Pursuing Manhood

So I am on a Paul Washer kick right now. If you don’t know who Paul Washer is, I recommend him. (Disclaimer: He is a bit intense. But I believe he is a true lover of Jesus, and if you stick with Pastor Washer, I think you will be edified and glad for it.) Just Google him. There are tons of videos and sermons from him on the world wide internet. A lot of times Washer talks about authentic, Biblical, manhood, something in which I am really interested. My recent attention that I have paid to Washer has gotten me thinking lots of things about masculinity and my own claims to be a man. Also, Paul Washer recently had a heart attack in March, from what I can gather it appears he is recovering and doing okay. So let’s pray for him and his family.

Washer has stated that American men, “live in a culture that wants to keep you a boy until you are about 35.” I think he is right. Our culture does seem to promote just staying boyish until you reach the maximum critical age where you need to get busy being mature and responsible to ensure the survival of yourself and those who depend on you. I don’t see anything in secular American culture that promotes getting boys to more quickly become mature, responsible, strong, tough, tender, caring, wise men. Instead, our culture is replete with things that keep men being boys for longer and longer. Instant availability of smart phone games, mind numbing social media posting, technology, and trinkets that are marketed as things for grown ups but are really just more sophisticated toys etc. etc.This, the “

This, the “boyification” of males who ought to be men given their age, is a relatively recent feature in our culture. It hasn’t always been this way in the USA or at least hasn’t been as universal as it is currently. For example, Johnathan Edwards started preaching when he was about 20. In the Lewis and Clark expedition, Merriweather Lewis was 30 and William Clark was 34 when they set out in 1804. Jacklyn “Jack” Lucas was 14 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was 17 when he performed actions in the Battle of Iwo Jima for which he would later be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. John Piper was 34 when he became pastor at Bethlehem Church. My own dad, John, was operating bulldozers and heavy equipment from an age which he can’t remember but was formally employed in such work at 18. I believe I am in very good company in making this observation. I am by no means the first or even close to the first person to make it. Paul Washer, John Piper, Tom Harcus and lots of others have spoken well and at length about this phenomenon.

I believe I am in very good company in making this observation. I am by no means the first or even close to the first person to make it. Paul Washer, John Piper, Tom Harcus and lots of others have spoken well and at length about this phenomenon.I am 31. I am

I am 31. I am now and have been for a considerable amount of time, acutely aware of my own need to grow up and be more of a true, humble, strong, conviction filled, loving man who does things for the benefit of other people. I think about the men in the above paragraph and I can not help but compare myself to them. When I was 21 I didn’t know how to do anything. I couldn’t open the hood of my car. If I ever did, I couldn’t find the hood prop to keep it up. At 21, Jack Lucas had already fought in Iwo Jima. At 21 Johnathan Edwards was leading believers and teaching them from God’s word. At 20 Merriwether Lewis was in the Army. William Clark did the same at 19. In his 20s John Piper was on his way to becoming a pastor.

The Bible is filled with exhortations and encouragements for men:

Joshua 1:9- (spoken to Joshua) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Corinthians 16:13- Be on your guard stand firm in the faith be men of courage be strong

Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers do not exasperate your children instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Colossians 3:21 – Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.

1 Timothy 2:8 – I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 6:11 – …pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

So from these verses alone, and they are certainly not exhaustive of verses directed towards men in the Bible, one can see that a man is to be: loving, courageous, strong, gentle, prayerful, righteous, godly, filled with faith, and enduring. One sees also that men are to lead and train their children but be patient with them and not discourage them. They are to not passively ABSORB noble traits but rather PURSUE righteousness and other virtues. Men are meant to pray and be concerned for others. They are meant to stand firm for the Gospel and not be flimsy in their convictions for Jesus. Men are not to give in to fear but rather be carried by an unshakable hope in God.

You can’t be these things or do these things if you are addicted to Facebook. You can’t do this if you post selfies 5 times a day. You can’t become a real man if you spend 10 minutes trying to decide what filter to use on your photos. One can’t be a strong effective man if he wastes tons of time playing games on his phone.

So by the grace and love of God, I am not downcast and in a puddle of self-pity and self-condemnation. Instead, I sense a full head of steam welling up in me to propel me to pursue becoming this way. I desire to avail myself to the Holy Spirit so I can, through His power, pursue these things so that I become a man who is a blessing to others. I desire to fight my flesh and my propensity to waste time. I want to commit to not wasting time playing like a boy playing games on my phone, accumulating toys, watching TV, staring at the internet and staring at social media.

I do not think I am alone in this. I believe there are thousands of men just like me who sense their need to pursue manhood with vigor and conviction. I encourage anyone reading this to join me in this pursuit and to apply themselves to living a life that matters for things that are truly important. I exhort them to analyze the endeavors of their lives and ask, “What is this accomplishing for my children? What is this accomplishing for my wife? What is this accomplishing for lost people? What is this accomplishing for the church?”

So take these words from one overgrown boy who wants to be a man and join the struggle. God is with us, and He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. We can be made more into the image of the greatest Man who ever lived, Jesus. There is none superior to Him, and he promises to make us like Him and conform us to Him. He promises to work in us what He alone can accomplish.

God is awesome.

-Jason Faircloth, Director of Mission Advancement