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When Does One Become a Man?

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“When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

KnightEvery man and woman longs for significance. We want to live a good and meaningful life, to find love and fulfillment, and to have children who will do the same. God placed this desire in our hearts; He wanted these things for us before we did!

We also long for acceptance and affirmation from the two most significant people in our lives – mom and dad; but especially from our dads. For some reason his words mysteriously carry far greater weight than mom’s. But we live in a fallen world filled with broken relationships. Many of us go through life without ever being accepted or affirmed in any meaningful way.

However, we are not forsaken. God Himself steps in to provide us the acceptance and affirmation we need, often in surprising ways. And these experiences can become turning points in our lives; that moment when a mature self-awareness leads to decisive action that unleashes the potential of who we truly are. That is what Paul means in the two phrases, “When I was a child,” and “When I became a man.” A turning point has occurred. This is something God wants for each one of us to experience.

The phrase “when I became a man” could literally be translated “when I came into being a man.” Has that happened to you yet? Have you come into being a man, or are you – despite your age – still being a child? That question haunts men well into their senior years. 

“When did I become a man? I really want to know. Sometimes I wonder if I am. Can someone tell me so?

“Was it when I smoked a cigarette out behind the school? Was it when I joined the other guys and acted like a fool? Was it when I took a drink of booze and drove around the town? Was it when I made myself look big by putting others down?

“Was it when I scored the final play that gave our team the win? Was it when I finally got the “A” that made my parents grin? Was it when I had a hot date and we did it all the way? Was that when I became a man? Did it happen on that day?

“Was it when I pledged allegiance to the flag and fought a war? Was it when I came back home and wondered what the fight was for? Did it happen in the Chapel when I walked the wedding aisle? It seemed to for the moment – if we’re judging by my smile.

“Did it happen when my kids looked up one day and called me “Pop?” Or was it when I got the job, and made it to the top?

“So now I am a man; at least that’s what I’m told to say. But if I am, there’s just one thing that still gets in my way. If so, I have to ask it, and the question drives me wild – but, if I’ve become a man, then why do I still act like a child?”

(This post is a compilation excerpt taken from my new book, Released From the Prison My Father Built, ch.5, page 94, and 97)  Get Your Copy Today! 

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