Last night, I switched over to a few news channels for a quick second and I mean just a quick second because I cannot watch any news for very long. There were split screens of debate covering every angle of the recent Gillette commercial.
I had not seen the commercial but based on the outrageous takes from the news feeds I thought it must be extremely controversial.
So this morning I found the time to view it.
I do not know what the Gillette motives were.
Was it an attack on men? Was it a positive commercial encouraging man to be men?
I have no politics brought into viewing the commercial nor know anything about Gillette.
But it surfaced with a topic that I have been studying and praying over for the past few weeks, manhood.
What is it to be a male? What is it to be a man? What is it to be a good man?
What are the attacks on manhood? What is a redeemed man?
Let’s focus on masculinity. What are some ultra-masculine, alpha-male traits?
1)Aggression 2) Discipline 3)Violence 4)Leadership.
The Navy Seal Jocko Willink who is notorious for his JOCKO Podcast and books Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership coming from his experience leading Task Unit Bruiser in Ramadi, Iraq calls for men to have a “default: aggressive”. “Default: aggressive” is about attack first. Strike first. This translates from the battlefield into business practices and self-help.
Counter to some Christian sub-cultures, Grace compels godly men to strike first.
Christian men have a “default: aggressive” posture. Carry yourself with a posture balancing between strength and approachability. Take the chips off of our shoulders and be ready to put someone else’s burdens there.
Christian men have a “default: aggressive” speech. Keep your tongues quiet when there is no engagement but when there is a need to speak, seasoned with grace and truth we encourage and exhort our brothers and sisters.
Christian men have a “default: aggressive” hands and feet. When opportunities arise, jump on them. Do not hesitate. Do not procrastinate. Do not regret inaction. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.
1 Timothy 4:7 …train (discipline, exercise) yourself for godliness.
Men aren’t to be controlled but instead, our energy, strength, and focus should be funneled into greater manhood, godliness. Without discipline, there would not be a great victory. Without discipline even our victories prove us to be animals or bullies.
Discipline is the path of godliness. The surrendering to our great commission from King Jesus, there is our purpose. We train ourselves for Him and for this. Training up ourselves in godliness to the point of small wins and keeping in godliness and this discipline whether growing in the wins or defeat.
If we could be victorious physically over something without discipline, then what is the point of that domination? For instance, think about the glory of soldiers who have attacked the enemy to point of retreat and surrender, then having the humanitarian sense to treat the enemy with respect and dignity. Sure caution is taken. They are now prisoners of war. But they are humans. Deserving dignity.
How much more so should we treat our neighbors.
If we are defeated without discipline what happens? Nothing. Nothing changes. In godly discipline, a defeat can expose our weakness and discipline takes that failure and makes it a strengthening experience.
Donald Whitney is the Professor of Spiritual Discipline at Southern Seminary and has written a book called “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”. I highly recommend his approach in the chapters: Bible Intake, Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude.
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works.
However, there is a command and call to these disciplines. Jesus did them. We are to do them.
In some Christian sub-cultures, there has been a pendulum swing to a path of non-discipline, non-training. This path is very close to Antinomianism. For instance, when Paul says in his letter, “do we keep on sinning that grace may abound?”
How do we not sin? Grow in Christ, crucify the flesh, and be trained up in godliness.
This does not happen by accident. It happens by spiritual discipline.
Charles Spurgeon says that we are to, “Draw the Word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence.”
Men have so many enemies. Their own primal flesh. The distracting world. The great accuser and liar, Satan.
Christian men also have a great King and equipped with a great armory. We follow our King Jesus who not only won the Most Epic of Wars at the cross but is also leading us and interceding for us. The Holy Spirit who lives in us as Holy Comforter, Counselor, Advocate against the lies in our heads, out there in the world, and against the flaming arrows of the devil.
We also have our sword. The Word of God. Which Spurgeon says, we draw out of its scabbard or sheath, and we use it with holy violence.
We use this Sword of Truth to defend ourselves and attack the enemy.
Do not fail in training with this sword and do not underestimate your adversary. Your enemy is prowling around like a lion and is infinitely more lethal.
Like Jimmie Johnson said, “When you hit a gorilla, you do not slap it. You hit it with everything you’ve got.”
Christian men get skilled with their weapon and use it with holy violence against the enemy.
Every man has some degree of leadership influence. The question is only if a man has good leadership or bad leadership.
Think about every situation from a conference room to a locker room.
Every person has some influence on the room. To what effect does a man raise or lower the trust of the room, the accountability of the room, the effectiveness of the room.
Christian men lead. Leading by exemplifying the attributes of the light in a dark world and to people who need the light of the world.
What else is there to do? What other choice is there?
The choice of crawling into a life of fulfilling the fleeting desires that only lead to a slippery tunnel of despair and more selfishness.
This where much of manhood and masculinity resides.
That is why there are so many hairy-legged boys with false alpha-male tendencies being fueled by every commercial in between football games.
That is why there are so many hairy-legged boys who have the outward appearance of manhood but do not strive after fulfilling the calls and responsibilities of life.
I had the privilege of seeing men in my life.
A grandfather, my Papa, who weighed probably 150 lbs. but worked 2 and 3 jobs for the better part of 60 years to provide and not only provide but love and love well.
A dad, Larry Mac, who I am named after, who I saw as the strongest, toughest, most-hard working man there ever was, grow into this wonderful dichotomy of also gentle and humble. He showed me how to admit mistakes and learn. He showed me what repentance looks like. A gift that is greater than all.
A father-in-law, Scott, who has many of the similar attributes but also, showed us how to have big faith and risk it all for the Lord. He also showed us how a man can turn the other cheek. A man picks his battles.
Hairy-legged boys do not do any of this.
They do not work hard. Do not provide. Do not aggressively fulfill their responsibilities.
Hairy-legged boys do not repent. Do not apologize.
To put up a false-perception under the banner of being an alpha-male, they make everything their battle when they are not even winning the most important of battles.
It’s ironic that I am using the term “hairy-legged boys” when also talking about a shaving company.
But that is the term I use for men who do not act like men, they are “hairy-legged boys”.
So you could say that I applaud the Gillette commercial.
I also am doing so with the wonderful burden of raising who I hope to be a great man, my son and namesake Larry “Mac” McMillan III.
In closing, I leave the passage of 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 as a call to all Christian men to be champions of, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”