Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr. are the type of men society deems manly today. In fact, it would be a lie to say that I myself did not grow up with a manly hero complex. I wanted the guy that would save me from pirates or mummies and to do so while still looking fantastic.
There is one quality that the men of my childhood dreams have in common with a true manly man though. Love. And the will to sacrifice one’s own life for that love.
Christian men are held to a different standard than what society deems acceptable for men. The definition of a true manly man is to love. And to love one above all else: Jesus.
Young Christian men in college and throughout their lives will face challenges that will cause them to doubt what being manly truly means however.
Many men in college judge manliness through many means that don’t include a love for the Lord, Ricky Wai a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo said.
“Something that makes a man is he’s really into sports and also like drinking, going to parties, and some things I’ve heard around my dorm just like how many girls you’ve slept with. And if you don’t really fit into all these you’re kind of not manly,” Wai said.
Other challenges aren’t so obvious such as the fact that a man’s success is judged by material possessions, Wai said.
“I think society expects a man to be very proud because we see a successful man as someone who has a really good job, a really high paying job and has like a really big house and ten cars,” Wai said.
Today’s culture puts a huge emphasis on a man who’s entirety is focused on his own wants, John Morton a bible study leader on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s campus said.
“Well if you look at popular movies and music and stuff like that it seems like what’s glamorized is a man who’s very independent, a man who doesn’t really have to respect authority,” Morton said. “Also I would say a man who is concerned about his appearance, about his status in life. A man who basically is concerned about things that are only about like right now.”
A godly man instead views all he has as gifts from God and not from his own doing, Wai said.
“I think that a godly man should be really humble and just giving praise to God for all that God’s given him because I remember in John 3:27 it says ‘John replied, a man can receive only what is given to him from heaven,'” Wai said.
In order to avoid being influenced by society’s definition of a man college students should fact check what they hear with the Bible, Morton said.
“Filter what they’re saying through the lens of scripture because if it doesn’t check out with scripture it’s not something you should believe or put your faith in or pursue or think about,” Morton said.
Another way for Christian’s to stay on the right path resides in keeping close Christian friendships, Morton said.
“Be involved in genuine Christian fellowship whether it be a small group bible study or whether it be a larger thing, it doesn’t really matter you know?” Morton said. “But ultimately have people to keep you accountable and who you can genuinely enjoy life with – that’s what the Bible talks about when it talks about fellowship.”
The difference between a guy living out society’s definition of a man and God’s definition is noticeable, Taylor Mahaffey a freshman at U.C.L.A. said.
“I think you can tell the difference when you talk to someone especially because I don’t know I feel like if someone’s really for the Lord there’s just kind of this light that like shows through them and you can just tell they’re happier and less stressed out,” Mahaffey said. “Just a lot happier because I feel like a lot of people on college campuses, they’re like this really shallow type of happiness. So when you meet a guy who’s living for something else you can definitely tell.”
In short a man of God isn’t independent, he makes decisions not on his own but with others and with God’s guidance, Morton said.
“So basically he’s not going to be a selfish person or a self-determining person,” Morton said. “He’s going to be a God determined person.”