The world that we live in today is a minefield for men. We are bombarded daily with temptations and many men do not have the equipment that they need to fight back. The result of this has led to the destruction of the definition of a man, but there are three things that can end this. The first key to winning our struggle is having an identity as men. Our culture in particular does not really know what a man is, so it becomes difficult for many young men to know how to act. Another tool we lack is a strong community of men to come together when we need each other. Many men believe they can do it on their own when they simply can’t. Last, but certainly not least, is a purpose. Without righteous purpose a man can easily be drawn to other things.
Many cultures today around the world have a rite of passage that their boys must complete to be seen as a man. In the amazon of Brazil, young boys belonging to the Sateré-Mawé tribe must wear a glove filled with bullet ants and withstand the pain without flinching several times to prove they are ready for manhood. This shows the rest of the tribe that this boy is now a man while simultaneously teaches them the gravity of manhood. Granted, not all rites of passage require pain to prove you are a man. In America, our boys go without a rite of passage. No one really knows what a man is and often times these boys are taught the wrong meaning of manhood or they are left to decide it for themselves. The aftermath of this is generations of men who are both self-seeking and ambitious or watered down and timid that do not live up to their identity in Christ.
Even if a man knows who he is in Christ, he still needs a community of other men to be there with him through the struggles. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 it says, “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
When we wage spiritual warfare we do it together. If you try to fight by yourself then you are now fighting the enemy on his ground and not your own. You fight together by praying together and telling your brothers about what you are struggling with. Otherwise, how will they ever know to help you? Also, the people around you affect who you are just by spending time with you. I notice a difference in my language and thoughts in the past when I hung out with people who are not concerned with my spiritual health.
The last thing, and possibly the most important, is a righteous purpose. A battle that is worth fighting. So many men today do not have something in their lives that gives them purpose. A lack of this has led many men astray. Some chase wealth and power for their own selfish gain. Others waste their time on pleasure in the form of women or abusing substances. When a man does find something that is worth the fight, it can shape who he is. I struggled for a long time to find purpose bigger than myself. Eventually, I found it in Christ. I found a God that transformed people’s lives by healing and redeeming them. I knew that my purpose in Christ would never be finished. It was much more than a job or career. The purpose that Christ gave me is stitched into the fabric of my being and I have never been more joyful to serve.
Being a young man today can feel like you are David facing down Goliath. It feels like the odds are against you in your spiritual life, but God can offer you so much more. The three things that college age men are lacking today can make the difference. We need to know what our identity is as men, we need a community of other brothers in Christ to help us through, and we need righteous purpose. These are just some of what God can offer you that will change your life as a man.
Bio: Kiley Curtis is the men’s intern at the Raiders for Christ campus ministry at Middle Tennessee State University. His primary role is shepherding the men. “College ministry is my passion because this is the biggest transition in many people’s entire life and it is a spiritual battleground.”