We've lost our vision of true manhood and live during a modern era that has systematically “wimpified” what it means to be a man. Webster’s online dictionary defines a wimp as “a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person.” Growing up, to be called a wimp was a direct slam against one’s manhood. No boy or man alive would want this term to be associated with them, and there’s a reason for this. There is something God embeds deep within the very fiber of our manhood that shouts against the mere idea of mediocrity and yearns for something more. I believe that “more” is God’s grand calling for men to be leaders that reflect His greater glory.
God has called us to be a part of His Great Adventure. It is a calling of great passion and purpose. Foundational within this God-given quest is the anti-thesis of being a wimp. As men, we are called to be resolved, courageous and to embrace adventure where God so directs and wills it. Foremost as husbands and fathers, we are called to lay our lives down for them. Men: Our wives and children need to know that we will go to battle for them–regardless the cost or sacrifice.
I recently came across a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, entitled The Strenuous Life. Here is an excerpt from that timeless address that is targeted directly at men and is a message, I believe, we desperately need at this time.
“Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln, and bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant! Let us, the children of the men who proved themselves equal to the mighty days, let us, the children of the men who carried the great Civil War to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of our fathers that the ignoble counsels of peace were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the blackness of sorrow and despair, were unflinchingly faced, and the years of strife endured; for in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations...We of this generation do not have to face a task such as that our fathers faced, but we have our tasks, and woe to us if we fail to perform them! The work must be done; we cannot escape our responsibility; and if we are worth our salt, we shall be glad of the chance to do the work—glad of the chance to show ourselves equal to one of the great tasks set modern civilization. But let us not deceive ourselves as to the importance of the task. Let us not be misled by vain-glory into underestimating the strain it will put on our powers. Above all, let us, as we value our own self-respect, face the responsibilities with proper seriousness, courage, and high resolve.”
Wow. I pray that we can once again be men that pursue our responsibilities of manhood with such vigor and resolution. I’ve been called radical by some regarding my faith and my work. Yet, when I look at such men as the Apostle Paul, Lincoln, Grant, Roosevelt, Jonathan Edwards, or John Wesley, my life, in comparison, has been a mundane cake walk. God forgive me for the hours and days that have been wasted on my self-centeredness, laziness, "wimpiness" and lack of any greater God-driven vision for my life. We have allowed the world to lull us into a state of slumber. Instead of engaging our families and the culture for Christ, many of us have become entangled by the world's affairs and have stepped off of the battlefronts that need us most.
When it comes right down to it, God has given us our blueprints of manhood through His Word and the life of Jesus. Christ came on a mission, and He calls us to follow Him. His life is the greatest picture of what true manhood looks like. Like Christ, we must lead by example as we willingly embrace sacrifice, hardship, diligence, discipline, devotion, honor, duty, valor and above all else, a life that loves what God loves and hates what He hates. It is an uncompromising life that unceasingly labors after God-driven results where they matter most.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred for his willingness to fight evil head-on expressed it like this, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” At the core of our Christian manhood, is this simple yet profound truth of our faith: Our lives are not our own. We’re here to serve God, our families and our communities (Romans 12:1). As we walk with God, He walks with us (James 4:8). In Christ, we are called and given a divine strength and fortitude that surpasses anything this world can throw at us.
Some practical action steps for myself and other men that can relate:
1. Repent before God of any wimpy-like tendencies in my life, i.e. where I have placed the fear of man and his accolades over the fear of God and His glory.
2. Pray for God's divine provision and protection over our families–knowing that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
3. Relentlessly pursue God's grand vision of biblical manhood and trust Him with the results regardless of any perceived outcome.
We, as men, must also never forget that God created our wives to complete us. We are truly lacking if we pursue our manhood apart from our wive's intimate involvement in our day-to-day lives. As you make the de-wimpifying resolution, don't forget to include your wife and encourage her pursuit of biblical womanhood. If we partner with our wives and sincerely resolve ourselves around this model of God's calling for men and women, our children will be handed a legacy after God's own heart.
Another quote from Roosevelt that heralds our call to action:
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Roosevelt's quote reminds me of the words found in Revelation 3:16: “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Men, we’ve willingly accepted culture’s wimpy views of manhood and allowed a generation of boys and girls to think little or less of the men they call daddy. In many ways, we are lukewarm when it comes to our faith and families. Yet, at the end of the day, God has called us and equipped us to do His good work. Men, our wives, children and our nation need for us to be de-wimpified and recapture a vision of true manhood.