It is my pleasure to introduce the following guest post on manology. It is written by a friend of mine, James Shrimpton, who has a regular blog called Ruminations of an Assistant Pig Keeper (if you get the reference award yourself some man points). As Proverbs 27 v 17 says: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Enjoy!
Examples to learn from
After Ben’s slew of excellent posts on the new field of ‘manology’, I thought it was about time I contributed to the subject. I don’t have any new insights to offer, but I thought I’d show a few of the great examples of manliness that have inspired and touched me. Most of them aren’t perfect, but they are all worth learning from.
And no, none of them are Chuck Norris. Sorry.
“While men differ in their individual lives, there are certain great qualities which are essential in all noble manhood”
Truth, justice, perseverance, purity, humility, love, leadership. There are more, but those will do for our consideration now. We’ll consider three examples together now, the historical example, the Biblical example and the ultimate example.
The Historical example
“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Winston Churchill. There are very few men who show the qualities of leadership and perseverance more strongly. He was no perfect man, but he was the man who was needed at the time, he stood for what was right and history will never forget him. We all need to learn to stand up for what is true, no matter what the consequences. God calls us to stand up, and God calls us to persevere. Consider Jesus own words:
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
“Only hold fast what you have until I come.”
Endure! Persevere! Be strong in the faith, stand up for God in this fallen world and in His name don’t give up! Like Churchill exhorted the British people to do in World War Two, persevere to the end and you can call yourself a Godly man. In God’s strength, finish the race.
“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
The Biblical example
A Biblical example of manliness? I’m spoilt for choice.
“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Let us take Paul. He spent his life tirelessly preaching the gospel all the way through Palestine, Italy, Spain. He suffered a tremendous amount – the passage above gives just a tiny flavour of what he went through – eventually he would die for the integrity of his faith in Jesus Christ. Yet despite all that, he talks of this life as a ‘light and momentary trouble’ and says that he doesn’t even consider it worth comparing with his future with Christ. Now that is faith! That is strength, humility, love. If there is any example we can follow, of how to live out a life of love and faith in Christ in a fallen world then it is the example of Paul.
The Ultimate example
We’ve just seen a couple of good examples of Christian manliness and perseverance. Now let’s look at the best. James Hamilton said that:
“Every man must bear his own burden, and it is a fine thing to see any one trying to do it manfully; carrying his cross bravely, silently, patiently, and in a way which makes you hope that he has taken for his pattern the greatest of all sufferers.”
Paul himself said:
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11
So there we have it. The perfect example of Christian manliness. Shall we look at the list?
· Truth. Jesus’ life was one of complete integrity, when his enemies came to condemn him; they couldn’t even find ANYTHING that they could use against him.
· Justice. Jesus stood up for the lost, the sick, the down and outers of his day. He never preached a theoretical gospel.
· Perseverance. Jesus carried his task to the end. He went to death, death on a cross. He could have given up at any time, he could have called down angels to protect him and take him home, but he never did.
· Purity. Jesus was the only man who ever lived without any sin or impure thought.
· Humility. Jesus was God, the creator, Lord of heaven and earth – and yet he washed the feet of fishermen and tax-collectors.
· Love. Jesus loved us, despite our fallenness, so much that he gave up his life so that we could be saved.
· Leadership. Jesus calls us to follow Him; he is the head of the Church and Lord of everything.
There are many more qualities, but Jesus fills them all, he ticks every box, fills every criterion. He is the perfect man, the ultimate display of manliness. Take your example from Him; build your life on His foundation. Follow His call and you will no longer be boys, but men.
I close with my favourite Biblical man-up verse.
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.