Nightwind wrote a post the other day, “Feature Friday”, about masculinity, what it is, what it isn’t. I have a hard time defining masculinity myself, a somewhat amusing thing really, because I know it when I see it but how do you even describe it? I of course think immediately, confidence, protection, provision, safety. How blessed I am to equate men with safety, but those are very subjective perceptions of masculinity, how they relate to me personally.
‘ post is about her husband, and she uses him as an example of what it means to be the male head of a household, her family. In effect, defines masculinity by providing an excellent example.
Look up the term “masculine” in the dictionary. You will learn almost nothing. The definition of “masculine” may lead you to the term “manly”, but all that will tell you is that we expect men to be strong and brave. Since we also expect women to be strong and brave, that won’t tell you much.
So what does it mean to be masculine? 200 – 300 years ago America was hardly ideal, but men knew what it meant to be masculine, and women wanted a masculine man. They want a man with character who could be depended upon. A woman wanted a man who wanted to be the father her children. A woman wanted a man who would cherish and protect her and their children.
So why is that picture at the beginning of this post? Jesus never married. He never had a family, or did He? Are you a Christian? Then you are a member of that church that Jesus gave His life to save and protect.
When our military awards its most coveted medals, what are they for? They are for those soldiers who risk their lives for others.
John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
If a man is willing to lay down his life for his friends, does that make him masculine? No. It is important, but a woman can lay down her life for her friends.
Ephesians 5:22-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Marriage Like Christ and the Church
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
What makes a man a man is how he treats a woman. If he chooses one woman, and he gives his heart to her, and she gives her heart to him, a boy can become a man. If that boy has the virtue required to love, to protect, and to nurture his lady and their children year after year until their children are grown and death ends his marriage, then perhaps our Lord will declare him a man. If that boy is a man, then his children’s, his lady’s and God’s opinions of his masculinity will be the only ones that truly matter to him.