Where have all the men gone? I’m not talking about the macho factor. We have plenty of that walking around. I’m not talking about fashion. We have more than our share of rough and tough dressing people. I’m not talking about physical makeup either. If all we counted was sexuality we have more than enough men to meet the challenges we are facing. God’s measure of a man goes far deeper than appearance, language, dress, vehicle choice, the volume of our music, the number of children we can make or the amount of weight we can deadlift. God looks on the heart. When it comes to that measurement our man population is shrinking by the day.
I would like to take a few moments and address our men. It breaks my heart to look across our nation and see what I see. We have elevated the macho man so much that’s exactly what the majority of our young men want to be. A generation ago John Wayne and Clint Eastwood dominated the market and the Marlboro Man was king. Our young men thought masculinity was being able to win a fight, out drink your best friend and chain smoke a pack of cigarettes. We can blame some of that on youth and say that generation matured out of those ideas. But they didn’t. That generation has survived because of the millions of men before them who were influenced by their fathers who learned to trust God during the Great Depression. But the generation of men that I am apart of learned none of that. We were handed almost everything we enjoy, including our view of manhood. And because the previous generation’s male role models were as shallow as a cigarette ad or a movie poster, the current generation has taken their cues a few steps further. Only Hollywood isn’t quite as tame and the cigarette ads have turned to marijuana or harder drugs.
Our kids today still dream of winning fights but their fights are in a culture of drugs against the ‘clean society’, music that idolizes sex, violence and physical dominance against a ‘quiet society’ and a bully appearance against a ‘tame society.’ We can call these battles social expression but what they really boil down to is a bunch of kids who don’t want to grow up learning from a bunch of adults who never grew up. We are smack in the middle of a world that has two eyes fixed on itself and none to view everyone else standing nearby. Our world is driven by absolute selfishness: “It’s all about me and what I want!” Pride moves us to tears: “I am the most important thing in my world!” Control shouts loudly: “If I can’t get my way I’ll quit!” What we have failed to say is that this lifestyle is the most immature, unsustainable lifestyle imaginable. Not only are these views emasculating us, if we don’t correct them they will emasculate our children.
Am I being clear enough? If something drastic isn’t done soon we won’t have any fathers left to carry their name to the next generation. Our dads are absent, toxic and foul. We crave a generation of boys who can grow into Godly men and father Godly children. But that will not happen by accident. We must intentionally choose to raise up these men. They are already here. All that is needed is a new heart.
The world we are in today was produced by the world we grew up in. And we didn’t grow up in a vacuum. The sour fruit we are enjoying today grew on trees that were planted a generation ago. But here’s the deal. If we paint with a broad brush as I’ve done above we will only see bad fruit. But if we bear down just a little we will see God has not abandoned us and we have not all abandoned Him. I had a number of men in my young life that modeled Godly manhood for me. They showed me how to respect women, worship the Lord, manage my money and desire the things of God. They SHOWED ME these things. They were counter culture in every way. And they came from all walks of life. Some had a lot of money; some were poor. Some were highly educated; some dropped out of High School. Some had blue color jobs and some white. The point is they rose above their cultural markers that attempted to define them and walked with the Lord…and they brought me along for the ride. God used them to change my life. Who has He placed in your life that was designed to offer you an opportunity for change?
Some of you men reading this have a huge heart for the Lord. I pray you hear these words as a strong encouragement to reach out to the young men the Lord has placed around you and help raise them. Speak truth and wisdom to them. Gently and patiently help them see what real men are all about.
Some of you reading this hear my descriptions of the current culture and it fits you to a tee. These words are a mirror to your lifestyle and even into your soul. If that is you it’s not too late to turn around! God loves you enough to not leave you alone. I guarantee you He has placed at least one man in your life as a true role model. Reach out to him and ask him to walk with you. It’s not just about you. The faithfulness of the next generation depends on it.
Next week I will address some of the specific qualities God expects to see in us and promises to work in us if we surrender to Him. For now begin by asking Him if you are the man He desires for you to be. If the answer is anything less than an emphatic “Yes!” it’s time to get moving in His direction.