Our prison class on Authentic Manhood draws on Stu Weber’s book, Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart: Bringing Strength into Balance. Biblical masculinity includes a delicate mix of being a king, warrior, lover, and friend. All Christians (male and female) need to grow in these Christ-like qualities in Christ-like ways and balance these roles as each situation requires. These character traits honor God and bring peace and tranquility to our marriages, families, churches, communities, and nation. In many people, one or more of their personal pillars is out of balance or totally collapsed. Living Jesus’ way (by His grace and for His glory) is the best way to love our wives and prepare our children for their future service to the Lord and their neighbors. These Four Pillars are needed also for single men also to be effective for Jesus.
1. The King leads with integrity and righteous energy, providing for others and loving what is right. King David (in his better days) was this kind of leader who others wanted to follow. He prays: “May integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope, Lord, is in you.” (Psalm 25:21) That’s a good prayer for all of us to pray. Jesus is the King of mercy and grace to us, so we must follow His holy pattern in whatever spheres of leadership His assigns us. He is not only our Lord and Savior; He is also our perfect Model and Example. Christ commands us repeatedly, “Follow me,” urging us to imitate Him in everyday life.
2. The Warrior fights for what matters most, marked by courage, initiative, protecting, and persevering. Prov 31:9 says: “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Jesus battled against Satan when tempted in the wilderness and at the cross. Christ wasn’t a wimp and He purged money changers from the temple courts twice (John 2:15, Matt 21:12). All believers must fight the good fight with righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, taking hold of the eternal life to which we were called (1 Tim 6:11,12). “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3,4) These are the right battles to fight.
3. The Lover shows tender, sacrificial care for others and is sensitive and affectionate in appropriate ways. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” (1 John 3:16). Without love, men are critical, harsh, and demanding to wives, children, and others. Or they can be cold and withdrawn, disconnected, detached, and isolated. It’s sad but true: Selfish and unloving men are to blame for most of the world’s problems. We must not go along with the crowd.
4. The Friend pursues character-shaping friendships and and connects with other men. Jesus is the Friend who loves at all times and sticks closer than a brother, especially in hard times (Prov 17:17; 18:24). A true friend is “others centered”, loyal, accountable, encouraging, and fun be with. Lone Rangers are dangerous. All Christians need others to help carry our burdens and celebrate life’s great moments with us, who will sharpen us as iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17).
Weber makes the case that wise men learn to practice these different aspects of manhood, each at the right time and in the right way. We never get this right without a growing personal relationship with God the Father adopting and forgiving us; Jesus the Son saving, helping, keeping, and loving us; and the God the Holy Spirit comforting, counseling, and empowering us for Christ-like living.
Please pray for the men attending our 36 week class at Jester III Prison. Ask the Lord to give salvation to the unconverted, His growth in Christ-likeness for Christ’s followers, and His enabling the believers to reach out to and serve others for Jesus’ kingdom in prison and when they are released. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)