Strength in Masculinity

On Halloween, my kids excitedly put on their costumes to run house to house for their annual candy-induced sugar high. My four-year-old son wore a full knight costume, complete with helmet, shield, and shining silver sword. Inside this little boy lived a mighty warrior ready for battle. But what did this young knight do first? He poked his two-year-old sister with his plastic sword!

“No!” I cried out in typical dad fashion. Then I recognized my teachable moment.

I knelt down to look my little knight in the eye. “Buddy, you are now a mighty warrior. You have powerful weapons, and God has made you strong! Now you have to choose if you will use your weapons to hurt and harm the people you love like your sister, or if you will use your strength to love, serve, and protect them from this evil world.”

His eyes got big with anticipation as this new purpose filled his heart. For the rest of the evening, he ran back and forth talking about how he was the knight who would protect his sisters from any evil that would come their way. He wanted to use his strength and his weapons to love and serve.

As a man, I too have to make this choice. God has given men strength. Will we love, serve, and protect? Or will we take from and abuse others? Western culture often devalues masculine strength due to the many harms it has caused. The work of sin inside of me naturally bends me to use my strengths and gifts for personal gain at the expense of others. But the redemptive work of Christ calls me to take my gifts and use them for the benefit of those around me.

Ephesians gives us an example of a selfish taker becoming a generous giver:

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
Ephesians 4:28, ESV

Men have specific gifts that God calls us to use to advance His Kingdom. As I raise my son, I want to help him develop those gifts and connect them to the greater narrative of sacrificial service. So, men, as you don your spiritual armor and weapons, will you use your strength to love and serve those around you?

My heart lifts as I see my son take a step in that direction. He’s on his way to manhood.

Picture of Jason Johnston

Jason Johnston

Associate Regional Director Clemson University
Associate Regional Director Clemson University

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