Several months ago I met a man named Jason*. He made a lasting impact and drew out the best in me without trying. Jason was a gentleman to the core; with full hands he opened doors and I never walked behind him – always in front or beside him. His respect for others and love for Jesus emanated in everything he did. Yes, Jason’s words reflected his love for the Lord, but his actions made the impact because he was living out who the Lord made him to be .
By the end of the evening, I wanted to be more feminine and I desired to have a greater love for the Lord. Why? Because in walking rightly before the Lord, Jason couldn’t help but call out the best in me. A brother in Christ without trying, called out and challenged this sister in Christ simply by the way he lived.
A question has been haunting me since that night; what if I reversed this situation? Am I living in such away that calls out the best in my brothers and sisters in Christ? I throw the question to you: Are you living in such a way that inspires people around you to want to love and know the Lord more? More specifically – ladies, are you living in a way that encourages the men in your lives to be godly leaders? I’ve been blessed to have other brothers in Christ encourage me too, but do I encourage them? Does our personal model of femininity, call out or squash a man’s masculinity?
Like it or not, the Lord created us to be male and female for the purpose of being masculine and feminine, to bring Him glory in it. In asking if the way you act calls out the masculinity in the men around you – I’m not talking about what you want a man to be or your version of masculinity. I’m talking about principles of godly masculinity, not personal preferences. A few of those godly principles being – an ability to lead (be it quietly, generously or passionately,… there isn’t only one “right” way to display leadership), a growing walk with the Lord, a desire to provide for and protect his family and friends, a respect of people in general but especially women and children… The list goes on, but you get my point.
If a man’s masculinity offends us, maybe it should. For instance, if a man is being a gentleman and opens the door for you, our culture says “I am perfectly capable of doing it myself” (a.k.a. I am woman – hear me roar)”. Well yes, we are capable and they know that. It’s not chauvinistic when a man chooses to be a gentleman by opening a door. If you are secure and strong in who you are as a woman, then you won’t need to prove anything. We tell them to respect us, yet we don’t let them. Opening a door is respecting us.
Enough of what we do wrong – What can we as ladies do right to encourage and allow our men to be who the Lord made them to be? The greatest thing we can do for anyone around us, men and women, is to first live out our convictions and to walk in righteousness before the Lord. When we are on target, pursuing the Lord with everything we are, it will naturally flow out into the lives of others. When we live authentically, we challenge others to do the same. It must be done authentically though – encouraging a guy to manipulate him, or ‘catch a husband’, is not authentic encouragement!
I surveyed a variety of guys** and asked them this question: “What can the women in your life do that will inspire you to walk in godly masculinity?” Here are some of their top responses and things we can do or live out:
A woman who:
– Passionately serves the Lord and is 100% sold out for Him.
– Respects him and his input (especially in front of others).
– Challenges and encourages him by asking questions (appropriately) about his walk with Lord. “What has the Lord been showing you lately?”
-Allows him to be a gentleman, providing for and protecting her, and treats him as a man, not another woman (and does not expect him to act like or relate like another woman would).
– Is genuine and authentic, giving him a safe place to be the same.
-Doesn’t mother, nag, compare him to other men, or accuse and undermine his leadership.
Ladies, we want to be treated with love and respect, why can’t we do the same for our men? Instead of pointing out what they are doing wrong, point out what they are doing right. Love them for who they are now – imperfect as we are, and love them for who they can be – made perfect in the Lord.
As I was blessed to have Jason and other men call out the godly woman in me, let’s call out the godly men in the men around us (men, I’m not saying you aren’t godly already 🙂 but so “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine”. (Rom 1:12).
Hebrews 3:13 says “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’”. Well it’s still today, so who are you going to exhort and encourage? – Go live it out – authentically!
*Permission was given to use the story, but names have been changed for privacy
** Thanks to all the men who answered the questions. It’s been a pleasure to learn from you the last few months. I respect you and thank God for you, as I was very challenged in listening to all your stories. Please accept my apologies for all the times my gender and I, have disrespected you. For the many godly men in my life – Thank you Lord.
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