A few years ago, I stepped into a store at the mall: a store I had shopped at many times before. It was a pretty typical layout for that type of store. There was a pathway that started at the door and led to the checkout counter at the back. The front table was covered with neatly folded shirts that would meet you at the door with a pretty tempting price on it.
Typically, when you walked in, men’s clothing would be on one side and women’s clothing on the other. This day was different than previous visits. I looked up and saw feminine-looking floral designs, so I looked at the other side and also found feminine-looking floral designs. I looked from side to side until I realized the layout had not changed; although the clothing was feminine, I was in the men’s section.
As I walked out of the mall, I began to realize the attack on masculinity. Since then, I’ve been introduced to terms like “toxic masculinity” and “mansplaining.” Our godless society is doing everything it can to blur the lines of gender. It applauds masculine little girls and feminine little boys while, at the same time, arguing that gender is only a creation of society.
This line of thinking is not only against nature, but it is against the God that created nature. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
God created you who you are, and He gave you a gender. Be who He created you to be. Men and women are different (understatement of the year), but each of us has a special purpose.
A Man Should Be Tough
Several years ago, God blessed us with a daughter. She is made of sugar and spice and everything nice. My little girl loves to play with dolls, tea sets, and her little kitchen. We never taught her that. She loves to nurture and care for others and is feminine to the core.
More recently, God blessed us with a little boy. He is anything but sugar and spice and everything nice. If there is a ball in sight, he will find it and play with it. He dunks on his Little Tikes basketball goal.
There are clear differences in my children that we didn’t teach them. I didn’t have to teach my daughter to love princess dresses, and I didn’t have to teach my son to be a human wrecking ball. God created them with the clear gender distinctions that I couldn’t possibly ingrain into them.
From the beginning, we find that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. Could anything be more manly?
When we look at the men of God’s Word, we find shepherds, warriors, fishermen, and other tough occupations. I think of John who ate locusts and wild honey and dressed in camel skins. I bet that dude was tough! Our Savior was a carpenter who was willing to march into the temple and throw out the thieves and even endure excruciating pain to save us.
A Man Should Be Tender
When we look at the examples of David, Abraham, Joseph, John, Jesus, and others, we definitely see tough men. But they don’t necessarily equal the toughness that the world thinks of. It’s not about bullying and beating others up. It’s not about womanizing and being demeaning to women. Each of these men, through their masculinity, showed God’s love and fulfilled His purposes.
The world thinks of masculinity as a toxic thing. If you are a “man’s man,” you will never be kind to anyone or shed a tear. Manly men never attend church, always drink lots of beer, love dirty jokes, and communicate primarily through profanity.
But that isn’t God’s definition at all. In Ephesians 5, God uses the example of Jesus’ sacrificial love to demonstrate how a man should love his wife. Throughout the book of Proverbs, God uses Solomon to teach his son about life (Hey, that rhymes!).
In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We find here that the Creator of gender distinction telling men to love others so deeply that they would give their lives for their friends. He also tells us to love our neighbor (Luke 10:27). Through His words and works, Jesus clearly demonstrates the toughness, but tenderness that a masculine man should exhibit in his life.
Just before Jesus told us to love our neighbor, He gave us the commandment that our tenderness and love toward others should be built upon. We are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Are you tender towards God? Do you listen to His voice? Toughness and masculinity are not about sitting in a church service with a stone-cold heart and refusing to sing the songs or open your Bible.
True masculinity is actually built on the idea of loving God and being who He made you to be. As we love Him, we will treat others right. We will be tender in our dealings with others, but tough enough to take biblical stands. A real man loves God!
Have you been sucked into the trap of believing that masculinity is a bad thing? Maybe you are on the other side of the spectrum and believe that your tough-guy persona is going to get you where you want to go in life. Either way, realize that God made men and women distinctively different, and following God’s Word and will for your life will lead you to be the masculine man you were put on this earth to be!