Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Redefining "Hottie"

A comment from Nate has made me realize that although I say I value real men, I often take notice first of the "pretty" ones. You know, the ones with chiseled, symmetrical features and riveting eyes... The ones who can do justice to good tailoring and sweaters of almost all kinds. I mean, hey, this is the girl who had a crush on a cute soccer player for almost all of high school. (But in my defense, he did seem to have a heart of gold. Well, as much a heart of gold a boy who isn't a Christian can have. And I don't think he was one at the time.)

Real men...really valuable real men, that is...cannot always be detected by the appearance-meter. Take the example of Saul and David. (Yep, the guys from the Bible.) In the HCSB, King Saul is described as "impressive." In fact, "there was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else" (1 Sam. 9:2). But what sort of person was he? Well, his speech and his behavior before being chosen the first king of the Israelites should clue you in. When Samuel told Saul that he is the man that all of Israel wants for their king, Saul replied, "Am I not ... from the smallest of Israel's tribes and isn't my clan the least important of all the clans of the Benjaminite tibe? So why have you said something like this to me?" (1 Sam. 9:21). And then when Saul was to be presented to the Israelites, they could not find him: he had hidden himself (1 Sam. 10:22). Throughout the rest of Saul's life and his kingship, he rebels against God, fearing for his life and his pride rather than trusting the One who put him on the throne in the first place.

In scrambling to keep what was never yours to lose, you will certainly lose it. (Such paradoxes are rampant in God's kingdom!)

A true, real man knows who he is and is neither ashamed nor arrogant. He is humble. He knows that any greatness he has or achieves comes from and is because of God. And it's God's greatness that shows through him, actually. He knows he is a vessel, but not just any vessel---a prized one, though made of clay. This humble, trusting confidence allows him to lead others without bullying, to draw out others' strengths without fearing for his own diminishing, and to stand for truth and for the one true God. He knows that human beings cannot jeopardize his soul, so he does not prize his life, though he is a good steward of all that God has entrusted to him.

I believe this kind of man can be found in the city, in the suburbs, and in the countryside...defend which zone you like. I believe this kind of man can be found at any age. Jane Eyre (of the same-titled book) tells Mr. Rochester that his advantage of years more than hers is only such if he has made good use of that time. (She is 18; he, 36.) And he admits he has not. It is the use of the resources, gifts, abilities, situations, opportunities, and so forth that a man has made that forges his character.

And yes, character can show on the face and in the body. The "ugliest" person, male or female, is transformed by the radiance that shows on the face...from being with God and being transformed internally by Him. But one must look with the eyes of God to see this transformation. Darkness does not understand light. In fact, darkness despises the light.

Saul chose darkness. He chose to half-obey God or to rebel against Him, as if he Saul knew better how to do things. David sought God and desired to please Him. He wanted to live in the light. He had done so since childhood, and this heart for Him was what God saw in David that would make the boy a great king.

When Samuel the prophet was sent to anoint Saul's replacement, Samuel first noticed one of David's brothers, Eliab, who must have been good looking and tall and strong. God instructed Samuel: "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7.) [Note: In Hebrew thinking, the "heart" is the seat of the will, the emotions, the mental processes...not just the feelings, as we think of it today (which is inaccurate anyway, since our thoughts and emotions proceed from the brain).] God knew that His choice was still in the fields with his flock...being responsible, which is one of the prerequisites for leading people.

{Sidebar: OK, I just gotta say I'm falling in love with our new translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible®. That's what I'm using for this post.}

Samuel has Jesse send for his youngest son, and when David arrives, God tells Samuel to anoint him. The HCSB words the description of David thusly: "He had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance" (1 Sam. 16:12).

I'd say that's a man any woman would be proud to have as her husband. He wrote poetry and was intelligent. He was a strong, capable warrior. His heart bent toward God. OK, he did go rather wild with the women...how many wives did he have? Yeah, he wasn't perfect. But God gives people second chances. And more...


So where are the warrior poets? What do they look like? What are their personalities like?
Well, some are talkers; others are not. Some seem to light up a room the minute they walk in; others are more reserved. Some love the open spaces of the countryside; others dig the city life. But you know them by the way they handle themselves and others...in their unique ways.

One guy I know could deliver the intellectual smackdown on top of anyone's head, but he doesn't. He restrains himself. He volunteers. He never meets a stranger. He gives great hugs. I'd say he's a P31 man if I ever did meet one, and the girl that catches him is one blessed female.

Another guy I know is a stay-at-home dad with a great sense of humor and ability for tellin' a fine yarn or...50. He fiercely defends the honor of his wife, delights in his son's antics, and does all kinds of interesting things to fortify his home.

Yet another was honest with me about his situation...warning me to guard my heart with him.

A few other guy friends encourage me about my future aspirations and compliment me on my gifts and talents. They take the time to do it.

One guy I know is passionate about what is best for children in teaching them the Bible and the things of God.

A man from my church who also works here where I do is phenomenal at responding to customer complaints. He does so with grace, gentleness, and restraint...but also firmly communicating the truth.


So many unsung heroes are out there, going about their lives without the applause of fans, without appreciation from friends or family. They aren't hanging their heads in self-pity and defeat, thinking they'll never be more than the worms they are now. No, they are doing what they can with what they have and trusting God will make each one of them a warrior in His army for truth and beauty.


Give me a man who embodies the qualities of Jesus, David, Daniel, Moses, Abraham...in the particular way God has designed the mixture to be in him. That man is the true hottie.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

True masculinity is synonymous with Christ-likeness.

Jesus was "The Man" in more ways than one.

You're wise beyond your years, young lady. You'll make someone a fine wife and if you continue on this path, you'll most certainly be rewarded with a fine husband.

Matthew 6:33

Anonymous said...

Elena,

Great insights into what a man should be. I agree with you that a Christian man ought to be those things.

Most are not, even the ones who are trying their best. A Christian women I know told my sister and her daughter (they are the same age and are friends) a piece of advice. She warned them not to spend their time at college looking for boys with the same maturity in Christ that there fathers had (both were good men) rather to look for men with good harts and a willingness to grow in Christ. She understood that boys aren’t as mature as men who have spent 30 or 40 years as serious Christians, but they can become that with time.

The men from the Bible you mentioned were noted for their outstanding relationships with God only after they had spent years in training and disappointment. Jesus being the exception, He perfectly fulfilled God’s will for Him at 33 and died. Of course he stayed single too, humm might be something in that.

No such thing as the perfect Christian man or woman. Best to get a good one with the same goals and desires for life, that you have, and work on it in the Lord.

Res Ipsa

Arielle said...

Good advice, Res Ipsa, good advice!