I’m all for personal, orderly independence. This being said, it is imperative that the Christian temper his enthusiasm for liberty lest it become an idol which replaces Christ’s position on the throne of the heart. Allow this writer an explanation.
I recently read a refreshingly frank article composed by a blogger whose chief focus is recapturing wholesome manliness. In general, his efforts are laudable since they align themselves with God’s design and purpose for males. Within this particular screed he advises that men seek autonomy as a means to cure the “softness”, “mediocrity” that so plagues men within a civilization that exalts the effeminization of males. The advice is sound – that is, until he writes, “It’s about living by your own rules”.
Granted, the author clarifies that gaining personal independence within a manly framework will eliminate feebleness. Still, living by one’s own rules isn’t consistent with true manliness, a set of principles and rules which define manhood. In other words, it is oxymoronic to ask men to submit to the structured value-system known as ethical manliness and then, in the same breath, use libertinistic language to seemingly encourage freedom. It’s a mixed message and frankly, a bad one considering our propensities as human beings.
Consider that are default inclination is to appease our fleshly lusts. If this weren’t so, articles, lectures, books and various exhortations convincing us of the superiority of doing moral good over committing ourselves to a life of immorality wouldn’t be necessary. Hence, we need to be reminded to do good and to be good. If in the midst of dispensing said counsel we give ourselves space to violate the rules that call us to do good, we’ll opt for licentiousness every single time. This leads me to the salient point of this article.
I believe imploring men to be proper men is a righteous thing (so long as it is grounded in Biblical truth). Nevertheless, it needs to be stated that prioritizing is of supreme importance. This means that Christian men must make the masculine ethic subservient to the Christly model, not the other way around. Otherwise, we run the risk of worshiping at the altar of our own biology, physiology and spiritual makeup and ignoring what the One who made us has to say about who and what we should be.
A man cannot be manly unless He who can organize that man’s existence teaches him how to be an honorable man. If this isn’t the case, men who claim to care about the manly ethic will become as enslaved to vanity and corruption as the effeminate men they criticize are.