Yesterday I had a chance to speak to a group of people wanting to know if healthy marriages are possible and how to attain them. Among the various things I offered was the great need for adult males to be men and not boys. Experience tells me that too many males process life as boys and not real men. Of course, this begged the question regarding what the differences are. Here are just a few for you to process:
Boys tend to be passive, waiting on those around them to cater to their needs. A boy knows mom or dad will feed him, provide him Sponge Bob underwear and take him to the doctor when he has a booboo. Real men are willing to move beyond passivity, they craft a vision for proactive living knowing the stakes are high, and rather than wait for everyone to cater to them they seek to serve and empower those around them.
Boys tend, because of this passivty, to minimize the power of relational commitment. If the dude in the sand box isn’t playing nice, the boy will move on to the monkey bars and play with someone else. Men recognize that this is not usually an option, and rather than avoid or withhold commitment they move forward to strengthen the relationship, even if its costly and messy.
Boys live by the non-negotiable law that says “You become what you think about all day long.” Men live by this law too. But for boys that means thinking about what is right around them rather than what can outlive them. For boys it means settling for what is less than best because that is what is familiar or comfortable. For boys it means everything from sin-management to self-centeredness. But real men think on a grander scale, again, knowing the stakes are high. They contemplate things that do outlive them; things of an enduring quality that shape generations they will never see. They refuse to settle for what is less than God’s best for their lives, always availing themselves to the belief that God can and should conform them to the image of the Only Begotten Jesus. They let go of sin-management and pursue soul-rest, and then shed that soul-rest abroad to those embedded within their realms of influence.
My strong exhortation to the women to whom I was speaking was to stop settling for boys in grown up bodies when what they need are men. And my strong exhortation to the many males in the room was to not settle for being boys but to rise to the occasion and be real men.
Men like Jesus, who, came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).