Ever heard those words? “Grow up!” Or how about, “Man up or shut up.”
You may have been told that in PeeWee football, little league, perhaps at a Dance Recital, or maybe during a screaming match with your spouse as she stands in front of the TV, while C0mbaT_HeR097 blows up your avatar with an RPG.
Whenever someone is told to “Grow up,” it’s usually because they are acting childish or immature. Ask any guy what it means to be a man and he might tell you something like, going out into the woods with a bunch of other men and eating bugs, grunting a lot, being able to handle your alcohol, standing up for what’s right, watching football every Sunday, or doing whatever it takes to avoid watching a “Chick-Flick.” But none of that has anything to do with the biblical manliness.
In regards to true manhood, John Eldredge (author of Wild At Heart) once wrote,
“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
That might make for a great romantic comedy or Disney Movie, but you won’t find a description of manliness like that in scripture.
The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Ephesus and told them true manliness – Mature Manhood – (Ephesians 4:13) is defined by Christ-like character. Biblical manliness is about authentic character. Not just the Gentle-meek-and-mild-style, but the full fruit of the Spirit rounded out with strength, courage, conviction, and a stout-hearted willingness to oppose error and fight for the truth—even to the point of laying down your life for the truth. This kind of manliness is willing to even turn over tables in the church if necessary.
There is one vital mark of spiritual maturity that the apostle Paul writes about in Ephesians 4…
“That we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
Paul was saying, if you want to be a man instead of a little boy, grow up in your grasp of the truth. Get a tight grip on sound doctrine and refuse to be influenced by every new trend that blows across the evangelical landscape. Don’t chase all of the evangelical fads. Drop your anchor in the truth and be prepared to defend it.
This is the main mark of true manhood Paul singles out: Doctrinal Fortitude. With this command comes a few implications:
Know what you believe.
Believe What You Know.
Be Able To Defend It.
The enemy will offer all kinds of counterfeits that look good and sound “ok.” He will tempt you to forsake what is precise and carefully defined in exchange for dumbed-down doctrinal formulas that don’t necessarily sound dangerous. Locker room pep talks where lockers are knocked over, chairs are thrown, and the whole team is whooped up into a frenzy, may help the team make it through the 4th quarter, but that’s about it.
Sermons that are of the same formula don’t help Christians last any longer. Scripture tells us what motivates real men is a love for the truth, contempt for error, and a passion for evangelism.
You won’t find real biblical manliness through a bible study conducted at your local bar talking about Jesus and His love of sinners over Beer and Fried Pickles. If you want a taste of what real manhood looks like, do ministry in a hostile environment, stand up for the truth even when it might mean losing your job, get a solid grasp on the Bible, and be ready and able to share the Gospel at any moment.
That’s the real measure of a man; a grown-up man is firm and steadfast in the truth. Disciplined, knowledgeable, anchored, and he understands the truth well and is devoted to it.