We are bombarded with lies from the enemy every day. For us to grow into more authentic, godly men, we must be able to distinguish truth from lie—so we can teach the truth about what it means to be a man to our sons.
It’s time we overcome our own failures and be the leaders God calls us to be. Are you with me? Let’s stop teaching these four lies about what it means to be a man to our sons, whether it’s with our words or with our actions.
Have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. —1 Timothy 4:7
Manhood Myth #1 > Men are always strong and don’t ask for help.
You’ve been told (or shown) this by your own dad or by Hollywood movies. I’m looking at you Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson, and Chuck Norris. Especially Chuck Norris, who never asks for help. Chuck Norris IS the help!
Seriously, however, Satan uses Scripture to tell us a worldly lie about what it means to be a man. This is one of his most clever schemes; he tried it on Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11). It’s true men are called to be strong—strong leaders, strong husbands, and strong fathers—yet, at the same time, we are called to be meek and humble.
We must acknowledge God is our real strength and ask Him for help. Biblical manhood does what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Also, we must be willing to ask other people for help. Godly husbands and fathers don’t go at it alone in life. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.”
Manhood Myth #2 > Success is having more or doing better than others.
In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Don Miller describes success and finding meaning when he writes, “Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.”
Many men are driven by success. So you will have to re-train yourself toward God’s definition of success. I studied and worked under Chuck Colson (Get used to hearing about this. I’m proud of it!). Sitting on Colson’s desk was a plaque that read: “Faithfulness not success.” Which one are we modeling to our kids?
Manhood Myth #3 > No one should impose his beliefs on anyone else.
Some believe their religion is a personal matter solely between them and God. After all, “you can’t talk about religion or politics!” Well, at least you can’t talk about Jesus. Mention Jesus and it gets weird. This can seem tricky. But here’s the point: we must be careful that we aren’t so afraid of what man thinks of us that we disobey God.
We tell the story of Penn Jillette, the famous magician of Penn & Teller, in our Manhood Myths Guide. Penn Jillette is widely known as an atheist. He tells the story of a Christian who offered him a Bible and then shared his faith with the magician after a show:
If you believe there’s a heaven and a hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would be socially awkward…how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you— and this is more important than that.
Manhood Myth #4 > God wants us to always be happy.
Philippians 4:12 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:4-13 shows God wants us to be happy, but he wants so much more than that for our lives. God definitely doesn’t want for us to seek our own happiness above everything else.
Beyond happiness, God wants us to have:
- Joy: v. 4. Joy is different from happiness in that joy is unconditional. You can have joy in all situations whereas happiness depends on your circumstances.
- Gentleness: v. 5. Gentleness means you have compassion for others. It puts others needs above your own (Phil 2:1-4).
- Peace: vv. 7, 9. Peace is an inner calmness because you trust God.
- Contentment: vv. 11-12. Being content means being satisfied with what you have, who you are, and all your circumstances— good or bad. (v. 6; Matt. 6:25-34).
- Relationship with God: (vv. 4-7, 13). This blessing is the reason someone can have all the rest: joy, gentleness, peace, and contentment.
In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul said, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Phil. 2:3-4).” Let’s you and I seek to model this description of what it means to be a man to our wife and kids.
Do you know how to handle these four myths? Will you know what to say when your son asks what it means to be a man?