Monday, August 18th, 2014 at
This post by Joel Stephanek is reprinted from LifeTeen.com
“Be a man.”
“You are the man.”
I’ve heard all these things, starting in elementary school. They didn’t stop in middle school, increased as I began to play football and joined the wrestling team, and continue to be spoken in various ways to me as a young adult. Every time I hear them I wonder, “What exactly do you mean?”
Our world has given us many examples of what they define masculinity to be – and most of them are competing and contradicting one another. What it means to “be a man” to one person may look completely different to another person. Whenever I hear another person give me a definition of what a man is supposed to look like I can’t help but think – “wow, that completely contradicts the last definition of manhood I heard today.”
What if there was a way to find authentic manhood – to realize our masculine identity and reclaim it? When we know who we are as men and what we were created to do – everything changes.
IN THE BEGINNING…
If we want to understand masculinity, we have to understand God’s original purpose for it. When God created the first man, Adam, He gave him three very important tasks: Adam needed to cultivate life in the garden, he was charged by God to help create new life, and he was the garden’s protector.
When Adam and Eve sin, Adam fails at all of three of his responsibilities. Instead of protecting, Adam is apathetic and weak as the serpent tempts Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). Instead of helping to create life and cultivate it, Adam, through his sin, destroys life and sows death into the world. Adam fails at his responsibility.
As men, we still have those three tasks to fulfill – but we don’t have an example of how to fulfill them if we look to Adam. Instead, we need to look to the one that St. Paul calls Christ the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45); this is Jesus Christ. Jesus restores what it means to be a man and to reclaim our identity – and we do that through cultivating, creating, and protecting.
There is a challenge, though, because as men we are presented with alternatives in our world that distort these three duties, and the battle for a true masculine identity rages between them. We must make the choice of the example we are going to follow: Do we go the path of Adam or do we follow Christ? We must make a choice between cultivating weeds or cultivating fruit; creating or destroying, and protecting or giving in to apathy.
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