Are you a boy or a man?

June 6th 2020

Boy vs. Man?

Which of these pictures captures manhood? We are automatically drawn to the picture on the right but are you sure? When I was a kid I thought that you became a man when you grew older. My Dad was a man so I naturally thought that when I was his age I would automatically become a man. Then in high school and college I noticed there were boys that were 16-22 years of age and I casually dismissed this that they were late to mature. But then in my 20s and 30s I realized there were “boys” in my life that were 15, 25, 35, 55, and 75 years old. These “boys” were irresponsible, selfish, arrogant, unteachable, slanderers, unfaithful, inconsistent and lazy. This realization warred with my previous conception that when you grew older you became a man. And in fact I began to realize that I knew some men who were 14 and 16 years of age. This then begged the question, when or how do you become a man?

I think a boy starts down the road to manhood when he starts to take responsibility, begins to be selfless, grows in humility, learns how to be teachable, speaks the truth, is faithful to his wife even before he ever meets her, keeps his word, and becomes a hard worker.

But if I was to sum it all up I would say that a boy abdicates responsibility while a man takes responsibility. The perfect example of this is Adam, the first man, who in the garden of Eden had the opportunity to take the blame for Eve’s and his sin but rather blamed God and the woman God had given him (Genesis 3:12). And in stark contrast we see Jesus Christ, the son of God, humble Himself and take FULL responsibility for something that was not His fault. As a result the Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 3:9-11).

Taking is an active and intentional verb and therefore “taking responsibility” is the primary indicator of whether you are a boy or a man. The act of “taking” wars against the natural lazy and passive nature you and I both possess. A mantra I teach to the young men in my Adventure Discipleship Training program is:

“A man provides and protects, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”

This short sentence sets an idealistic and high standard of the overwhelming responsibility we are called to as men. Yet, I see throughout the Bible God calling us to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29). So then, since I am rather practical, the natural question that arises is how? How am I to provide spiritually? How am I to provide emotionally for my children when I never learned how to do that from my Dad? How do I protect myself and others spiritually?

How to take responsiblity:

  1. We must decide that we want to be a man
  2. We must decide we want to be a man more than we want to be a boy
  3. We must realize, in humility, we are incapable of become a man apart from the Lord
  4. We must ask for the Lord to lead us into manhood
  5. We must be obedient to His Word
  6. We must surround ourselves with other men who are doing the first 5 steps

So it is my desire to assist anyone who wants to transition from boyhood to manhood and in the next three articles I will provide practical manhood training of how to:

  1. Provide and protect spiritually
  2. Provide and protect emotionally
  3. Provide and protect physically

I will leave you with a final thought from Isaac Salazar, one of the 16 year old men I know. When I asked him and a few others the question, “When do you become a man?” He answered, “When you respond to His calling on your life.”