There are several versions of what truly defines manhood. What does it really mean to be a man? Some see it as a game of how much hearts they can break without getting caught; what car they drive, how much sex they have… others find it in money and power. In the realm of Christianity, there also exists an idea of what manhood is. Some brethren and I (shout out to my dorm brothers 😉 ) were discussing this feature of manhood as it relates to women. For those of you familiar with the DISC personality profiles (it’s a really interesting thing to check out if you have the time) we came to the conclusion that females generally can have the tendency to be attracted to those who exhibit D-type traits.
In the church, we found that upon examination, we have a culture where such traits are usually frowned upon. That leading, commanding, authoritative sort of demeanour is often seen as not “Christ-like” and instead of grooming leaders and visionaries, the male product of the church often reflects one who is obedient and submissive (which, interestingly enough, is what God desires of wives for their husbands). As Christian men, we were instructed to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and gave his life for it.
What does this look like?
It’s often said that Boaz was a picture of Christ. In the book of Ruth, we see certain things about him and his behaviour to his soon to be bride, and it certainly wasn’t obedient and submissive. He respected her; he ensured that his male servants did not harass her in any way. He gave freely to her, with no intention of receiving in return. He instructed his men that while they were gathering up barley for the harvest, to leave a little more than extra so that during her gleaning for the extras that they left back she’d get a little more. He allowed her to be among his own maidens, to show her the ropes and guide her. He spoke to her with kindness; showing her favour that she felt as if she didn’t deserve.
He saw worth, and value in her. Did he love her from the start? Who knows. In the culture we live in, it’s impossible for is to see it any other way, with they way that he treated her. It was easy to paint the illustration of the analogy between him and Christ, because of the grace that he bestowed upon her, who was an outsider and had no entitlement toward his treatment whatsoever. But what of us, as men? Have we seen women in this way? Or do we?
We need to see the value in women; especially those who exhibit exemplary qualities as Ruth did. We may not have servants like Boaz did, or fields of barley, but we can still try to provide for that special woman, and protect her. He was very intentional about his actions, and so should we. A simple thing such as choosing what to eat for lunch shouldn’t be our kryptonite, and neither should leading those we love in the way that Boaz did. The real question to you is, how do you see yourself doing this practically? How do you go about showing forth your love toward that special someone?
I’m pretty sure that no matter what concept of manliness you ascribe to, you can agree that this guy was pretty manly. As a Christian, it’s important to know that our identity as a man is found not in the lady at our side, but the God in our hearts. He has the final say. He was our example, and I guarantee you that he was no pushover. His only time spent in submission was him actively demonstrating his love toward us, that while we were yet sinners, he died for us. Can you love like that? I’m not sure I can just yet. But I can guarantee you, I’m going to try my hardest to get there.