Man of Valor – Manhood vs Maleness

Man of Valor

James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If you are working through Every Man’s Battle, review pp. 61-70

Who we are, who we are becoming

Suggested: Peruse Judges 6-8; James 1:2-4

Page 70 of Every Man’s Battle makes the distinction between “maleness” and “manhood.” In our “maleness” we discover who we are simply by virtue of having been created as male human beings. As we live our lives, we discover needs and desires that are unique to our gender. Of course, our sexuality is no exception. There is nothing wrong with this part of ourselves. Every need that comes with being male is a God-given need, and is therefore good. Yet, not every avenue we would choose to try to get those needs met is good. “Manhood” is a different matter. In addition to the idea of maleness, the idea of “manhood” addresses who a male can become if he lives his life according to God’s ways. What the authors are expressing is the difference between how any male could easily live his life, left to his own devices, and how he could live his life if he were truly surrendered to God, which would enable him to reach his full potential as a created being. Maleness is self-directed, or even aimless, whereas manhood is purposeful, achieved only if one aligns himself with the vision God has for him. The first is a matter of being, whereas the second is a matter of calling. As the idea is played out in application, we never shed our maleness but we can see it reach it’s potential according to God’s purpose as it is transformed into manhood. We never cease to be creatures, but we must follow the Creator in order to become all He has created us to be.

When we follow, God leads us through trials and often uses our journey to bring us into maturity. Left to our own devices, we would generally avoid trials and because of this we would not fulfill God’s plan for us. We would not grow into the men He is calling us to become. James addresses this issue. James 1:2 instructs us to consider our trials with joy, not for their own sake, but because of what we know will result from them. God is growing us into the men He wants us to be. If we have His vision in our minds as our goals for our lives, then we can be joyful in knowing what is happening, even when it is unpleasant for a time. If we lose sight of that, thinking only of our present circumstances and seeking only pleasure, we will become increasingly discouraged.

Our potential and our destiny are not mysteries to God. They are known and they are certain. Many times, when we are in the middle of a trial, we do not feel like the men He wants us to be. This is especially true when our trials have to do with the recovery process and with our struggle against sin. When we have a spotty track record and very little success, much fear and low self-esteem, the idea of fulfilling God’s will can be more discouraging than anything. We often feel like we will never get there, and that we are beyond hope. We see evidence of our failure rather than evidence of His design.

Scan through Judges 6-8 and reacquaint yourself with the story of Gideon. This story from the Old Testament actually gives us a wonderful picture of what identity is and whose opinion really matters. Gideon is a classic picture of someone who was fearful, who doubted what God would do through him. Despite this, when the Angel of the Lord addresses Gideon, He refers to him as a “valiant warrior” or a “man of valor” depending on which translation you read. God saw beyond Gideon’s present condition and behavior and knew who he would become and what he would do.

God had a calling on Gideon’s life, and He would enable him to do mighty things as well as bless the lives of many around him. As you read the story, you can see that God brought Gideon through many trials, things he would have never done on his own initiative. This is also a powerful illustration of one who could, like Paul after him, boast in his own weakness. Because of Gideon’s cowardice and uncertainty, God’s power working through him was all the more evident when it manifested itself as valor.

How are you like Gideon? What have you been called to overcome that you know you cannot do in your own strength? What do you see that needs to change, that you know you cannot change yourself? What trials are you avoiding? What trials are you walking through that you curse in resentment because of the present pain rather than walk through in joy for the potential results?

Remember who you are by God’s grace, valiant warrior, man of valor.

Choose from the following discussion questions, or create some of your own:

1 In what ways can you relate to Gideon? Are you hesitating or doubting that God can help you overcome major obstacles? What are they? Is your journey toward sexual purity one of those things?
2 What trials are you currently going through that you would rather not face to begin with? Who is there to support you while you go through it? Take some time to talk about your trials with each other. Don’t jump in with advice, or attempt to fix another person’s problem to soon, instead take some time to “mourn with those who mourn.”
3 When the time is right to discuss it, talk about what you think God might be doing in your life. How might going through these trials change you for the better? What is God’s vision for who He wants you to become?

Aaron Switzer, M.A. in Biblical Counseling

  1. prayersanddreams
    February 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for stopping by my blog (which I haven’t maintained in quite some time). I pray that God blesses your ministry.

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