Last article I was going through Chad Howse' blog post on the 21 Laws of Manliness while using the life of the biblical Joshua as a fantastic example of manliness. If you haven't read that post, I highly recommend that you do – or at least read the first 8 laws on Chad Howse' blog so that you're all up to speed on what we're up to.
So why would I spend two posts (possibly more) on these 21 laws of manliness and the guys that embodied true manliness in the Bible? Because I believe what it means to be a man in today's society has either been watered down, eroded or blown way out of proportion.
Our actions, our attitudes and our relationships may feign manliness physically or emotionally, but like any good woman will tell you, true manliness comes from an internal assurance – a virtuous and steadfast heart. That's why today's post is going to be focused on another example of manliness in the Bible – possibly one that is a little more relatable than the beastliness of Joshua who conquered a whole country for his people.
On a personal note, I've loved the example that David gives us, because unlike the unstoppable hero Joshua – David made some pretty serious mistakes that only a man could make, but he was still called 'a man after God's own heart', and I believe that this is the key to cultivating a healthy expression of what it means to be a man. So with all that said, let's dig into these remaining laws of manliness and see how David applied them. Funnily enough, nearly all of these laws are matters of the heart. It's the internal man that makes up the core of who we are.
9. Practice kindness, but not weakness.
One of my favourite examples of David's character is when he pays a visit to his nemesis who was wanting his head. King Saul knew David was destined to be king, but he was so jealous of David's manliness and potential for greatness that he sought to kill him. While David was on the run and Saul was in pursuit, they find themselves in the same cave – and while Saul was taking a leak, David creeps up behind him...and cuts a bit of his cloak off before openly confronting him a little later.
David's buddies pointed out that this was the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, but David replied, 'The Lord forbid that I should kill his appointed one.' David knew the difference between kindness and weakness, and he trusted that God would bring to pass what he had promised as long as David honoured his God and his King while he waited in line. David didn't pass the opportunity to confront Saul though, thus asserting his strength and assurance as a man in line to be king.
10. Be just and fair
Of course, Saul and all of his sons did end up dying on the battle field, making the way for David to be crowned king. However, David wanted to be just and fair to Saul's family that should have inherited great provision and position. He ended up tracking down Mephibosheth, one of Saul's grandsons – and he gave him all the property and title that he should have received as a member of the royal family. Even after Saul's death, David still wanted to honour Saul's family – and manned up enough to give justice to his grandson.
11. Never turn a blind eye to injustice
Never walk past a fellow man or woman in need, if you can help. Well, as above really...did I mention that Mephibosheth was also a cripple who would have otherwise spent the rest of his life begging? We need to keep our eyes open to injustices and be willing to stand against them –even if no one else has the guts to support our decision.
12. Read often. Read everything
Finding an example of David doing this is a little tougher, but as a King, he would have spent plenty of time reading about his people's history – not to mention a lot of the language he used in his Psalms had to come from somewhere. A widely read man will be able to contribute greatly to conversations and society at large as he will not be biased or misinformed in his decisions.
13. Unplug weekly
David was great at this. He would purposefully spend time alone with God just so that he could sit and reflect. To quote Howse, 'We, as men, need silence. We need to reconnect with ourselves, our Maker, our purpose, values and beliefs'. Although David didn't have Facebook, he sure had enough kingly duties to keep him occupied. Like David, we must know when to retreat, and unplug.
14. Laugh daily, especially at yourself
This is a great law, especially for our day and age. Joy is a lost art, in my opinion, and despite all the tragedy that overcame David's family later in life, he still cultivated a joyful heart (at least that's the feeling I get when I read some of his Psalms). While, I don't know of any examples where David laughed at himself...it's all about being secure in who you are to the point where it doesn't matter if you end up being the butt of a joke...
15. Don't live on the Internet
Umm, yeah...David didn't have this problem. The point being...live in the real world. Invest in face-to-face relationships instead of virtual ones.
16. Be chivalrous
This art is almost dead due to man's seeming inability to think selflessly and the rise of feminism which has effectively muddied the water of what's acceptable in today's society. Again...David doesn't have too many examples of this recorded, but chivalry is (once again) a matter of the heart. It shows respect and honour to the fairer sex, and is fundamental to the role of being a man – it fits right in with our 'protect and provide' instincts. Just because women want to be treated 'as equals with men', doesn't mean we should treat them 'like men'.
17. Have at least one grand adventure
David's military conquests could be considered slightly more than a grand adventure – but the idea here is not to let the fear of the unknown limit your life's experience. I challenge you to read 2 Samuel and count the amount of times David could have let fear talk him out of doing something beastly...but didn't let it.
18. Speak with your actions, not with your mouth
I can't help but feel that David was quite demonstrative when it came to his relationship with God. When he wanted to praise God, he danced around with abandon. When he was truly repentant about a major mistake he had made, he demonstrated his remorse in action. Talk is cheap, but what God – and the important people in our lives want to see is if we have to resolve to put our actions where our mouth is. As a man, this is a standard you will be measured by. Let's not be found wanting.
19. Don't chase money, find meaning
David certainly found meaning in his life. Not in his riches, military conquests or his legacy, but in his relationship with God. It's the things that last beyond the here and now that actually attribute meaning to our lives...not stuff or things. Invest in relationships, invest in who you are as a person...you're identity needs to be in who God wants you to be, not the stuff you have.
20. Be the best at what you do
David is considered to be the best king that Israel ever had. Why? Because he was a man after God's own heart. He never stopped pursuing God, and he rarely 'got comfortable' where he was at in his life. As men, we should always seek to be better and better at who we are and what we do. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward.
21. Make the best out of every situation
This one is key. We will always be faced with challenges. As men, as leaders, others will look to us to see how we respond to adversity. David led a band of men long before he was king, yet his ability to lead his men through hardship, through being hunted and through impossible battles earned David the most loyal bunch of guys that ever walked on the earth (in my opinion anyway). Optimism will inspire others around you and rally your own spirit to take on life's toughest challenges and emerge a better man.
Be a man after God's own heart. I challenge you to examine the Psalms, and take a peek through David's story in 1 & 2 Samuel, and see if you can pull out some more laws of manliness.
*21 Laws of Manliness by Chad Howes
Blaine Packer is a graduate of Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies who is passionate about media and mission. Currently residing in Launceston, Tasmania, Blaine is involved in both media and local ministry work at Door of Hope Christian Church.
Blaine Packer's previous articles may be viewed atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/blaine-packer.html