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Christian Counseling - Be a Man

Most all of us have heard or perhaps used the phrase, "Be a man." The tone and motive of that kind of talk varies from a shaming manipulation to an encouragement. As with some other present day sayings, this likely had a biblical origin.

In I Samuel 4 the Philistines are fighting against Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Israel camp, which resulted in them cheering so loud that the "earth resounded" (:5). This shook the confidence of the Philistines, and they grew afraid. The message given to them (probably from a commander) was, "Take courage and be men, O Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews" (:9).

Similar words were spoken by David to Solomon in I Kings 2:2--'"I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man."' In this passage and in I Samuel, "Be a man," is an encouragement, which is connected to strength and courage. Why do we men need this? Because we have fears, and we need support in overcoming the ruling force of those fears.

In the Hebrew, "man" refers to a mortal man, a fellow, chap or male. In these contexts, the words for courage and strength mean the "man" was to be a leader, valiant, heroic and excellent. This man was not to be driven by fear, weakness or passivity. The courage of the Philistines was to be shown on the battlefield, but Solomon was a man of peace, not a warrior. Therefore, young (early 20's most likely) Solomon was to evidence his courage by fighting the spiritual battle within--between his flesh and following the Lord and His commandments. The latter was his father's encouragement.

If someone challenges you to be either a man or become a wimp or weak, do not give in to their corrupt manipulations. But if it is meant as an encouragement, take it as such. You have someone on your side helping you to be the best person (man) you can be.

The "rugged individualism" of the 1800's still influences men to be the strong, silent and independent type. However, scripture (i.e., I John) points out that we also need each other and are not meant simply to go it alone, but go it with others. Join with some other men or start a men's group where you can be properly challenged and supported and develop your character. Be strong, be a man, for your character is your lasting legacy and the only thing you will take with you when you leave the land of the living.

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