What does it mean to be a man?
How can I, as a woman, encourage my brothers in Christ toward godly masculinity?
What qualities should I look for in a future husband?
These questions roll around in my head. …Because doesn’t it feel like, in this day and age, that true manliness and chivalry are fading away before our very eyes?
I recently read a scene from a book that nearly took my breath away.
A boy, on the cusp of manhood, stepping in between a girl and the lash. He stepped behind her, shielding her with his body … and when the blows drove him to his knees, he pulled her down with him and covered her.
With tears welling up in my eyes, I thought: Now this is true manhood in all its strength and beauty.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
Does that scene remind you of something? Perhaps of Christ stepping in for you? Shielding you from wrath with His Body? Letting His blood be spilled in place of yours?
And what is true manhood but a reflection of Jesus Christ?
I don’t often feel deserving of the chivalrous acts of men, but it is a stunningly beautiful reminder to me of God’s lavish and grace-filled love for me. For I did not deserve His mercy and blessing, but He gave it anyway.
So, my friends, though it may seem elusive, chivalry is not dead. It is not outdated, old-fashioned, or unneeded. It is not a silly practice of medieval days.
1 CORINTHIANS 16:13-14
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Chivalry is more important than you know! It is desired. It is beautiful and wonderful.
Even the small acts of opening a door or offering a polite smile and nod, these are meaningful to women.
…That is to say, to women who embrace their womanhood.
Despite what the feminist culture wants to tell us, most women innately desire to be treated as feminine creatures, worthy of honor, protection, kindness, and gentleness. They want strong men. They long to see chivalrous acts from the men around them.
We are women! And healthy women naturally want to feel feminine, womanly, and beautiful. They want to be cherished, respected, and protected by good men.
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
In today’s world, we don’t get that very often.
There have been times that I’ve been walking through the store and had to really make an effort to move out of the path of a man barreling my way. It’s left me a little unsettled, the way he stares, like, “Move out of my way or I’m gonna run you over, woman.”
Another time, my coat tie got stuck on the rail in an elevator. Everyone emptied out quickly, and the one guy who noticed my plight laughed sheepishly and started to leave as well. The words: Can you help me? died on my lips. I managed to figure out where I was stuck and free myself. And lest you think the guy was a completely unscrupulous sort, he did hold the elevator door open when he saw that I freed myself.
But such encounters leave me feeling unprotected deep down inside. Do young men feel no natural protective instinct or honor toward women these days? Do they no longer jump into action when a woman is in need? Or nod kindly and step out of the way, like a gentleman, when they meet a lady on the path?
Even if they don’t know if a woman needs help, if it appears that she might, a simple: Hey, do you need a hand? might provide some relief.
This is not to say that I can’t step out of the way, or that I’m incapable of taking care of myself under minor distress – like I was in the elevator.
But I think it’s important for men to daily live out their masculinity in small ways in order to develop Christ-like chivalry that will flow into bigger, more dire situations.
1 CORINTHIANS 13:11
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
1 TIMOTHY 5:1-2
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Men must have a higher view of women. Not because we are better, but because we are different.
We are not just another “guy friend”. We are unique from men, and should be treated differently. With gentleness. Tenderness. Thoughtful honor and respect.
The Word of God calls for men to give honor to the woman, for she is the weaker vessel. And no, this doesn’t mean that she is less intelligent, inferior, or of less worth.
1 PETER 3:7-9
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,
But think about it. On average, men are bigger and stronger than women. Usually they can build muscle mass faster and bulkier than women. Over the centuries, men have been the ones willing and ready to fight for their families and country, and take the jobs of policemen, firemen, etc. Even today, there aren’t a whole lot of women who are wanting, or even think they’re physically and/or emotionally capable of going to war and such.
By divine design, men are more inclined to take the difficult and gritty roles of protecting, providing, and hard physical, or emotionally tough, work.
With more strength comes more responsibility.
1 TIMOTHY 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I don’t see myself as any less than men, but I do see myself as made for a vastly different role than men. And honestly, I know that I’m weaker … at the very least, physically.
It’s sensible to assume that at 5’5″ … and more slender than strong … not many men would have a problem overpowering me physically. Perhaps knowing this makes me crave, even more, gentleness and honor from men – especially those in my life. It gives me a general sense of security and well-being.
As for emotionally … I’d say that in most ways, I’m the stereotypical woman. I’m emotional, and very relational, and all that. And sometimes women are flattered and manipulated by unsavory men. Though, by growing in maturity and in my walk with the Lord, it becomes easier to recognize and avoid these men, I do believe that God made women to be under the covering of a man – such as her father. A man who will look out for her and hold any suitors to a high standard. For the young woman’s well-being, honor, and happiness!
Though I am weaker, if I know that a man highly esteems me and would never use his strength against me – but rather to protect and cherish me – then my weakness doesn’t matter.
Versus if a man uses his strength to harm me in some ways, then I am insecure and my weakness frightens me. I might feel the need to harden myself. I might want to prove myself to men so that they won’t take advantage of me anymore. I might despise my femininity. My nurturing, gentle spirit. My womanhood.
I feel like this is what happened with some of the women in the feminist movement. They were hurt, perhaps emotionally, by men. And now they want to protect themselves. To prove themselves. To make everything “fair” and equal and same. But in this mad rush to give evidence that they are just as good as men, they often trash their femininity and the unique qualities and roles that make them women.
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
And also, with their brash, hardened, spiteful behavior, they squelch chivalry in men.
But again … chivalry and godly masculinity are for women’s good!
Not just in the big things, but in the small things. There are some things that I could manage on my own, or grit my teeth and bear. But when a man steps in and offers his help, I feel highly honored. And thankful.
When I’m walking on unsteady ground, I can probably get to my destination without too many mishaps. But if there’s a man nearby and he offers a hand to steady me, it’s an appreciated kindness.
I can put gasoline in my car in the winter and just manage to bear the cold (I hate cold, haha!), but if a guy offers to do it for me, I’ll quite gratefully accept and let him live out his masculinity – bear the cold for me!
Not only does a truly manly man reflect Christ, but men being masculine helps women live out their femininity as God designed. There is a reason that God created us as
male and female
masculine and feminine
with divine purpose
with different roles
with distinct, unique strengths …
It is to wholly reflect Him and radiantly glorify Him!
And it is for our good.
Oh, let me tell you, dear people, it is so good to be unashamedly, freely, beautifully, uniquely, femininely, divinely … a woman. Just exactly who God created me to be. How glorious. How good. How purpose-filled. How exciting. How adventurous. How delightful!
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We cheat ourselves out of many a good thing when we stray from God’s design for womanhood and manhood. We cheapen ourselves when we push for today’s culture’s definition of feminism, liberation, and sexuality.
Only when we go back to the Bible will we find our true selves. As Christ-like women. And Christ-like men.
Femininity and chivalry are essential.
So men … pursue God. And be unashamedly men.
2 TIMOTHY 1:7
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.