We must be swift as the coursing river
With all the force of a great typhoon
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon
That’s the chorus from one of my favorite Disney songs, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, from Mulan. I will often begin singing that song out of nowhere because I love it so much. As far as its message about masculinity, though, it leaves something to be desired.
This week at youth group we continued our sex series. This week we looked the differences between how our culture and God define masculinity.
To be a real man in our culture’s eyes, a man has to be powerful and take care of everything on his own. He has to be physically strong and athletic prowess doesn’t hurt. He also has to notch his bedpost with numerous sexual conquests. If a man can check those three boxes then there’s a good chance he’s a real man.
However, in God’s eyes, those boxes have nothing to do with what it really means to be a man.
God doesn’t place tremendous value on a man’s outer appearance. God would rather men abstain from sex until marriage and remain committed to their wives. God wants men not trust in their own strength and power, but to humble themselves before him and place their lives in his hands.
Those qualities can be seen in King David. However, the previous checklist can also be seen in David. David was a mighty warrior. He took a census to measure his own strength and power. He had multiple wives and slept with women who weren’t his wife but enjoyed nude, rooftop bathing. So, in the eyes of our culture, David really would have been a man, if not the man.
It wasn’t those actions, though, that made David a man after God’s own heart. It was his constant reliance on God that made him a man after God’s own heart. It was his realization, even in his deepest sin, that he absolutely needed God and couldn’t do anything without God. That’s what made David a man in God’s eyes.
And, if we’re men, that’s the kind of attitude after which we should strive.
And if you’re a woman, that’s the kind of attitude you should encourage in the men in your life.
I wish being a man was as simple as singing Disney songs from Mulan. All of the various messages we receive from the world around us, though, can confuse and obscure our attempts to be the men God created us to be. If we can keep our focus on God and his desires, though, then he really will be able to make a man out of us.
What differences do you see between God’s definition of masculinity and our culture’s?