Can We Reclaim the Phrase “Be a Man”?

Boys and men, we’ll “become something great!”

I’m not sure how common it is for men and boys to hear this, but let me tell you, I have heard words to this effect a lot. “Greatness” has been prophesied over me constantly throughout my life (not saying whether or not such words came from legitimate prophets). By greatness, I mean in terms of accomplishments and the effect that I would have in the world. If everyone who has said that to me in my life is right, then great! However, that will be by the Lord’s will and power, not mine.

But what if a man doesn’t become something “great” in some way that scintillates for all the world to see? Can he still be loved? Can he still have value? (Note: I am not the slightest criticizing or doubting the well-meaning of anyone who is positive toward men and boys about their potential at all–I am just using it to make a different point for us as men to examine our hearts. 😉 )

1 Thessalonians 4:11

And that you study to be quiet, and to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you

With my personal romances of world-conquest (I exaggerate, but perhaps one could catch my drift) this once seemed kind of like a downer to me. Isn’t the world out there full of things to go out and achieve and go out and get?

1 Timothy 6:6-7

 But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

And YET, there is much to be embraced about being a man! We can enjoy our own strength, enjoy any personal victories in our lives.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

When we want to become something great, can we do it without meaning, “great” compared to others? Can we handle thinking of it simply in terms of the challenges of our own lives, moment-to-moment, never resorting to comparison to others (positive or negative).

Galatians 6:4

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,

We love to feel strong, powerful, and like we can take down great obstacles. Though as we do so, Jesus says:

Matthew 6:25
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

I’m not going to “achieve greatness” or go out and succeed to prove my worth. I’m going to use my strength to provide for myself (and others, as becomes necessary/possible) because I have value to begin with! (As do others)

What’s the point of strength, intelligence, any aptitude or form of material gain, if not to serve the innate and irrevocable value of life? How is it that men are tricked into treating themselves like they exist for food and clothes, rather than the other way around, to legitimize their value? Oppressors in the world reverse the order of those whom they oppress, treating them like one’s value must be earned with strength, while showing no interest in anything else that threatens them. Unfortunately, the MGTOW/manosphere is the only avenue which begins to address ways this happens to men adequately. As I harp on, it’s even unwilling to address the topic of problems like pornography and lust with methods in the vein of “For by way of the prostitute a man is brought to a loaf of bread.” (Proverbs 6:26). The topic of sexual purity and the way churches usually handle the matter is perhaps the most telling behavior indicating mainstream Christianity’s commitment to hating men–refusing to approach the matter in terms of a man’s innate value versus the forces that try and dehumanize him. And that is because it is they who participate in devaluing men as much as anyone, trapped with a problem they can’t adequately solve because of only being armed with paradoxical attitudes toward men; yes, they want results from men, but they refuse to minister to the value to the person. They condemn, they demonize, they refuse to love (easily contrasted in the ministry that women can commonly be seen receiving), but like great Pharisees, they list duties without lifting a finger to help. (Matthew 9:36) They enslave–the word “pastor” means “shepherd,” but what sort of shepherd pays no attention to wolves? Where is the talk about that which threatens men, where rather most of today’s leaders merely demonize men, ignore the wolves, and try to convince men that they are pack-mules without value unto themselves?

If that all sounds like a tangent, it’s not: we have to be on guard against the false teachings of the world and their sources. It is incredibly important for men not to be ignorant of the poison fed by the world.

Some might say that my comments here are obvious, but apparently not if so many Christian men are caught feeling like their value as human beings decreases with their lack of effectiveness in earning money or various other measures of material success, and with many false teacher actively shaming men for struggling to succeed materially. And no, Adam did not receive a curse that makes this happen to men. Or, shaming any words that minister to the healing and protection of men (words which are abundant in Scripture and overflowing in today’s women’s ministries). But yes, thank God, we are fearfully and wonderfully made as men, and the strength and fortitude that we have as men is a GREAT thing to enjoy in every way! It is a gift to us – to give back to God – to use for the purposes of life and seeking the Lord.

“Be a man”? You bet! 🙂 Not a pack mule, not a machine, not a loaf of bread (Proverbs 6:26), but a man!
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