This post is not to make fun of Justin Bieber. I may not be a fan of him, but I’m not in the business of mocking people to get more views on my blog. The title of this post is written because of something that happened to Justin Bieber today. This morning his agent told the media, “Adult artist? Just because he’s (Justin Bieber) legal now doesn’t mean he’s an adult. He still needs guidance; he’s still finding his way. He’s no longer a boy, but he’s definitely not yet a man.” The agent went on to say some truly foolish things, but those other statements are not my focus for today. I find it strange. If he is no longer a boy, but not yet a man, then what is he?
This quote was repeated to Bieber on the Today show. While fans expressed outrage that his agent would say something so cruel, Justin maintained a different response towards the quote. He actually kind of agreed with his agent. The response I watched from Bieber was one of lost and confused. It is a response I see from almost any young male in the world today. This response comes from trying to answer one question. What makes someone a man?
If you were to google this question you would find a huge amount of answers. Most of these answers are garbage and even disturbing. Culture gives us some popular answers to this question. I would like to deal with a few of these before giving my answer.
1. You become a man after sex.
I have heard this response far too many times. People try and tell me that this type of sexist response is outdated and dead in our world. I am here to say that it is very much alive. There are a few things wrong with this answer. One is that the responder is saying becoming a mindless robot is what makes you a man. If I need to break down to peer pressure, and make myself incapable of saying no to a bodily desire, then how can that possibly make me a man? It sounds more like a coward than a man to me. The other reason why this answer falls flat on its face is because we are then saying Jesus was not a man.
2. Real men don’t cry.
If this is true then I promise you there is not a single man on this earth. Even Jesus cried. He cried when Lazarus died. He cried when he was preparing to go to the cross. Culture tells us real mean do not cry from pain. Jesus sweat drops of blood.
3. You become a man when you get married.
Scripture says that a man is to leave a woman and cleave unto his wife. He is already meant to be a man. Sadly, too many young marriages fall into this trap. The couple believes marriage and moving out of their parents’ home automatically makes them an adult. This leads to some pretty awful results. Jesus was also not married.
4. You become a man when you reach X age.
Maybe the number for this is 16, 18, or 21. It seems to only go up every few years. What is so special about a certain age? What changes in a person at 21 that allows them to be called a man? Age has zero to do with what makes you a man. It has everything to do with what you learned during those years.
Culture does not seem to provide an adequate answer to this question. The truth is that I have wrestled with how to answer this question. I thought back to when I knew I was a man. What made me know this to be true? I knew I was a man when people (most importantly, my father) recognized the qualities of a man in me. In other words, I was a man when I started being a man.
What are these qualities expected in a man? Scripture says that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men. I think the key qualities are found in that statement. Not so much the aspect of stature, but the other three play a vital role.
Real men grow in wisdom. They do not remain hotheaded. They learn to properly use the head knowledge they gain. Anyone can learn information; it takes wisdom to know when and where to use that information. True wisdom is something from God. A truly wise man is someone who knows that he needs to read God’s word in order to get through life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Do you fear the Lord? Culture says a real man fears nothing. Scripture says that a real man fears the Lord.
Culture tells us a real man can do whatever he wants, but Scripture tells us a real man is submissive to God. He lives a life that makes God look favorably at him. He strives to live a life of righteousness. Not righteousness rooted in pride, but righteousness rooted out of gratitude for God’s blessings. He follows God because he recognizes he has been blessed by God. He lives a life that is honoring to Him. He lives a life of constant submission to God.
Culture tells us a real man knows how to hold his own in a fight and make sure things are his way. Scripture tells us a real man does everything he can to live in peace with others. Most of us probably know that guy who always manages to show up when he thinks there is a chance for an argument. You know the kind of person I am talking about. It is the person who only posts on your facebook if they are trying to stir up a fight. They only speak up in a conversation when they want to bring dissent to a point. They do not strive to live in peace with others. They are looking for a way to take their aggression out on other people. They are not striving to live a life where they are in favor with others. A real man knows how to live peaceably with others. He knows how to show respect to people. Notice that I said people and not just women. Somewhere down the road to answering this question we placed the rule that men must treat women with respect, but other men are fair game. Scripture says to treat men and women with respect.
So this is where we stand. It may not seem like a clear cut answer. I encourage you if you are a male to look inside yourself. See if these qualities are in you, and do not be afraid to ask family and friends if they see these qualities inside of you. If you are a woman then make sure these are the qualities you look for in a future spouse.
Justin Bieber is not sure if he is a man yet. Are you?