This past week’s chapter of Real Marriage was titled, “Men and Marriage,” but I decided to go with “Man Up” as the title of this post. It is inspired by one my favorite rappers, Lecrae, who posted this picture on his Facebook the other day with the following caption:
“A man should lift a boy out of flighty boyish immaturity and teach him to be a caring, loyal, faithful, committed, respecter of woman, and decisive leader. #manup”
How can a man teach a boy to be a man and put away “flighty boyish immaturity”? The man has to be a man and not a boy trapped in a man sized body. He has to have “put away childish things” in order to be able to help a boy grow into a man.
This topic is a soapbox for me because I have known many boys trapped in a man sized body and I have seen how this “man/boy” has effect on his family. There are many of these “men/boys” who fail to step up to the plate, fail to be the father his children needs, the husband his wife needs, and the leader that God has created him to be. When men fail to do these things, when men fail to be men as God created them, the family dynamic does not function properly. The boy under the “man/boy” also grows up to be a “man/boy” unless he chooses a different path for himself. He doesn’t know what it means to be a man. The girl under the “man/boy” grows up to question her worth, beauty, and security. She doesn’t know how she should be treated and loved. The wife under a “man/boy” lives emotionally disconnected from her husband and feels the weight of family responsibility on her shoulders because her “man/boy” doesn’t carry his own.
The “man/boy,” though his body has grown to maturity, still lives in an emotional or mental state of boyhood. There are many different reasons for why this is; many of which reach back into his childhood and the male figure(s) in his life. Typically the man has no control over what happened in his childhood or what kind of male figures he had. He didn’t choose the circumstances or the environment that produced his inability to emotionally or mentally grow to maturity. That is sad but what I think is even sadder is that once the “man/boy” got to the age where he could choose to be different, to get help, and to not let the events of his childhood define him, he chose not to. And he continues to choose not to. With that choice he negatively effects not only his life, but the lives of the people who love him and need him. He provides for his children the same or similar circumstances and environment that they too will one day have to choose whether or not to overcome.
A man, a real man, biblically leads his family. A real man “loves his wife like Christ loves the church” (Ephesians 5:25). A real man “do not provoke his children to anger” (Ephesians 6:4). A real man recognizes his submission under the Lord, his headship over his family, his call to lovingly father his children, his command to love and pursue his wife, and his purpose to live humbly and righteously for the Lord. A real man does not cower in the greatness of these responsibilities but goes after them with the heart of a warrior that has been carved by God’s hand. A real man confesses his sin, hurts his pride, and seeks forgiveness. A real man longs for the redemption of his soul and the souls of his family. A real man loves the Lord.
So man up, men. A real man is what your wife and children earnestly desire.
And if you are a real man, despite your past or maybe because of it, then I want to say thank you. Keep doing what you are doing. And don’t forget to teach your sons or the young boys in your life what it means to be a real man. Teach them to man up.