In today’s rapidly evolving world, an alarming void is expanding in the lives of many young men: the absence of focussed fathering. The guiding hand, the patient listener, the stern but loving corrector — all often missing. As societal norms shift and distractions multiply, many fathers, though present, remain absent, failing to impart the foundational principles crucial for the transition from boyhood to manhood. This generational drift results in young men often feeling anchor-less, unsure of their place and purpose in the world. Recognising this void, it becomes paramount for communities, mentors, and churches to step in, providing the direction and wisdom these young men so desperately seek.
This short guide aims to equip you with 4 areas of manhood in which to focus your mentoring of young men. The 4 W’s of Manhood are:
1. A will to obey*
Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Embedded deep within the Lord’s Prayer, as depicted in Matthew 6:9-13, lies a transformative call to align ourselves with God’s will. When we utter, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” it’s not just a passive acknowledgment but a proactive commitment to obedience. This will to obey is foundational to our relationship with God, who isn’t just an ethereal deity but our intimate Lord, Saviour, and Friend.
- Apostles’ Teaching: To obey, we must first understand. Diving deep into the Apostles’ teachings familiarizes us with the Living Word, giving us the roadmap to God’s heart and his desires for humanity. It’s here we begin our journey of comprehension and commitment.
- Fellowship: Obedience isn’t a solitary endeavor. Through family, church, community, and mentorship, we find strength, accountability, and wisdom. Fellowship not only reinforces our commitment but often enlightens our understanding, pushing us forward on the path of obedience.
- Breaking Bread: When we gather around a table to break bread, it’s not just about physical sustenance but spiritual alignment. This act, rooted in Christ, serves as a reminder of grace, unity, and the heart of our Savior. It’s a symbol of our covenant, our pledge to live as Christ did – obediently.
- Prayers: Whether whispered in solitude or declared in unison, prayers are the lifeline that connects our spirit to God. It’s where we submit, seek guidance, and strive to understand God’s will. Private or corporate, each prayer is a step closer to the heart of God and a reaffirmation of our will to obey.
In essence, our willingness to obey is not merely about following commands but rather a grateful pursuit of understanding, commitment, community, remembrance, and constant communication with our Creator.
Questions to consider:
- How are you actively seeking to understand and align with God’s will through the teachings of the Apostles and personal study?
- In what ways does your fellowship with others – be it family, church, or mentorship – challenge and strengthen your obedience to God’s directives?
- How do your practices of breaking bread and engaging in prayer reflect your commitment to wholehearted obedience and deepening relationship with God?
2. A work to perform*
24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.Colossians 3:23
In a world that often grapples with the meaning and purpose of work, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 offers profound wisdom. This passage reminds us that the daily grind, the toil, and the tasks we undertake are not merely mundane activities but avenues of enjoyment and fulfillment bestowed upon us by God. It’s not just about sustenance or mere survival; it’s about recognizing God in our daily endeavors. Without God, the very act of eating, drinking, or finding pleasure in our duties would be devoid of real joy.
Colossians 3:23 further amplifies this perspective, urging us to approach every task, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, with wholehearted dedication as if serving the Lord directly. This doesn’t only elevate our work to an act of worship but also shifts our focus from seeking mere human approval to striving for God’s commendation. When we realize our work is a sacred gift, and our efforts are for a higher purpose, the weight of monotony lifts, replaced by passion and purpose. In essence, our work becomes a vibrant expression of our worship and gratitude to our Creator.
Questions to consider:
- Do you approach your daily tasks as mere obligations or as expressions of gratitude to the Creator?
- How might your perspective on work change if you consistently viewed it as an act of worship and service to the Lord?
- In moments of monotony or frustration in your work, how can you remind yourself of the heavenly purpose and joy described in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25?
3. A woman to love*
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body.Ephesians 5:25-30
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
Ephesians 5:25-30 beautifully illustrates the sacred bond of love between a husband and wife, paralleling it to the depth of Christ’s love for the church. Just as Christ selflessly gave Himself for the church, ensuring its purity and holiness, so too should a husband love his wife with utmost respect, sacrifice, and care. This is not a mere suggestion but a Christ-given mandate.
The essence of this scripture captures the idea that women are a gift from God, deserving of love, respect, and honor. Before marriage, every woman should be viewed with the protective and pure regard one would offer to a mother or sister. It’s a call to see beyond societal norms, to understand and value the inherent worth of women as equal bearers of God’s image.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 further underlines this perspective. Sanctification, holiness, and honor should govern our relationships and interactions, especially towards women. The Bible warns against the fleeting allure of lust, which stands in stark contrast to God’s vision for love and relationships. In a world that often confuses love with desire and commitment with convenience, these verses serve as a timeless beacon, directing us to a love that is pure, selfless, and rooted in respect. In essence, to truly love a woman is to cherish her as God does, with sanctity, dignity, and an undying commitment.
Questions to consider:
- How does your love for your spouse or significant other mirror the selfless love Christ displays for the church?
- In what tangible ways do you actively prioritize sanctity, dignity, and respect in your relationships, especially with the opposite gender?
- How do you safeguard your heart and actions to ensure they align with the Biblical call to holiness and honor, especially in a world where lust and convenience often overshadow genuine love and commitment?
4. A well-being to cultivate
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 serves as a powerful reminder of the sanctity and significance of our very being. Drawing a profound parallel, it likens our bodies to temples housing the Holy Spirit. It’s not just about flesh and bone, but The Holy Spirit’s presence residing within. Given this unparalleled honor, the onus is upon us to cherish and care for this temple in every conceivable dimension.
1. Physical: Recognizing our bodies as vessels of the Holy Spirit compels us to prioritize physical health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate rest are not mere lifestyle choices but acts of reverence to the God who dwells within us.
2. Mental: Our minds, teeming with thoughts, ideas, and aspirations, require nurturing. Delving into scripture, engaging in positive discourse, and continuous learning help cultivate a mentally robust and spiritually aligned mindset.
3. Emotional: Just as Christ empathized with humanity, we must tend to our emotional well-being. This involves fostering healthy relationships, seeking counsel when needed, and allowing oneself to feel, process, and heal.
4. Financial: Our financial well-being, too, is integral to our overall health. Good stewardship of our resources, living within our means, and generous giving reflect our acknowledgment that all we have is entrusted to us by God.
In essence, to cultivate well-being is to honor the Holy Spirit within, ensuring that each facet of our lives becomes a testament to God’s grace and glory.
Questions to consider:
- In what ways are you intentionally caring for your body as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit?
- How do your daily habits and choices reflect the understanding that you are a steward of God’s temple in physical, mental, emotional, and financial dimensions?
- How often do you assess and recalibrate these facets of your well-being to ensure they align with the heavenly purpose and calling of being a temple of the Holy Spirit?
* Headings from “Raising Modern Day Knights” by Robert Lewis.