Every boy is trying to find it. Each young man is trying to capture it. Every man is trying to own it. It’s that elusive quality of masculinity.
On first glance, we feel this is about gaining certain virtues and skills associated with masculinity, but it’s more than that. It’s deeper than a man’s behavior or abilities. Masculinity is the foundational spring out of which the river of his life is to flow. Yet that spring has become clogged or choked off for so many. For others, it is completely dry.
Generationally, boys found something of that elusive quality as they grew up with their fathers, in the company of other men. But in our modern age, that has by and large been excised. From an early age, boys are separated from their fathers, going to school as the dads are going to work. The cultural disintegration of the family has only added to this excision. Young men are tossed into the washing machine of the world without markers or mentors. Left to fend for themselves, they wander from job to job, drift in and out of relationships, try to find their center in a woman or in another man, and yet feel more and more disoriented. They are cut off from their masculinity, looking at it from the outside, compulsively trying to find a way in. The pain of this estrangement drives them to porn or drugs or abusive behavior. The tragedy in all of this is that masculinity continues to elude them.
Generationally, boys found something of that elusive quality as they grew up with their fathers, in the company of other men.
But what seems to be lost is not lost forever. There is one sure place a man may go to find his masculinity. Yet it is such an unlikely place that most do not consider it. It is another spring whose water is never clogged or choked off, water that is clear and clean, brisk and bright, always fresh and flowing. It's the spring of living water. It is Jesus Himself.
The one Man who was truly a man came to initiate a new order of men. He is the pioneer of a new humanity, a trailblazer of a new race. And He is at the head, leading on the charge. When a man chooses to follow Jesus, something without parallel happens. He is now in Christ, and stranger still, Christ is in him. This is not just a ethereal idea. It’s a living reality. The muscular soul of Jesus comes to reside in you. The flaming heart of Jesus comes to live in you. The fearless voice of Jesus comes to dwell in you. His arms become your arms. Jesus' hands become your hands. His mind becomes your mind. And His masculinity becomes yours as well. This is the healing of a man’s soul.
But how does this happen? It happens in another most unlikely place. In the secrets of a man’s soul that he carefully guards from others. It happens in those places in his story from which he has always been running, places full of guilt and loss. It's in these very places that Jesus comes to dwell, in all of a man’s weakness, foolishness, and shame. He does something there inconceivable. He turns them into strength, wisdom, and glory. In doing so, He gives a man his masculinity.
I know this to be true because it is my story. It’s also the story of men with whom I am walking. Do not be unaware. The resurrected Jesus is alive and well and on the move. His presence is our salvation.
It’s also our masculinity.
Bill Delvaux is a graduate of Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has been a church planter, a high school Bible teacher, and a running coach. Six years ago, he pioneered Landmark Journey Ministries to help men connect their stories to God’s story through retreats and spiritual direction. His newest book, Heroic: The Surprising Path to Manhood, will be released in April 2019. His greatest claim to fame is being married to Heidi for 32 years and having two amazing daughters, Abigail, and Rachel. He and his wife currently reside in Franklin, TN.