One of my biggest challenges since I started learning about being a Christian is masculinity. I was talking to a female friend once about relationships, and I let it slip that one thing that always holds me back is my shyness. My friend recommended a book on masculinity for Christian men. I picked it up, and now I wish I never had. What it told me was completely devastating. The book caused me to think back to a lot of critical moments in my life where a man, even a young one, would have a come through — but I didn't. I have only showed cowardice my entire life, ever since I was a little boy.
Men are supposed to be aggressive and brave. My own father is, and I wish I could be half the man he is. He grew up in slightly harsher conditions and made sure I would never face the same conditions. So now I'm some 21-year-old girly boy, who can't even talk to a beautiful woman without tripping over my own tongue. And it's too late for me to become anything else. I feel completely weak and ashamed, and it only drives me back into my shell. I'm still trying to pray about it, but I don't know if God can magically make me a man at such a late age.
Too late! Are you kidding? First of all, it's never too late for anything God wants to do in your life. You have lots of regrets, some of them legitimate and some of them based on lies. Either way, it sounds like you have plenty of things you wish you could do over. We all do. That is why the Gospel is our only hope.
I've read a lot of books on manhood. Some spoke to me, and some didn't. I've read books where a portion was really what I needed to hear and the rest didn't apply. Sometimes it's a little like sifting through the dirt to find the nugget or two that are helpful in the season we're in. But no book on any topic is infallible, except one. If you want to find out from the Source about manhood, go to the Bible. And what you'll see there are cowards, murderers, adulterers and all kinds of “losers” who brought little to the table. But what they were didn't matter; who God was, and is, did.
Moses couldn't speak without tripping over himself; Gideon was hiding in the threshing floor when God called him to lead an army; David's moral failures are infamous; Peter couldn't even stand up for Jesus to a little servant girl. And every disciple scattered the night of Jesus' arrest; not one had “manhood” enough to walk that road with Him.
But through the power of God, each became the man God wanted him to be.
No male becomes a real man without coming to God in his brokenness and letting God build in him true manhood from the inside out. Just the same as no woman becomes a real woman without letting God do the same work in her own heart.
Moses ran away. Gideon didn't believe. David covered up. Peter went back to the family business. These guys were just sheep, like you and me. But God is in the business of turning sheep into lions through the saving work of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Only God can help you become a man, and there is only one man who God has promised to help you be like, the man Jesus Christ. Study the heart of Jesus, and you have manhood at its pinnacle.
My advice is simple. For now, put away those books on manhood, get your Bible, and start reading through the Gospels. Study the life and character and heart of Jesus Christ. Give your past, present and future to Him. Let Him do what He promises every believer, to take all that was meant for your harm in years past and turn it into good in days ahead.
I don't care if you're 5, 21 or 91! It is never too early or too late to let God begin a new work in you. He is all-powerful. No situation is too difficult for Him to redeem. Anything you believe otherwise is a lie from hell itself.
Remember, manhood is a journey, and your past is a part of it. If you had lived a perfect life of manhood already, why would you need Jesus? Repent what you need to repent of, ask forgiveness, then move on. There is no magical moment when you've arrived at perfect manhood. Perfection is for the next life; progress is for this life.
Jesus is ready right now to help you make progress on your journey of biblical manhood, and it starts in your heart, making Him and His kingdom the supreme priority of your life. Step one in becoming a man is becoming a man after God's own heart. The confidence and courage you seek are found in knowing Him.
And finally, this process will speed up dramatically if you have a mentor or group of men to walk with on this journey. Begin praying for God to bring men into your life who will come alongside and encourage you in your pursuit. You'll be surprised at how quickly things begin to change for you.
Copyright 2010 John Thomas. All rights reserved.