by Dr. Stephen Kim
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor 16:13)
There is a profound shortage of “real men” in our nation. When I read verses like the one above, I can’t help but feel the very high expectations that God specifically has for Christian boys.
1 Corinthians 6:13 was not addressed to women for it would be wrong for women to “act like men.” Surely, the Bible was written for both men and women, and the souls of men and women have equal salvific value in the sight of God (Gal 3:28). However, a person cannot deny the fact that in virtually every Pauline epistle, the apostle is specifically writing to and addressing the “brothers” of the church (e.g., Rom 1:13, 1 Cor 1:10, 2 Cor 1: 8, Gal 6:1, Eph 6:23, etc.). Furthermore, verses like the one above heavily testify to the fact that when Paul wrote the word brothers, he was specifically referring to the men of the church. The men, upon reading Paul’s letter, were to then teach the rest of the church–including the women.
Despite what our egalitarian culture/society tries to tell us, there is a divine perspective to the gender narrative and it goes something like this:
“For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7).
Satan is well aware of this truth and that is why he is working so hard to demote our men. Why? Because the glory of God is at stake. Apparently, nothing reminds him more of his archenemy than the human male–the one who bears the image and glory of God. Hence, the pervasive nature of emasculation within our society, within our churches, and within our family units.
“O My people! Their oppressors are children, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)
We, as a nation, stand at the precipice of the nation’s first female president (i.e., Hillary Clinton). Hanna Rosin, in her 2010 book, The End of Men (and in subsequent articles), has argued for the obsolescence of men. She says that the minimization of men playing “major roles” within society is a good thing.
While I ardently disagree, the data she cites is alarming. Consider these realities:
-In the U.S., 1/5th of able-bodied men are not working; and in 2009, the U.S. workforce became majority women.
-In the West, including the U.S., roughly 60% of college graduates are women. Women also earn 60% of all master’s degrees.
-Educationally, boys lag behind girls essentially from the crib onward.
-Of the 15 job categories marked for growth in the decade ahead, men will dominate only two: janitorial work and computer engineering.
My goodness! With such a context, Christians must pray and work hard at attempting to raise godly sons.
6 KEYS TO RAISING GODLY MEN
1. Pray. If you have sons, pray for them. Pray for them in the womb. Pray for them in the crib. Pray for them before you drop them off at school. Pray, pray, pray! You cannot ensure your son’s masculinity–but God can! Remember the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2? A praying parent makes a huge difference in the lives of boys!
2. Ensure Scripture Reading. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). The best way for a young man to become a man of character and integrity is by storing up God’s Word. God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. God is the ultimate Father and His words are the best to follow if a young man is to become a “man.”
3. Expose Him to Powerful Preaching. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Powerful preaching creates powerful men. Weak preaching creates weak men. God spoke the universe into existence. There is power in the preached Word of God. And please, don’t even think about going to a church with a female pastor–it’s actually prohibited by God (1 Tim 2:12).
4. Surround Him With Godly Men. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Kids naturally imitate (which is why boys usually want to grow up and do exactly the same jobs as their dads). Hence, it’s important that we surround them with good models. Dads, of course, are the best examples for boys. Fathers therefore, ought to strive to be godly men. If you don’t have a father at home, then encourage some of the godly men at church to be involved in your son’s life. Most men would love to mentor! Additionally give him biographies of Christian men who gave their all for Christ.
5. Stress the Importance of Education. “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Prov 4:7). The first and greatest commandment informs us that God expects us to love Him with “all our minds.” If unbelievers have reasons to study, we have the ultimate! Encourage boys to study hard. Evolution, naturalism, and secular humanism are all atheistic “superstructures” that require engagement from the most potent Christian minds. Contrary to being “anti-intellectualism,” Christianity has always been the cause of intellectual progress. Oxford and Cambridge were started by Christians. In the United States, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were all started by Christians. (In fact, Princeton’s crest still reads, “Dei sub numine viget,” which is Latin for “Under God she flourishes.”)
Without an education, boys will never lead. God gave them talents and a mind, and He expects a return on investment!
6. Teach Him to Respect Authority. “Give to everyone what you owe them: if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Rom 13:7). There is one common theme among fatherless boys: the inability to respect authority. Sadly, though they see it as a mark of brash independence, it is nothing more than the means to their own destruction. Boys who grow up in settings where older males do not respect their parents, teachers, bosses, police officers, pastors, and other authority figures rarely do well in life. Teach your son to respect authority. Why? Because authority flows out of authority.
I have 2 girls and 2 boys of my own. No question, my girls are precious–both in my eyes and in God’s! But make no mistake about this: God has a very unique role for each of my boys–a role that my girls were never intended by God to fulfill. God knows this, but so does Satan.
But boys don’t simply “become” men. They need fathers, mentors, pastors, and guides. They need examples–someone to imitate. Ultimately, they need God–the quintessential Father; and Christ–the quintessential man. As Christian men, we must therefore, do all that is in our power to develop our boys into men. The “glory” of our country, our schools, our churches, and our families depend on it!