What is the most basic fundamental virtue of manliness―the one or two distinct qualities that make a man a man?
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (NASB).
Act like men. How do men act? In our society in the United States they act any way they want. Some of them are lazy; some of them are “wimps,” which is a combination word meaning wet and limp; still others are angry, proud, and self-centered. But Paul says here to conduct yourself in a courageous way with strength. That means to have staying power, stamina, and determination. It means to have strength of conviction and the courage to stand on it. That’s how men are supposed to act.
But notice verse 14: “Let all that you do be done in love.” Men seek accomplishment. They want to face life with courage and stand on their beliefs. They want to make the hard decisions, but they need to do all this with caring and love.
Old Testament Examples
In Deuteronomy 31, Moses is advising Joshua as Joshua is about to take over. Moses was forthright but encouraging. Verse 6 says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Verse 23 says, “Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you’” (NASB).
Now, look how Joab, David’s battle commander, motivated his men in 2 Samuel 10:12: “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight” (NASB).
And finally, look at David’s charge to Solomon as Solomon takes over the leadership of Israel. 1 Kings 2:2 says, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man” (NASB).How do we find the strength and courage to press on in spite of difficulties, challenges, problems, obstacles, and pain? By remembering God’s words. Click To Tweet
Definition of a Man
So, based on the advice given to these Old Testament leaders on how to conduct themselves, what kind of men are we to be? What kind of men do we want our sons to be? What kind of man do we want our daughters to marry? Those who are strong and courageous; those who are strong in their faith; those who are strong in the things of God; and those who are strong in their understanding, possessing discretion and wisdom, where the courage of their convictions causes them to live boldly.
Our society often elevates compromisers and rejects the courageous. Even men who have been in the church all their lives do not understand the strength and sacrifice of Jesus and how that sets a manly example to them of what they should be for their wives, for their families, and for the church.
So, how do we find the strength and courage to deal with difficulty, face challenges, meet the enemy, face problems and obstacles, bear pain, and press on to a difficult goal? By remembering God’s words. He told Joshua:
Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:7-9, NASB
The first thing that gives you courage in spiritual leadership is knowledge that you have the presence of God. He will never leave you; He is with you wherever you go! The second thing is knowledge of whether or not your cause is just and right. You do that by meditating on His Word and obeying it. Then the sovereign God will give you success.