lives, we want to be able to say “That was the Lord.” Or “Lord! look what we did together.”

These are the markers of fulfillment. The notches in our purpose post.

If you ask a man who has walked with Christ a long time, what the most fulfilling parts of his life have been, he will recall times when “He felt close to the Lord” or had personal stories of the provision or miracles God had provided to him. He both walked and worked with his Creator.

Similarly, there is a correlation between, Christ, career, and calling.

When we “get saved,” our affections change. Which is to say, we have a new north star to follow. If we feel fulfilled and are satisfied with where we are, it is because we have markers of relationship in our past. Memories with our Maker.

Many men feel unfulfilled, though they would never say it, because they are waiting for five o’ clock. Their time with the Lord is outside of working hours. Segregated to Sunday. They’ve made have no memories with Him within the working day.

Since this practical communion is absent from the day, so is the feeling of fulfillment.

So, I’ll just say it:

We’ve all been told a lie.

The lie says we must enjoy every aspect of what we do in order to feel connected to it. Like a holy grail grind…Grail of the Grind. Er, perfect job. You get the point. Of course, it is not true.

Fulfillment is a bi-product of relationship. Specifically, with Jesus.

Work is a social experience. It’s meant to be done with the one who invented it, to begin with.

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Paul said.

Paul learned the benefit of working with the Lord. In his case, he’d learned it while in custody. He took initiative under imprisonment.

But we see evidence of this attitude throughout his whole life. Whether he was making tents, lecturing, in prison, or preaching the gospel, his fulfillment was connected to his faith. He knew that if he showed up, he could expect to see the Lord there as well.

We can always expect to see God “punch in” before we start the day. It’s one of his many promises.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” Jesus said. This abundance that He brings is a reality that is larger than the job we hold or the amount of money we get paid. It’s true, you should work together with him on the dreams he’s given you. That is part of it.

But fulfillment is by no means linked to what it is you do. Life is the container of our affections, desires, and promises. So long as we desire to keep Him involved, then we will see our dreams, and the promises He’s made become a reality in our lives.

“Seek first the Kingdom” someone once said.

Ready to Awaken Your Calling?

Discover it just like Joseph, David, and Paul.