Contrary to popular belief, God designed men to reflect His strength and sensitivity. Yet in our topsy-turvy world, biblical masculinity has been twisted into a counterfeit version of manhood. Join Leslie as she rallies Christian women everywhere to encourage men to rise to the calling Christ has laid on their lives, and learn how to champion the men in your life toward Warrior Poet manhood.
Leslie Ludy: Hi everyone! This is Leslie Ludy, host of the Set Apart Girl Podcast: Biblical Encouragement for Women of All Ages. Today we’re going to be diving back into our relationship series with a really important message. Our theme today is on letting guys be guys. Another way of saying that would be, making room for strong masculinity. It’s a very foreign concept in our world where men are becoming more feminized, and it’s more popular for men to be more like women than men.
There’s a powerful description in Job 29 where he [Job] explains the type of man that God had built him into. In Job 29:17 he says, “I broke the jaws of the wicked and pulled the spoil out of his teeth.” It’s this powerful picture of aggressive, bold, godly manhood, and yet it’s a little bit jarring for us in modern culture to say, “Wow! That seems a little too intense! Are guys supposed to be like that? Are they supposed be breaking the jaws of the wicked and pulling the spoil out of his teeth? Well, I want to take a look at that biblically today.”
I was speaking at a conference a few years ago, and I had asked my husband Eric to come along and to speak during some of my sessions. We often speak as a team, and I felt that he had some valuable things to share with the women from a male perspective. If you’ve ever heard Eric speak he speaks with great passion, boldness, and volume when he’s delivering a message. He wasn’t always like that, but God had worked on him quite a few years ago to rise up and speak in a more authoritative way and to learn how to preach the gospel with boldness instead of teaching in a passive way.
That’s a whole story that you would have to listen to his testimony of how God did that in his life. But at this conference he delivered words with love and with compassion, but also with power and strength. Many of the women at this conference were really impacted by what he said and how he said it, but there were also women who were really offended; not necessarily by the truth that he spoke, but mainly because he spoke it with such power and authority. He was a little too “masculine” in his delivery, and even though the setting was a women’s conference they probably weren’t expecting something very manly at it. But as a woman, I personally find it encouraging and inspiring to see a man who is willing to speak the Gospel in a strong, bold, powerful way. Yet many modern women don’t see it that way. They prefer a soft-spoken, wishy-washy man rather than one that has true backbone and grit. Why is that? Why is that the case? It’s very ironic. Women long for men to rise up and be these valiant, heroic, Prince Charmings of our childhood fairy tales, but yet when women encounter a truly masculine man oftentimes their feminine sensibilities become offended. The reason for this is because many times our feminine sensibilities have been groomed by a culture that says it is not socially acceptable for a man to really be a man.
Leslie Ludy: Today’s culture has attempted to cleanse the dirt and the grit off of modern guys. The result is a counterfeit version of masculinity. A few years ago somebody coined the phrase “metro manhood” or “metro guys.” It’s not necessarily as popular of a term today, but the gist of it is men who act a little bit more like women than men. They’ve gotten in touch with their feminine side. It’s become a very popular belief that women applaud a soft-spoken, super-sensitive, socially-groomed version of manhood. And yet in reality that version of masculinity falls short of what women really desire. When you take the “manly stuff” out of masculinity, as one godly young man told me, you are left with weak men and unprotected women.
Think about this: Every young girl, until she is brainwashed by the culture’s feminist agenda, dreams of a heroic knight who will slay the evil dragon on her behalf and sweep her away to his castle. But feminized men – men who are being groomed by this culture to be in touch with their feminine side – are usually too concerned about maintaining the cleanliness of their designer jeans and keeping their trendy hairstyle perfect to actually get their hands dirty protecting a woman.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m definitely not against men smelling sweeter, dressing nicer, or gaining a bit more dignity to their table manners. In fact, Eric has written for years about something he calls “Warrior Poet Manhood” which talks about the fact that godly men are meant to showcase both the strength and the sensitivity of Jesus Christ. So Christ-built manhood is not just about sweat, blood, and battle cries; it’s also about compassion, tenderness, nobility, and dignity. Yet the modern version of this metro, wishy-washy manhood is really just a twisted counterfeit of the “poet” side of a man, the way God intended a man to be.
For one thing, that kind of wishy-washy manhood only emphasizes a man’s soft side. It completely disregards the strength that men were created to demonstrate in their lives. It often looks to the fashion industry or pop-culture trends rather than the example of Christ to define the kind of sensitivity, nobility, and dignity that God created men to display. You end up with a watered-down, mediocre version of masculinity that gives guys an excuse to be self-indulgent, lazy, wimpy, and jarringly feminine.
Our culture says that a man’s intrinsic desire to sound a war cry and charge into battle is unsavory, undesirable, and socially incorrect. Our culture looks down on a man who takes a firm stand for truth and is too strong in his beliefs. As a result, we are very hard pressed to find men who actually fight battles or stand for anything. All too many of them sit on their couches playing video games and watching action movies – living that action side of their life out digitally – while this dying world perishes for lack of real life, valiant warriors. And our marriages are languishing because men aren’t standing up and actually being men.
Warrior Poet Manhood
Leslie Ludy: So let’s look at the biblical pattern for godly manhood. Many Christian men today have allowed the culture to define their masculinity, and they have conveniently morphed Scripture to be accommodating to modern times. It’s easy to overlook the stunning displays of God-infused masculine strength that is presented all throughout Scripture. For instance, David killing a lion and a bear with his bare hands or Jashobeam single-handedly defeating 800 Philistines! Just imagine that! Or Sampson annihilating entire armies with the jawbone of a donkey, or Josiah ruthlessly grinding to dust all the idols of the false gods, or Elijah calling down fire from heaven and slaying 350 false prophets until the brook that was nearby overflowed with their blood. Somehow I can’t imagine any of these mighty men of God doing those valiant exploits in women’s tight pants and lip gloss, or using a dignified, quiet voice as they charge into battle.
Then you can look at the example of Christ. He did display incredible tenderness, humility, and compassion when he healed the sick. He embraced children, took children up on His knee, and referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. But He also exuded superhuman strength and power by calming the winds and the waves, walking on water, driving out the temple money changers with a whip, walking through the midst of an angry mob that was trying to cast Him off of a cliff, conquering sin and death by bearing the guilt of the entire world in His own body, and rising from the grave on the third day. Not to mention the awe-inspiring description of Christ in the book of Revelation where it says, “I saw the heavens open, and behold a white horse and he who sat on him was called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and his name is called the Word of God and the armies in heaven clothed in fine linen white and clean followed him on white horses. Now out of his mouth goes a sharp sword that with it he should strike the nations and he himself will rule them with a rod of iron and he himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God and He has a name on his robe and on his thigh a name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Wow! This is Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate Man, the ultimate King. He is greater, mightier, stronger, and more powerful than anything that our minds can comprehend. In the face of this kind of spectacular majesty, how can we possibly reason by saying Jesus was a softy and therefore we should be too? Because Christ was the ultimate blend of strength and sensitivity. He rules the nations with a rod of iron, and yet He is the Prince of Peace. He commands the winds and the waves to obey Him, and yet little children find refuge in His arms. He is the ultimate Warrior Poet, as it says in 1 Peter 2:21, “He left us an example that we should follow in His steps.”
This applies to masculinity. It’s the example of Christ – not the culture – that men are supposed to be following. Jesus was anything but a metro male or a wishy-washy, feminized male. It’s time that we start allowing men to rise up to the standard of Christ. There’s a balance here. We are not to excuse mediocrity in modern manhood because there are other types of men who are … Eric refers to them as burpin’, scratchin’ males. They’re very selfish, they’re burly, they’re the “wear the wife beater t-shirts” type, they’re only interested in one thing. They’re strong men, but they’re strong for very selfish and perverse reasons.
That is not the kind of masculinity that we should applaud. The selfish, animalistic guys of today are also counterfeits of the warrior side of what God created them to be. So we need to gain God’s vision for masculinity, a blend between Christlike strength and Christlike sensitivity. That boils down to a man who will protect purity and not conquer it; a man who will stand for truth and not cave to the social sensibilities of our modern times; a man who puts Jesus Christ above his own reputation and selfish desires. When we see glimmers of this type of masculinity emerging in today’s men, we shouldn’t complain about the fact that it’s not feminine enough or it’s not soft enough. We shouldn’t become offended because of it’s masculine tone. We need to remember that God has designed men not to be women but to be men. It’s time that we made room for guys to rise up and answer the war cry of God’s Spirit. Men need to be allowed to stand for firm truth, to speak their convictions with boldness, and to fight God’s battles with all the masculine strength that He intends them to have. So I encourage you not to get in the way of God’s plan for raising up strong men in this day.
Tips to Encourage Christlike Masculinity
Leslie Ludy: I want to give you a few practical ways that you can encourage Christlike strength in the men around you.
Tip No. 1: Champion Godly Boldness and Strength
Leslie Ludy: First of all, as we’ve already said, don’t be offended when guys demonstrate godly boldness and strength. That doesn’t mean we put up with or excuse selfish strength, but when it’s Christlike boldness and strength, when it means standing boldly for what you believe and speaking truth with power and authority, that’s not something we should say, “Oh, that’s too manly. I don’t like it. I want you to be more like a woman. I want you to be a little more soft.”
I was in a conversation once with a group of men who worked for a Christian publishing company. Eric was speaking to them about what he felt should be in one of his books. One of the publishers who was a very …. what I would call a “Christian metro guy.” He was a very soft man who was acting a lot more like a woman than a man. I was surprised to learn that he was married and had children because I wasn’t sure of his sexual orientation. He was so feministic in how he acted and how he spoke. Yet here he was, a Christian publisher, a leading guy at a Christian publisher, and Eric had said some things not personally against him but about how he really wanted his book to communicate this, this, and this. The publisher said, “Well, I’m just really hurt. It hurts me that you would emphasize those points in this book.”
Both Eric and I were trying to stifle laughter because we hadn’t heard a man use that kind of language before. “You’re just so hurt by these bold truths?” That doesn’t even make sense! It was such a clear picture of that feminization that has happened to so many men today. So when you see strength, when you see a man who really is taking a stand for what he believes, then cheer it on; encourage it. Let them know that you appreciate them taking a strong stand for what they believe because everywhere they go they’re getting the pressure to tone it down, to not be so masculine, to not be so strong.
Tip No. 2: Acquaint Yourself with the Biblical Vision of Masculinity
Leslie Ludy: Study the Scriptural pattern for masculinity. Job 29 is a great place to start! Look at when God builds a man according to His pattern, what does that man look like? How does he speak? How does he act? What does he say what does he do with his life? And once you catch a vision of God’s pattern and stop looking at the trends of the culture to define what you approve of and what you think is acceptable, then you’ll begin to recognize godly manhood when you see it and be able to encourage it and the men in your life.
Pray for the men in your life to rise up to that standard. Even if you don’t see it in their life right now, begin to pray that God would build them into Job 29 men; Warrior Poet men that have that Christlike strength and the Christlike sensitivity that God designed them to have. As I said, don’t take your cues from the culture to define what’s desirable based on what’s popular in the world. Take your cue from Scripture.
A few years ago there was a magazine cover. (I can’t remember if it was People magazine; I think it was.) But it was in the grocery store, and they were demonstrating, “Here is one of the most attractive men in the world today. Women just swoon over this guy!” And he was the guy who was the star of the Twilight series. Even on the cover of the magazine he looked pale, sickly, and like he was on his deathbed. Eric made a comment to me like, “That guy is sick! He’s pale, he’s washed out, he’s wimpy, he’s skinny. He looks like death warmed over.” Yet the culture is putting his image on this magazine and saying, “Girls don’t you think this is attractive?” It’s really ridiculous what the culture lifts up and says, “This is desirable!” So don’t take your cues from the culture. Look to the pattern of Scripture to define what is honorable and admirable in manhood today.
Leslie Ludy: Some final thoughts that I want to share with you. Pop-culture, in my opinion, can keep its feminized, spineless, delicate masculinity that offends no one and pleases everyone. I would prefer Job 29 men over that any day – men with backbone, grit, strength, and a resounding battle cry. We need to remember that when men are truly men fairytales come true. Marriage is work, and when men are truly men the world can be turned upside down for Jesus Christ.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. For more on this topic, I encourage you to join us for our upcoming Set Apart Conference, May 26-27th, where we will be doing an entire session on how to encourage the men in your life towards bravehearted manhood. Visit us here to see how you can join us in Colorado or stream a simulcast. The simulcasts are available all throughout the summer. I hope you’ll join us for that session, and I pray that you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!