Men Without Chests

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis

These are the words of C.S. Lewis in 1943 from his book The Abolition of Man, where he speaks about how society has created a culture of manliness where men lack true heart. He goes on to share how moral relativism has swayed culture to define what is right and wrong in that time.

The craziest part is that it is still
so prevalent in our culture today.

Even right now, a majority of our society will consider us bigoted or narrow-minded if we are not tolerant and accepting of the social norms of our time. Is that really correct? Is manliness relative to the moral standard of our time? No, of course not. The standard of our time always changes; what was once thought moral yesterday is no longer thought to be moral tomorrow, and vice versa.

The only one who doesn’t change is
God and his Word. That is the ultimate
standard that defines how a true man should act.

One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 16:13, where being firm in the faith is tied to “acting like men.”

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. | 1 Corinthians 16:13

That is a powerful statement with a huge responsibility.

Manliness in our culture is often described with three B’s:

  • Brawny
  • Burly
  • Bristly

Society will tell you that manliness has to do with physical strength, honor, power, and acquiring wealth, but manliness in the Bible has a very contrasting perspective. Here a five examples in scripture that describe how godly men should behave:

  1. A man adheres to God’s design for manliness.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? | Micah 6:8

Justice, kindness, and humility. Society’s definition of manliness often contradicts this. A man is usually portrayed as someone who muscles his way to make things happen and who establishes his authority through brute force. This verse gives a direct contrast by describing true men as those who are just, kind to others, and practice humility.

  1. A man serves and leads his family.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. | Ephesians 5:25

In this verse, though it specifically mentions that a man should love his wife, it can also be substituted with family. A man should be the spiritual leader in the home and set the example for the wife and children on how to pursue the Lord, just as Christ did for us!

  1. A man protects his family.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. | 1 Peter 3:7

Once again, though this verse is specifically referring to the wife, the aspect of family can be substituted here. It is the role of the man to be understanding towards their family, to not be harsh towards them, but to protect them from harm both physically and spiritually. A man is the strength of his family.

  1. A man provides for his family.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. | 1 Timothy 5:8

In no way is it wrong for a woman to work or even be the primary source of income for the family, but providing for a family goes much deeper than just income. Providing means caring for, putting the needs of the family before his own, making sure that he is doing all he can to feed, cloth, and shelter his own.

  1. A man controls his passions and emotions.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. | Philippians 4:8

In so many examples, men are portrayed by society as those who are harsh and vulgar. The godly man should never be that. In fact this verse takes it a step further and even mentions that those things shouldn’t even be dwelled on. Rather, the godly man thinks about how he can be honorable, righteous, pure in thought and action, and reputable.

God has given man a primary responsibility, both in the church and in the home. Even from the beginning of time, we see that God held Adam responsible for the sin Eve committed.

God wants men to be strong (in faith),
honorable (to God), rich (in mercy and grace),
and powerful (in the knowledge of God’s Word).

These are things that describe the attitude and character of Christ, and God want’s men to strive to be exact reflections of his perfect son!

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