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What Does It Mean to Be a Man?

One of the most insidious ideas floating in the airwaves of this generation goes something like this: Men lust. It’s just what men do. What Does It Mean to Be a Man?

The same idea comes out in a hundred ways. Some examples:

  • Men are visual, so put an attractive person in front of them and they’re going to lust.
  • Men need sex.
  • Every guy looks at porn from time to time.
  • There’s nothing wrong with checking her out as long as that’s as far as it goes.
  • Guys just can’t help themselves.

And then there are some additional faulty ideas specifically about married men and their wives:

  • If a husband has a pornography problem, his wife just needs to learn to better satisfy him sexually.
  • If a husband is going on a business trip, his wife should have sex with him right before he leaves so he won’t be tempted while he’s away.
  • What’s the problem if a husband views pornography? At least he’s not actually being unfaithful.

Ideas and statements like these drive me crazy. For one, they put the responsibility of a man’s sexual integrity on other people. No matter that ideas like these are most often articulated by men, they nonetheless degrade both women and men alike.

Men Who See

A group for Christian men who want to change the narrative that says men lust and always will

Let me back up. By lust, I’m specifically referring to the sin of sexual lust. Lust is different than desire (though desire can get tangled up in lust), and it’s most definitely different than sexual love.

Lust is when I use another human being for my own selfish sexual pleasure. It’s a form of turning someone from a whole human being into something far less—an object for my sexual gratification. Lust never sees a whole person. Instead, it sees only a body, and often only parts of that body.

But wait, it gets worse: Lust doesn’t really even see a true human body because lust only understands the human body as an outlet for another’s selfish sexual pleasure.

In other words, lust sees a fiction, not a human body, and certainly not a human being (spirit and body). Human beings have souls, feelings, and good longings. Lust refuses to see these. Human beings have pasts that shaped them and futures they are living into. Lust refuses to see these.

When a man believes that it is natural for him to lust (meaning, it is in the nature of a man to lust), he no longer sees himself as a whole person either. He beholds a fiction of manhood and lives into it. He catches a twisted fraction of a man and calls it complete. Blinded in this way, he can neither understand his past nor live into his full potential in the future.

Jesus came to show men what a man is. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve. The depth of His voice, the strength of His limbs, the direction of His desire—true manhood. The way He used his hands, the way He heard with His ears, the ways He saw with His eyes—these are what men are made for.

In this way, we can understand Pilate’s words to be prophetic when he presented the beaten, wounded, stripped, and mocked Christ to the Jewish people: Ecce homo! Behold, the Man!

What Does It Mean to Be a Man? — an actual man, designed as God envisioned? He is a Christlike man.

Brothers, cast off the grave clothes the world calls “man.” And keep casting them off as many times as you need to. They are not fitted for you. They belong to the fallen sons of the first Adam, those who turn on woman when their sins are exposed: “It’s her fault!” (see Genesis 3:12).

Instead, clothe yourselves in Christ, the second Adam: the Man, who let Himself be crucified for His Bride, the Church. Let His words both feed your manhood and reveal what manhood is for: “This is My body given for you” (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24).

What is a true man? You are.

For you,

Josh

6 thoughts on “What Does It Mean to Be a Man?”

  1. Thank you for sharing that that it was on time word! I was needing strength in that area. His word will not return void

  2. Thanks Josh! I’ve been really thinking about my own manhood lately.As you stated the God man Jesus is real man I need to emulate. The more like I become like Christ, the more I’m at peace with who I am as a Godly man.Lust is my issue for sure! More fantasy.God has done a lot of work in my coveted heart with this sin for sure.It’s really Colossians 3:5! Putting to death daily the deeds of my flesh.Thanks again Josh.

    1. Hi Paul, I hope as you look to Jesus, you begin to see and sense how your design is a reflection of who He is. In other words, when you look to Jesus’ manhood, you’re not seeking to emulate someone who is an entirely different species (e.g. a dog trying to act like a tree), but in Him, you’re seeking to emulate one whose manhood is showing you what your manhood means. Thanks for reading, brother!

  3. I am confused about the definition of lust vs. holy sexual desire, and I haven’t been able to find a Christian discussion on the topic that clearly delineates between the two. The best I can gather from this and other articles is that there is hypothetically sexual desire that is NOT sin (i.e. not lust), it is always sin unless it is a sexual desire for a person you are already married to, of the opposite sex, and that desire is solely focused on the other person’s pleasure, not your own pleasure since otherwise it would be selfish. I guess that is a sign that we are all fallen sexually. In a perfect world we would only be sexually aroused by someone we were already married to, for the sole purpose of pleasing them and not ourselves in any way Is everything else lust?

    1. Louie, these are great questions, and I appreciate that you are digging into them. I think you’re right that we are all fallen sexually, and one of the places we experience this most significantly is in our experience of sexual desire. I must say when it comes to defining an exact line between sinful lust and godly sexual desire, I’m still learning and growing myself.

      With that said, in response to a couple of things you wrote: I think it’s important to know that there is a difference between a desire we experience and a sin we commit. Specifically, it is possible to experience a romantic or sexual desire for a non-spouse without that turning into a sin. Also, within marriage, I would not go so far as to say that any desire we have to feel sexual pleasure is automatically selfish. God has not created us for a dour stoicism, but with an incredible capacity to experience joy with our senses. And there is a place within love to gratefully receive another’s love. Lastly, although sexual pleasure within marriage is good, it is not the greatest good of sex, and so I don’t believe it should be the “sole purpose” of sex between husband and wife . (But now I’m getting into another blog.)

      I think this would make a great discussion to think/work through on the Men Who See Facebook group. I’ll post the question anonymously there and see what kind of conversation ensues. I’d appreciate hearing others’ thoughts on this too. If you’re not a member of the group and are interested, you can join at the link in the article.

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