Act like a man. Go ahead, man up!
Being told to act like a man today typically provokes a blank stare that comes from either being offended or not having a clue to what is meant. In 1611, the word “quit” meant to conduct yourself or act a certain way. That’s why in the King James Version of the Bible the phrase “act like men” found in 1 Corinthians 16:13 is translated “quit you like men.” This archaic meaning of “quit,” while clearly communicating the intended verbal punch 400 years ago, today serves as another reminder of how challenging it has become to simply act like a man. Besides, have you ever seen a picture of how men dressed in 1611? Acting like a man can be quite confusing.
About 40 of our men from KSBC are participating in an overnight Summit at Camp Tecumseh this weekend to be instructed and equipped to conduct their lives as men in ways that please and honor God. Please pray for us. Please pray for our men. Please read the following few paragraphs of this post and ask God to mercifully meet with us and strengthen us to live lives of mature courage rather than childish self-absorption.
Typically when we think of being a man or acting like a “man’s man,” we limit the meaning of those terms to the single contrast of gender. In other words, being a man is not acting like a woman. Masculinity is the opposite of femininity. While this contrast is a helpful aspect of determining what it means to act like a man, the other crucial definitive contrast is childishness. Behaving like a man is, at least in the context of 1 Corinthians, more about not behaving like a child as it is about not acting like a woman.
A quick review of the Corinthian epistle sets up this terse command of acting like men.
3:1: "But I, brothers could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it."
13:11: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."
14:20: "Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."
While a lot can be said about the blurring of roles and behaviors of men and women, the greater challenge for men is the blurring of roles and behaviors between men and children. There are two expressions of childishness that we all struggle with but they are noticeably present among men today. One writer in his commentary on 1 Corinthians says that childishness often takes the form of self-centered concern and short-term gratification. Can you think of any better or clearer way of expressing the heart of men’s struggles?
I thank God for our men and the opportunity to wrestle with God together this weekend and hopefully come away changed. We need the transforming power and presence of Christ to face our sinful fascinations and addictions. Please pray that as we spend time with Christ and each other in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit will expose and transform our childishness into the mature courage of Christ.