I have been reading a very informative book about men by Richard E Simmons III, entitled “The True Measure of a Man.” In this book Simmons contents that “Men so often define themselves by what they do, who they know, or what they own. And when they do so, they unwittingly set themselves up for great confusion and failure in their personal lives.” Because of the economic downturn and the uncertainty in the work place many men are “living alone in their private worlds of self-doubt and fear. They live with a sense of powerlessness because they have come to realize that so much of what takes place out in the world is completely out of their control.”
The present cultural climate has caused men to question their significance. Simmons quotes pastor Tim Keller, who has observed that, “we are the first culture in history where men define themselves solely by performing and achieving in the workplace…there has never been more psychological, social, and emotional pressure in the marketplace than there is at this very moment.” When men find their identity and sense of worth, from someone outside themselves they are allowing others to help define their identity. So the question becomes who is our audience. Sociologist, Charles Cooley came up with the concept of the “looking-glass self.” The theory stated that, “A person gets his identity in life based on how the most important person in his life sees him.”
Simmons contends that in our society success has more to do with public image and the appearance of success than it does with the quality of our work and our character. “Success today is often divorced from real substance.” Rather then living lives of excellence, men desire to be successful in the eyes of others. “We now regard success as achievement plus proper recognition of our achievement. “Men would rather be envied for their material success than respected for their character ( Christopher Lasch). But what happens when we fail and are seen as not being successful in the eyes of others. It can be crushing to a man’s sense of self
Again who should be our audience. When men determine to have God be their audience they can be set free from the chains of performance orientation and the strong need for affirmation. They come to see that their identity is unstable if it is based on performance and looking for approval of others. Remember men, your self image, that image that you have worked so hard to cultivate is just that – your image of self. But a deep sense of personhood along with a sense of being is a gift of God. It is bestowed on those who trust in his mercy and grace.
Your worth as a person has to do with the value God places on your life. You were created for fellowship with God. Your value is not based on what you do but who you are. ” We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). What would happen if struggling, confused, and insecure men would make Jesus Christ the most important person in their lives? What if Jesus were the audience that men sought to please the most?
Could it be that there is some man reading this blog today who is caught in a dark, foreboding confusion because he is questioning his significance as a man. The bottom has dropped out of his career, with no clear future ahead. The good news is that this identity crisis could be the very event in your life that will drive you into the arms of a loving God, who wants to receive you home and declare that you are his beloved. Your significance is found in being a child of God. When you come home to a loving Father, you find new motivation to please him as your audience.