How could I be a ‘child’ and a ‘Man’ at the same time? This question haunted and perplexed me for weeks.
To be a Man is to be strong, show perseverance, be independent, bold as a lion, unwavering in the face of pressure, an over comer, consider great & weighty matters, withstand great pain, a defender, goal oriented & not passive.
To be a child is to be weak, dependant, quiet, not ambitious, vulnerable, able to be hurt, defenseless, trusting, simple in their view of the world, needy and basically the exact opposite of adult masculinity.
Some places scripture teach us to ‘be a man’, ‘put away childish things’, and ‘to be bold and be strong’ with a ‘face like flint’. Then other places in scripture teach us, ‘unless you change and become like a child you will not enter the kingdom of heaven’, or ‘my soul is like a weaned child, my soul is like a child within me’.
Which one is it? How are we to be -adult men or little sons?
One day while I pondered these things I listened to the Jason Upton album ‘remember’. It starts off with a cut where during the song he rebukes a tornado with reports from that concert where an actual physical tornado desipates at God’s rebuke through Jason. See more about that event here:
That is power! Jesus rebuking the sea, telling the disciplines to stop being afraid. One of his followers rebuking a tornado at God’s command and God’s power being displayed. That is masculine.
Then later in the same album he is babbling like a little baby in the song lullaby ‘dada, adad, dada’ with many men in the audience crying out ‘I love you daddy!, I love you daddy!’. Then the album ends with Jason acting like a child ‘Daddy, come get me. I want you to play with me again. I tag you, your it’ on a song called fly where angels come and join in the song. You can here about that here:
What a great object lesson on this tension being a ‘MIGHTY Man of God’ yet being an embarrassing child before our Daddy.
I was still haunted for a final answer to my question. How are we to be -adult men or little sons ?
I prayed…Jesus show me, Jesus teach me.
Then I read in a Bible commentary on being child-like the following
“Was Jesus like a child? In every way, Yes though he was also the perfect example of a mature man. He knew all about sin, yet he never sinned. He knew every emotion, yet he never gave into lust, temper, envy, hate and so on. He had all wisdom available to him, yet he spoke with simple words & told small colorful stories. He drew people to himself b/c he was gentle & kind. This vast power was used not in violent acts but in healing and restoring.
Jesus was the supreme child”
The answer to the riddle, the tension is Jesus himself. 100% man, 100% child. The tension held in perfect balance.
Matthew 11 is a great example of both natures- declaring bold judgement on arrogance, yet offering help to the burdened saying of himself ‘I am gentle & humble in heart’.
Jesus is childlike- I only do what Daddy is doing, say what Daddy is saying, giving deference to his father, gentle, humble
Yet Jesus is also Masculine intellectually sparing with the best & brightest, showing Bravery in the garden-not my will but yours be done, strong & calm in the midst of false accusations by Jewish leaders, unwavering in his commitment to do what was right even after his closest friends reject him, zealous for his Father’s house, cause and heart
May the men who read this recover the child likeness our Father would love to restore in us- Ps. 131.
As a wiser, dear brother shared with me. Being a husband starts as a son. Being a father starts as a son. Being a man of God starts first as being a beloved son in their Daddy’s arms.
As you let go of your grasp of what being a man is. Hold on to being childlike with your father you will begin to find the child like trust of Jesus as well as the masculine divine courage of Jesus.
In essence you’ll be becoming more like Jesus the perfect childlike Son, Father, Husband and Feirce Man.
Ed Cole had it right all along “Real manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.”