In our often acrimonious debates in person and across social media, the discussion of what a good or “strong” man is regularly take center stage and elicit all kinds of hyperbole and innuendo about what such a man looks like and where he can be found. Women especially want to know because so many of them have been bereft of a good man for so long. Their collective experiences with the opposite sex too often coalesces into a Jeremiad on love and relationship.
I will say this at the top: a “strong” man is a man of God. Period! He is “in Christ” and therefore, is a “new creation”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Really, it’s our fault as men, because most of us have failed to live up to the expectations of manhood, especially as divined in the twenty-first century. And so many men have reacted to their circumstances of inequity, discrimination, social ostracism and personal trauma with undesirable results.
Men, we all have our challenges. We are all facing some obstacle in life which threatens our livelihood, our sense of value and the role we play in our family and community. It is then we must seek our strength in the place of our weakness. We are like a tree, planted by streams of water. (Psalm One)
What does a strong man look like? What are his attributes? How may we best imitate him?
We are strong (or weak) to the extent that we have been exposed to one or the other. To find a strong man, look within.
Here’s the key:
It’s time we begin to demonstrate what a strong man is by our attitudes and actions and not by talk alone. Here are four such attitudes (among many others) that can act as a beginning.
He is in Touch with a Higher Power than Himself
This is the most endearing trait of a strong man – he is strong because he worships a power stronger and higher than himself. A strong man accepts that if he is his own “higher power”, then he has reached his own limitations and, from here, he is merely bumping his head against a celestial ceiling in a desperate attempt to move up from his present locale. Hence, the strong man is in touch with the God in him, which gives him the power to rise above his circumstances and live triumphantly.
He Does Not Know the Word “Quit”
A strong man is a man who has failed but never quits. In fact, “quit” is not in his vocabulary. When a strong man occasions an obstacle, his thinking automatically switches to the best method of conquering said obstacle. The obstacle – as it is a detriment to the strong man’s fulfilling his stated goal – is already removed; it’s merely a formality waiting for consummation. To quit is not an option. Why? Because the strong man possesses an internal sense of power that operates within like a guided missile. It will hit its target because that’s what it is programmed to do.
He Walks with Purpose
A strong man walks with a sense of divine purpose. He does not willy-nilly his way through life, reacting to life’s vicissitudes as if he were rudderless. He is connected to a clearly defined purpose that guides him and sustains him even in times of struggle and uncertainty. His thinking is rooted in a belief that he was put here for something so purposeful and powerful that it is necessary he achieve it - even against all odds.
He Lifts While He Climbs
A strong man receives his strength, not only from a defined sense of relationship with a higher power, but also from a relationship formed when he is vested in the well-being of others. A strong man lifts as he climbs and therefore he becomes stronger. Show me a man who has accumulated all his assets through his own self-contained whims and has never mentored a kid, volunteered for a non-profit or encouraged a tween to never give up and I will show you a man whose spiritual muscle is at atrophy, and whose veneer of well-adjustment is only a façade of his mal-adjustment. He will have no more psychological endurance than the person facing a black bear on a mountain trail whose first instinct is to run.
To find a strong man, look within.