When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. – 1 Corinthians 13:11
WHEN I BECAME A MAN
There is a dramatic difference between boyhood and manhood. It’s not all that difficult to notice, because spiritual manhood is lacking in our world today. Men stand out. Men are different. Men are few and far between.
I’m not talking about pseudo-manhood that our society portrays in Hollywood that suggests that in order to be a man you have to blow things up, lift heavy weights, and sleep with multiple women.
I’m talking about being a real man. A mature disciple of Christ who can lead and love a woman.
When I was a child (not so long ago), I spoke like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child. While it was probably true of just about every area of my life, it was most clearly apparent in my relationships. I was a product of my culture. I wanted to date the hot girl. I wanted to be with the girl who made all the other guys jealous. I wanted everyone to talk about how attractive she was. I was willing to look past a number of shortcomings as long as she looked good enough.
Because I was a child.
In fact, I let physical attractiveness dictate my interests in dating. I knew that charm was deceptive and that beauty was fleeting. I knew that spiritual depth, emotional maturity, a fun personality, compatibility, and a heart seeking after Christ were more important. But in my heart, I didn’t care. I wanted to be with the hot girl. Because I was a child.
Time and time again I convinced myself that I was better off talking to the really pretty girl that I saw at the coffee shop or wearing borderline inappropriate attire at the gym instead of the girl who went to bed at 10:00 every night and got up early to memorize Scripture. Because I was a child.
I justified conversations with girls who were infant believers at best or open and aware unbelievers at worst because I found them attractive. I didn’t care that there was no real future with them. All I cared about was that they were appealing to the eye. Because I was a child.
I claimed to be looking for a wife. In reality, I was just looking for a good-looking girl to entertain me long enough for me to find the next one.
Praise God that he didn’t leave my relationships in my hands. Praise God for that. It was never going to end well for me. Because I was a child. But after years of frustration and disappointment, it was time for me to become a man.
God began to do a work on my heart. He began to work on my heart to turn me into a man. And when I became a man, I gave up those childish ways. I stopped speaking and thinking and reasoning like a child. I stopped letting the vanity of our culture shape the way that I looked at every female I came across. I stopped being interested in girls and started becoming interested in finding a woman. I stopped letting physical appearance be the barometer for how interested I was in a relationship. Because as a man, those childish ways of thinking had to become a thing of the past.
I’m now very happily married to an INCREDIBLE woman. She gets up earlier than I do and is in her Bible before I can even crawl out of bed. She has it all together while I struggle to survive the day. She challenges and encourages me. She is generous and caring and willing to serve and always thinking about anyone but herself. She is intelligent and friendly and athletic and funny and pleasant to be around.
My wife also happens to be very attractive. She’s easy to look at. But that is not the first thing you notice about her simply because she doesn’t throw it in your face. When I first met her at the gym, she was wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt and shorts that almost went down to her knees. She wasn’t accentuating her physical features with her clothes or flashing skin to get attention. Because she wasn’t interested in finding a child. She didn’t want a boy. She wanted a man.
She got me interested with her work ethic, her attitude, her friendliness, her smile, and her personality. She stole my heart with her heart for Christ, her spiritual discipline, and her emotional maturity. She is also physically attractive, and that’s important. But it is not the foundation of our relationship.
I find my wife very physically attractive. But that’s not why I love her. It’s not even why I became interested in her. None of that stuff defines her. At some point in the far-distant future, age will begin to rob her of the physical beauty that so captures my eye when I look at her. That’s part of life. But age can never rob her of her fear of the Lord. Age can’t take away her passion for serving. Age can never steal her willingness to love me in spite of my myriad of shortcomings.
I love my wife more than I ever thought possible. And I appreciate things about her that I never could have seen if I focused on her appearance.
I’m so glad that God didn’t let her meet me while I was still handling my relationships like a child. I know that I would never be with my wife if I hadn’t put away those childish ways.
Because the woman of my dreams wasn’t interested in finding a child. She wanted a real man.