With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, and my oldest grandson getting married, I have been reflecting on what it means to be a man. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” That phrase, “act like men” is actually just one word in the original Greek, but that one word is significant. It carries with it the idea of courage and strength. To act or behave like a fully mature man (which is what the word means) is to act or live courageously. But what does that mean? It likely could mean a number of things in different settings, but consider three aspects of courage. I will address the first in this blog and the other two in future blogs.
First, there is the need for courage to stand alone. We all like affirmation. We like people to tell us how great we are, how important we are, or how intelligent we are. If our sense of significance and self-worth is rooted in what others think of us then we will always waver with the prevailing winds of people’s opinions. Rather than being “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Ps 1:3), we become “like the chaff that the wind drives away” (Ps 1:4).
Jude quotes Peter, warning, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 18). Jeremiah warned, “The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them” (Jer 5:13). The wind constantly shifts. It blows hard, and then it becomes quiet only to gust again. It blows from the north, only to shift and blow from the west. It swirls and gusts with no predictability. When we follow public opinion we are like the wind blowing in all directions. But men have the courage to stand alone and not be blown about by every wind of popular opinion. To be a man means to have the courage to stand alone on the Word of God no matter what others think, say, or do.