David Lindell - James River Church West Campus Pastor
By: David Lindell04/29/17

How to Become a Stronger Man

Our culture has a decidedly dim view of masculinity. Husbands and fathers have become the punching bags of popular culture, portrayed as inattentive, clueless, shallow and weak, or society glorifies a brand of manhood that is devoid of honor in which macho playboys are elevated as the gold standard of maleness. The bottom line is that we live in a world in desperate need for men to act like men, but what does it look like to truly embrace this identity?

Eric Mason in his article, Manhood Restored writes:

Jesus is the prototype man for men. All of us men are only as manly as it relates to the standard set by Jesus. Romans 8:29 helps us to understand this point: “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.” God’s design—His divine intent—is for those who are in Jesus to look like Jesus.

We live in a world in desperate need for men to act like men.

Writing in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul further illuminates how this calling is intended to manifest itself in the life of every male made in the image of God.

Here is his command to men: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV)

With these words, Paul gives us characteristics that help us to pursue biblical manhood, and here’s what it looks like…

Be watchful

The first word is watchful. Central to who men have been called and created to be is watchfulness over their own lives and the lives of those they are responsible for, along with keeping a sharp eye out for Satan’s intrusion into our lives.

In the ancient world, large watchtowers were placed overlooking the fields, and when the crops were close to harvest, men would stand watch and guard the fields from animals or from thieves who would take off with the crops.
Watchmen would keep watch from the city walls to sound the warning of any perceived threat. On the watchmen’s word, the gates would close as the city prepared for battle. This system of defense was vitally important to a city and the survival of those living in it.

Your life can careen out of control if you don’t carefully watch where you are headed.

Watchfulness is just as key to our spiritual wellbeing. This is precisely why the Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “Watch your life…” (1 Timothy 4:16, NIV).

It’s the reason the writer of Proverbs appeals, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

Your life can careen out of control if you don’t carefully watch where you are headed.

To be the men God has called us to be, we have to give ourselves to watchfulness.

Stand firm in the faith

This watchfulness flows naturally into the wartime posture of standing firm. Keeping watch is in large part what enables us to stand firm.

Paul says that standing firm in the faith is not something you can will into existence simply out of our strength. If you and I want to be able to stand firm in the faith, we have to be strengthened, and the way we do that is by putting on the whole armor of God.

Far too often we overestimate our ability to stand firm and underestimate Satan’s ability to take ground in our lives.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV)

Far too often we overestimate our ability to stand firm and underestimate Satan’s ability to take ground in our lives.

Every man needs to be clothed in only what God can provide so that they can stand when it seems like everyone else around them is falling.

Act like men

The range of meaning for the Greek wording here is, “to make a man,” “to make brave,” or “to be brave.” Paul is giving us insight into how manhood should be understood.

Acting like a “man” is not about being arrogant, domineering, harsh, macho or tough as nails.

Manhood is about bravery. It’s a courage exemplified as strength under control, fighting and fleeing sin, and being unafraid to take a stand for truth first in our homes and then in the world around us.

Paul writes to his spiritual son Timothy, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, ESV)

In other words, this is not just some generic brand of bravery, quite literally you could translate this phrase “show mature courage.” This is a brand of courage that knows what hills are worth dying and what battles are worth fighting.

What we read here isn’t just “be a man”, but be a man who understands and lives for what truly matters.

Be strong

This verse ends with the simple command to “be strong”, but once again falling back to a more literal reading of the Greek is helpful to catch all that is implied. The literal translation is “increase in strength.”

We don’t pursue some spiritual plateau of power. Instead, every man is beckoned to operate from the assumption that God’s desire is always to make you stronger. Complacency has no place in the life of a man. We must continually recognize that what God has in store for us will always require more strength than we currently have within us.

Every man is beckoned to operate from the assumption that God’s desire is always to make you stronger.

So, men, keep pursuing. Men, keep seeking. Men, keep pressing in for more of the strength that only God can supply.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV)

This weekend at the Stronger Men’s Conference, thousands of men were positioned through our time together to live out this biblical vision of manhood. If you missed it, make sure you join us next year. Register at https://strongermen.org.