“Act like men.” Fewer three-word sentences in the Bible can generate more discussion and debate than this sentence can. Do these words mean we should yell, grunt, and beat our chests? To oppress women or see them as inferior to men? Who are we to assert that there is a definite way that biological males should act? All the furor of the present day only serves to make it more urgent that we understand these words. This urgency exists at the heart of Young Business Leaders’ vision to disciple and raise up godly men in the workplace.
Context is always important. Daily, modern news making presents cautionary tales of statements torn out of context, framed to create outrage, and often, telling a story which is very different from the truth. So here is a bit of the context of the three words quoted above:
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
–1 Corinthians 16:13-14
These contextual phrases help explain what Paul believed “acting like a man” entailed. Let’s unpack them a bit:
Be watchful: As a child, we may be carefree. Someone else is paying the bills, cooking the food, and watching for danger. As men, we must protect our hearts, our lives, our families, our churches, our friends, and our communities from danger. To act like a man means to be alert to danger.
Stand firm in the faith: A man is not a jellyfish. He is not to float with the tide or simply to go along with whatever external pressures may push on him. Paul wanted the Corinthians (and us) to know the faith delivered to the saints (which he described one chapter earlier in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6) and to hold firm to this faith in spite of skeptics and those who opposed the message of the Gospel. To act like a man means to hold to your convictions, particularly in the face of pressure and opposition.
Be Strong: This command affirms and further develops the previous two ideas. We should not merely be a little watchful or kind of stand firm. Rather we are called to pursue faithfulness with all our might. To act like a man means to give the best of yourself to that which the Lord has called and bestowed to you.
Let all that you do be done in love: In comparison to those who call masculinity “toxic,” the Bible provides a very different explanation. Our watchfulness, our firm convictions, the energy, and the strength we marshal to hold fast to the commands of the Lord are all produced and maintained in the service of love. Foremost, a man is a servant of God and a servant of others. We do not watch or fight out of pride or vanity but from love for God and love for others. To act like a man means to be motivated by love.
Young Business Leaders believes that God is calling us to teach the next generation of men to live this way. Our culture shows signs of increasing opposition to the Biblical view of manhood, and of “manhood” in general. Because we believe God has called us to be faithful, we love our neighbors, and we desire tell them good news of Jesus, the only fully faithful man, we will oppose cultural pressure and work to raise up Godly men! Come join us on this mission.