For some reason, unknown to me, biblical manhood or womanhood can be quite popular on Christian college campuses. This concept has been made popular in large part through the writings of John Eldredge and his wife in recent years. Small groups will go through a Bible study examining men or women of the faith. They will also seek out verses that will teach them what it means to be a real man or a real woman. Or so they assume.
Last year, I was a part of one of these very groups. And it was interesting. We studied Elijah in depth. And then we followed that up with Joshua, and finished it up with a few other Old Testament characters. I learned a lot from this study. Many of these people did some pretty amazing feats with the help of God. Some of them even killed people. These people were not perfect by any means. Should our goal to be like these saints even though they are still sinners or to be like the sinless One?
My biggest concern with it all is that all these studies surrounding biblical manhood never include Jesus. And that has me puzzled. Was Jesus not a man and thus not included? Was he a wimp because he died on the cross instead of fighting in the garden? Or was he too nice? He cared about women and outsiders and children. Sounds like a softy to me. Oh yeah, did I mention he cried once too? And yet, Paul calls us to be imitators of Christ. Not imitators of David or Elijah or Moses or Joshua or Daniel or anybody else. It makes me wonder if society’s view on what a man should look like has affected which characters we choose. Jesus would be a pushover in today’s society. Solomon or David might stand a fighting chance. Has Jesus been pushed to the back burner on account of men and women who want to fit into the society’s expectations?
If anything, go ahead and continue to become a biblical man or a biblical woman, while I continue to chase after being an imitator of Christ. Because as Christians, we must reflect the name that we possess.