I've seen all 200 Rambo movies, and I've accepted that I'll never be like him or ever want to be like him. Not because of the work it takes to have those abs, but because I don't want my manhood to be only identified by outward strength, unbridled negative emotion, or defeating my enemies. This post is aimed at men but women may also relate to being taught a certain way of being or perhaps this may shed some light on the men in your life.
Shouldn't a man of God live his live differently than someone who doesn't know or walk with God? Identity absolutely isn't easy growing up through childhood and adolescences while being influenced by John Rambo, but I don't think it's easy later in life either. As human beings and spiritual beings we should have a tension between our worldly understanding of manhood and what God’s views are.
Let's face it, our own selfishness, the traditional role of the American man, and our own belief that freedom is being able to do what you when you want all not so gently push us in the wrong direction.
The story of creation reveals that God gives man relationship with Himself and Eve, a job to do all before sin enters the world. I emphasize that real men of God accept the work God has given them and expect to work at all He's given. While it's easy for men to work hard at their job, men of God work really, really hard at being a good husband, father, son, brother, friend, and brother in Christ. Men of God cultivate their relationship with God and others because God's given them all these.
Real men of God cultivate all that God has given them as worship to God. For me that meant quitting my job and being a stay at home dad for a year. I wasn't providing income for my family, but I was still working for the best of my family. Although it didn't fit the traditional American role for man as the provider and was personally challenging, I was tending to what God had given me. This also means that as a parent, I'm not looking just to get my kids to learn how to behave well, be responsible, take care of themselves, to follow Jesus, etc. I have to do it in such a way that is spiritually, emotionally and relationally healthy.
I could go on, but you get the point...as men we have to accept all the work God's given us and really work at it.
Men, may you consider what it means to be a man of God.
Men, may you find freedom in doing it God's way.
Men, may you find delight in working hard at all that God's given you.