Don’t Let Culture Set the Standard
When did you know that you were a man? Many see themselves as a man when they are able to drive, drink, or vote. Others see themselves as becoming a man the first time they sleep with a woman. Many men may look at graduating from school as the moment when they become a man. The reality is that far too many have never really thought about this question, and far too many males are still living like little boys.
Jesus is the model for being a man. He knew when to stand firm, and when to move in love towards someone. He could show mercy and still be strong. He served, but was still a leader in the process. He lived with vision that was focused on more than just the moment, but was focused on eternity. He took responsibility for our wellbeing, even when it would have been easier to look out for Himself.
One of the more fascinating passages of Scripture takes place in Matthew 3:17, where God the Father declares: “This is my beloved Son; in Him I am well pleased.”
As God the Son, did Jesus really need this kind of affirmation? I doubt it. However, Jesus was also fully human, and I believe this affirmation was very powerful for Him on a human level. Jesus had not yet started His public ministry, and this moment was part of a series of events that launched Him to a new level of impact and influence.
Fathers have a powerful role to play in helping their boys towards become men. I have witnessed this firsthand with my own sons.
My wife and I made a decision that we would bless our children to becoming adults when they turned sixteen. We plan a special one-on-one trip for them, and have a time of praying and blessing them. For my sons, I use this trip as a time to tell them that I now think of them as being a man. I affirm the strengths they have, and I pray for their success in life. I also tell them that I will now communicate with them as I would any other man.
I did not know what kind of influence those moments of blessing had until many months or even years later. Just a few weeks ago, my second son, Josh, told me that the first time he saw himself as a man was when I said those words to him on our trip together. As parents, we have witnessed our children advance to new levels of spiritual maturity and development simply because of this blessing coming from their father or mother.
Moving from being a boy to being a man is such a critical rite of passage. It is so important that we do not allow the culture to create those defining moments for our children.
I want to encourage you to consider not just your own life, but how you are helping your son to know that he is a man, and to help him understand all that this means.