Men have been lied to about what true manhood is. In this article we talk about the drive to compete with other men and what true manhood really is.
NOTE: This article is a rewrite from a 3 part series originally posted January 3rd, 2012. I felt it needed a refresh given the coming teachings.
The first time I heard some of these lies exposed about manhood was by a little league, football coach/pastor named Joe Ehrmann. Later on, I heard something similar by a pastor named Dr. Voddie Baucham. I was amazed because they were so true.
But I felt there was a lack of dept and urgency on the parts of both teachers. It didn’t seem as if they knew how big of an issue these deceptions were, and so I’m expounding on what the Holy Spirit revealed through them.
This series of articles will expose the three major lies males are taught from an early age, their effects, and the truth. The three lies are these:
- Manhood is validated by your ability to compete with other men and win.
- Sex with different women and the favor of women validates manhood.
- Any acknowledgment of weakness, pain or hurt is effeminate.
Lie 1: Manhood is validated by your ability to compete with other men and win.
This requirement to compete with other men is expressed in three areas which I call the three M’s: the muscles, the materials, and the mental.
The competition starts with self-comparison to other men. Every time two men meet for the first time, the comparison begins. Even in so-called friendships, where there may be mutual respect, the size up is ongoing.
Think of a pending war and how each side accesses the abilities of the other, this is what Satan has males doing from a very young age. What are they accessing each other for? The competition. What is the competition about? To see who’s more of a man than the other. What is the prize? Respect and honor in social circles.
Those who don’t participate in the competition are, by default, considered “losers.” Those who continue to win, at the expense of other men, are considered respectable. With each win, stars are added to their “man-card”, and with each loss, stars are removed. The more stars, the more honor among men. The less stars, the less honor and disrespect from society.
The “winners” of this game naturally develop a high level of self-esteem resulting in boasting and eventually arrogance. But if a man loses often, he may begin to feel unworthy, insecure, and envious of other winners.
Satan’s game is designed to prevent men from conforming to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), but instead, further corrupt themselves through the practice of pride, leading to their own destruction.
Let’s dig into each area of the competition. A man can choose to compete in one or all three arenas. Of course, those who compete in all three and win are the most honored in the world. Let’s look at the first category.
The competition of the muscles
This area has everything to do with the physical ability of the man. Physique, athletic and/or fighting capabilities are all compared. This is the most primitive area of the competition. It starts with boys arm wrestling to trying to see who’s the strongest in a fight. Whether the arena is combat or sports, private or professional, men enter the competition for the glory and the honor of other men.
Don’t let any of these so-called followers of God fool you with their tributes to Christ or the Most High. These men are players in Satan’s game looking to obtain the same thing Lucifer longed for before he was kicked out of heaven: honor and glory.
From a simple one-on-one basketball game to the Superbowl, it’s all about the self honor and glory, not God’s honor and glory. Even the spectators share in that same desire for self-glorification by appending themselves to their favorite teams. If you enjoy sports it’s because you have the same spirit these competitors have.
If a man doesn’t get into sports or the Olympics, it’s the man’s physical appearance that will be judged and compared to other men. Slim or skinny men are less honored for their physical appearance than muscular men. Men of short stature are less honored than men with a taller stature.
So even the variance in a man’s natural body type is used as a deciding factor as to whether he’s more manly or not, and whether he deserves favor or not. The sad result is have some skinny men and some short men feeling unworthy. And then you have some tall men and some muscular men feeling attractive.
This is why some men train so heavily in the gym: to achieve manhood through muscles. Men of a shorter stature are training to make up for their lack of height. With a six-pack and a larger chest, they feel they’ve added a few stars to their man-card and are, at least, better than the skinny-tall guy, and especially the skinny-short guy.
Masculinity has nothing to do with your ability to outrun, out-throw, out-press or outfight another man. These are all vain and destructive practices. God is not honored when he sees his creation, made in his image, abuse themselves for money while others watch in excitement.
Masculinity is not tied to whether you’re tall and muscular, for God made men of all shapes and sizes. If you’re short, God made you that way. If you’re tall, God made you that way. If you’re skinny, and properly nourished, God made you that way. If you’re muscular, God made you that way. If you’re fat, and it ain’t because of health issues or gluttony, God made you that way.
God makes variety! He’s creative. Every man wasn’t designed to look the same. But the devil creates a template and forces every man to fit into it—that’s impossible.
To try and change you physical appearance to gain honor from men and women is fruitless. You’ll never measure up. Even if you’re labeled the Sexiest Man Alive, they’ll be another man they put on that magazine cover next year. None of these things are edifying, or investive towards eternal life in the Kingdom.
Should we then neglect exercise, to focus on the Kingdom? No. Walking and some jogging is beneficial especially in an industrialized society. We are more effective for the kingdom when we’re fit and healthy.
But do you really need to be lifting 40-80 pound weights every week at the gym? No. Not unless your labor intensive job requires you to lift such weight, and only then would that gym membership be temporary because the rest of the workout would be done on the clock.
It doesn’t take a lot to get in optimal shape. Light walking and better food choices with patience is all most men need. But if you’re trying to look like the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (in his prime) then, yeah, you need to be in the gym 24/7, but that’s just not necessary for a world that’ll be ended soon. It’s better to be strong in godliness rather than in body as the scripture says:
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
We as men should put our strength into loving God and obeying him, instead of competing and working against other men (Deuteronomy 6:5). As you follow the Lord, he will esteem you and you won’t need validation from Satan’s competition.
Mixing Jesus with sports
I hate when “Christian” leaders try to merge sports with Christ and say, “We can use it to teach males endurance and discipline.” They’re wrong. If you want to learn discipline, just be a child of God, he’ll teach you in ways no coach could ever. The word of God is clear on who’s your trainer and it ain’t no man:
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. (Hebrews 12:6-8 NLT)
Sports and Christ doesn’t mix. Martial arts and Christ doesn’t mix. These practices are all about self-determination and confidence in your own strength. And as we learned recently, God curses a man who puts his confidence in his own strength (Jeremiah 17:5). Sports and martial arts are all about what the flesh can do, and once again, self-glorification and honor.
The way of Christ is all about self-denial, and learning not to rely on yourself, and acknowledging how weak and incapable you are apart from Christ (John 15:5). Men of God only actually become strong when we acknowledge our weaknesses as Paul said (2 Cor 12:10), and then our success comes when we depend on God to overcome (Psalms 84:5).
The way of Christ is all about glorifying God! Not glorifying yourself! Anyone trying to merge Jesus and sports has a misunderstanding of who God is and what he’s trying to accomplish in his creation. God is trying to get rid of pride and self-determination in men.
Jesus mixed with sports only further deceives men into thinking they can overcome physical and spiritual problems in their own willpower which leads to repeated failure.
The competition of the mind
If a man can’t compete in the first arena, he enters the arena of the mind to achieve academic status. Knowledge is what it’s all about here, and how much more a man can gain over his peers. Now a man is validated by the amount of degrees he’s earned.
The man with a PhD is considered “smarter” and feels more worthy and honored than the man with just a diploma or GED. The more letters after a man’s name, the more respect and influence his opinions have.
Apart from letters, awards and papers stating educational prowess, this arena is all about being right. Not being “right with God,” but knowing the right answer and “winning” the argument against another player.
When men come together to discuss information, it becomes a showdown of who knows more. Knowing more means you’re “better.” If you’ve ever heard, “but I bet you didn’t know this…” during a discussion, that wasn’t a discussion, that was the start of the competition.
This is why men can’t seem to just say, “I don’t know,” when they’re asked a question they clearly don’t have an answer to, or ask for directions. Because to admit some absence of knowledge would require humility, and it would threaten those stars on their man-card. This is why most men act like they know everything.
Then, if a topic arises where one man has an opposing view, this is how the debate kicks off. These proud men can’t just let the other side rest in their opinion. No. They must persuade the other to accept their point of view. Agreement with their point brings them honor, but adamant disagreement is taken as disrespect and sometimes, a declaration of war—“How dare he oppose my opinion!” they think. I run into this quite often from readers who don’t agree with articles on this website.
Feeling dishonored will usually result in the opponent’s character and intelligence being assaulted while he still tries to convince the opposing side of his “error.” While the insults just make the other side even more unlikely to agree, these proud men can’t restrain themselves, they’re driven to gain the prize of honor. The debate can go on for days.
Some Christians say they’re “defending the faith” when they’re really just starting fights to get the glory. How many atheists are you “Christians” gonna pick fights with? You know what these evolutionists believe, just let them have it. But it’s not about the salvation of their souls, you just know how easy it is to destroy their arguments with truth and so you engage them to get that prize—another shot of glory to satisfy your addiction. You’re no different than the atheist, blinded in the matrix of Satan, full of pride, and in danger of the lake of fire.
Education is important. There’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of degrees in XYZ. A degree, diploma, or a GED allows you to pick a function in society, but possessing more knowledge than another male in your circle doesn’t make you better, nor does it prove your level of masculinity. You just know stuff! That’s it.
An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. (Proverbs 21:4)
There’s also an ugly side to higher education, especially in America. These days, I’m not seeing a lot of return of investment. What I see is student loan debt, a sheet of paper and a sense of pride—that’s it—nothing more. Available jobs after graduation aren’t guaranteed, yet the cost to climb the educational latter keeps rising.
There are those with more degrees than a thermometer working in low management retail positions alongside people with just a diploma. They may feel like they should be elevated beyond their coworkers, but hey, that’s the American system for you. If they were smarter, they’d would’ve planned ahead or known better about these wicked systems. Hopefully they’ll get that career they wanted.
I’m not hating on college, or higher education. I’ve been there—I didn’t graduate—because I seen the scam. I’m not saying college isn’t beneficial, but you must be very cautious with the world’s systems.
If you’ve ever been at a social gathering and asked what college you attended, the question was rooted in assessing your points as a player in the game. They were sizing you up. From there you’ll either gained honor or lost it. “I graduated from Harvard. I graduated from Yale. I graduated from Cambridge.” The academic scene can be ugly.
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
Shifting gears to the Church now. I was given the spiritual gift of teaching at my conversion. This gives me the ability to reveal the scriptures and deliver it so people can understand and apply it. On top of that, the Holy Spirit often mixes in the Word of Knowledge which gives me access to hidden things.
Do these “mental powers” make me better than the next man that doesn’t have these gifts? No. I’m just another member of the Body functioning as I should. Everyone has a position and gifts in the kingdom of God and no one is better than the other. If everyone just got into their purpose, there wouldn’t be so much envy among the saints.
Unfortunately, Gnosticism has also slipped into the church today. I’ve spoken about it here. Saints are seeking knowledge more than the Person who gives all knowledge to the point that information becomes God, and thus a means to salvation.
They boast about their mental capacity and turn their noses up at those who aren’t as advanced as them. But only by the Holy Spirit do you know anything! And therefore all glory and credit really belong to him.
I’ll say it again, “all wisdom and knowledge comes from the Lord, therefore no one can brag” (Proverbs 2:6-8). But that Doctor of Philosophy will say:
I studied for all those long hours.
I went to all those classes.
I passed all those tests.
I did all that work to achieve my doctorate degree.
I did it, not God!
But who gave you the brain to compute all that data, retain it, and regurgitate it? Who aligned the training to fit your learning style? God.
God is ultimately the one these men should be acknowledging and glorifying, but just like Lucifer, who was the wisest creature next to the Most High, he thought his beauty and knowledge was because of himself and forgot the God who gave it to him (Ezekiel 28:12).
The competition of material things
This final area of competition is the result of the first two, but sometimes it can be standalone. Men compare the amount of money, talents, cars, gadgets, houses, size of XYZ, women, slaves, and church membership with other men in the competition.
At a party, one man will be talking about his new car. Another man will butt in and try to top that, citing his newer, more advanced, truck. The other man may counter that with widgets the the other guy’s vehicle doesn’t have, and it goes on and on. The goal is to look like the man with the most, the latest, and the best.
This arena, as you know, leads to a lot of lying in order to “keep up with the Joneses” and retain man-points. Satan has got men coveting their neighbors’ stuff, which is a direct violation against the commandment of God (Exodus 20:17). Then they go out and purchase things they can’t afford to impress people they don’t even like.
The competition can get ridiculous and expensive, but men continue to compete. Envy sets in if they have “less” than others, or arrogance and boasting spills out if they conclude that they have more. The whole thing is a mess.
Sadly they accumulate so much stuff, but they have no treasure in Heaven. What’s worse, they grow in pride and begin to boast (1 Corinthians 13:4). This is all counter-productive to becoming like Christ (Romans 8:29, Titus 2:11-12 NIV).
It’s pointless to chase after the latest gadget, car, house and material thing; and it’s even worse when you’re doing it to impress other people. We need to be content with what we have (Phil 4:11), and focus on the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Jesus said:
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
So those are the three lies that men are taught and believe from an early age. If you’re thinking that women believe these same things, it’s because they do. But they got it from the men. It’s just a game that everyone participates in unless you’re a maturing child of God.
And if you’re a child of God and have realized you were participating in this game, it just reveals that God still has much work to do. Stay on the potter’s wheel and let the Master work. We’re all being transformed into the image of Christ and the deceptions of Satan are the main junk that’s being removed.
The sin that fuels this competitive spirit is pride. Plain and simple. Without pride, no man would participate in these foolish games. But it’s that desire to be glorified and honored like a god in his own circle that keeps a man on the playing field. Therefore pride must be hated and destroyed, or the man who continues in such things won’t have a place in the kingdom of God:
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)
Physical strength, athletic ability, mental capacity and material things is not the determining factor for a true man of God. The mark of true manhood is humility. How do we become humble? We start by studying the life of Jesus and being filled with his Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
I know many of you in the Game want to rest from trying to measure up, compete, never-ending workouts, contention, pride, ego and all that other drama associated with this lie, so do so, and rest in Christ and let him show you how to be a real man. It’s important to note, that you can’t be what God intended you to be without his power, so humility and submission to God is the only way to be successful.