What does it mean to be strong? I have been told and have heard people say, “You need to be strong for your kids.” or, “I need to be strong for my spouse.” These statements are often uttered by well meaning people after somebody dies. Is strength, courage and manliness the ability to endure pain without emotional response?
American culture sadly defines strength and manhood for men. Is manliness to paint our faces in blue war paint like William Wallace in Braveheart? Or do fictitious actors like Maximus who fight to their death in the coliseum define strength? Watch the following clip and tell me that we don’t teach our boys from youth that crying is for sissies and true manliness hides emotion.
Pain is real. Fear is real. As a believer in Jesus Christ am I just to man up and put on my big boy pants and “Be a man!” I suppose the most difficult admission for a man is that we are weak and needy, that we have fears and lack courage. When we were small boys and the school bully instilled fear in us because of his threats we sought out friends with muscle. We looked for our big brother when the punk was threatening to bring the pain. We knew we were weak and needed someone stronger than ourself to strong-arm our enemy.
God is calling Christian men to realize their weakness and to depend on the strength of God. God was sending Joshua into the teeth of his enemies where fear and pain could surly paralyze his progress. He promises to prosper him if he does not turn to the right or the left of his commandments. God said, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)
General Joshua was going to face his enemies and God calls him to man up. Success in the Christian life demands dedication to meditation on the word of God and obedience to its every command. This is the first challenge of being a manly man in a culture that defines manliness wrong. God commands Joshua to have courage but his confidence will not to found in his flesh. Strength and courage and manliness are only experienced by a spirit of obedience to God’s word. God said to him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
We have the same promise men. Jesus said that we would never leave or forsake us and to not be afraid of making a stand for truth. Its going to take courage but remember that fear is never a factor when the strongest warrior is next to your side. Be strong in the Lord brothers because our big brother is always at hand to defend.