“Now here's a tale for all the fellas!” - Young M.C.
Ladies, this post is geared toward men. But you may also find it just as interesting.
I spent a majority of my life under the impression that "real men" possessed certain skills and traits. They were dominant and demanding. They were aggressive and ready to fight to fulfill their desires.
They could rebuild a transmission, pick up chicks, suplex a grizzly and pull a 900 lb. deadlift (all at the same time). When I began to submit myself to Christ, my perception of myself as a man began to shift.
I began to admit to myself that physical strength, a demanding character, and a competitive advantage wouldn't make me a "real man" even if I did accomplish them.
A man's most valuable traits aren't in what he has, but what he does for others. In Galatians chapter 5, Paul lists qualities that he calls the "fruit of the Spirit." They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
These are not what my old self would consider to be "manly" traits. In fact, I'd even say that they're all "effeminate."
I started praying. I put my guard down. I searched in myself to find this "fruit." And God started moving me. I discovered something miraculous that only God can provide.
I discovered that when you start treating others with respect, kindness and love; there's this wildly positive energy that starts to consume you. It makes the everyday struggles much easier to bear.
I noticed that my attitude change began to change others' attitudes. My friends started talking more openly about their prayer life and faith. My family started asking me to pray at gatherings.
The Holy Spirit was actually being broadcast from inside of me and people were responsive to it. This is to no credit of my own. My flesh seeks selfish ambitions and the sensual pleasures of the earth. This was all God.
In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, the Apostle Paul (the same guy who listed the fruit of the Spirit) says "act like men. . . Let all that you do be done in love."
Not just feeling love, but actually showing love is the manliest things we can do.
Be kind and caring towards others. Find someone from whom you can't benefit and show them kindness and compassion. Be gentle to those who are tender and firm to those who can bear it.
Be a real man. Go hug somebody.