In the world that we live in today, we see a variety of people and personalities. As we grow and develop as men, often times our cultures developed us and transforms us into many types of men. As young men who trust in God, we quickly realize that the culture’s ideas of masculinity is often off kilter to what God’s word defines as a Godly man.
This week we are discussing the image of masculinity in our current world and how it compares to the definition of a Godly man. In order to delve into this heavy topic, I want to analyze the songs and lyrics of “Man Up.”
“Man Up” was release in 2011 from the 116 Clique, Which consisted of Reach Records label mates such as Lecrae, Tripp Lee, Sho Baraka, Derek Minor and Andy Mineo. The Album was accompanied by a film written and directed by Sho Baraka and it attempts to give an accurate depiction of a faith-based manhood in our current culture.
Man up Anthem: The album begins with the anthem of men who declare their love and relationships with the LORD. This is song brings proof that real manliness is found in God and manhood is fully developed when you trust God and follow in the path that God has for you. The lyrics to the song shows an accurate comparison to a culture that expects men to be drunkards, violent and womanizers as opposed to a man who loves God and loves people.
Looking over this album years later as well as seeing manhood in our culture, I believe that the messages in these songs are still relevant today. While the Hip Hop culture also has a variety of “anthems” of what is means to be a man, I see that the Hip Hop culture continues to create overly masculine men that cause more harm than good.
Authority: “If you can’t follow, you can never lead./…..A real man bows down to authority./” In the world we live in, especially within the Hip Hop culture, the men often display very dominate personalities, who the men are expected to be leaders who do not follow any other authority. For lack of better term, they blaze their own trail and they don’t need to be under the authority of anyone else. We are told that a “real man” bushes his way through with heartless acts and they create opportunities.
The truth is, in God’s view a real man is a man who leads a family, a business or an organization through living under the authority of those who are older and wiser than they are. In other words, a Godly man is called to be a leader within his community by he should be held accountable by his mentors and by God. Through scripture, we see that God calls men to be a leader within his family. That means that men are called to develop and lead their families as they follow God. As men follow follow, they lead their family to do the same.
Responsibility: Growing from a boy to a man is an amazing gift. It is also a Godly calling that should be taken seriously. It is common knowledge that as we grow into our adult roles, we tend to take on more responsibility in life; we fall in love, we get married. When we develop a career, we buy cars and houses. When we gain wisdom, we raise kids. These are the facts of life that contribute to our culture and our economy. Yet, real manliness means that as you grow into your adult role, you will also develop a reasonability for these things. For example, when a man marries a woman, he takes responsibility over the provision of that developing families.
The truth is, as men grow closer to God, they will treasure their responsibilities and they will take ownership of what God has given us. In other words, Whether it’s a family member or a job, when a man takes responsibly, he leads with wisdom and courage and he refuses to make excuses to his mistakes.
Envy: Envy is a dangerous seed to plant in our hearts. When we look at the world’s definition of manliness, it seems that envy is truly at the root of a lot of young men. It seems that young boys often look to those that are older than them and they often begin to want what the others want and what they have. In many cases, those within the Hip Hop culture often allow envy to drive them into their careers. That means that their envy becomes the driving force of their lives.
This is dangerous because when we are driven by envy often we make choices that could neglect our values and morals. As believers we are asked to trust God to use our talents for His glory and impact. That means that we trust God to expand our talents and reach the audience that we are meant to reach. If we envy those with a higher influence than ours, our minds are clouded by the desire to match some else’s skills and talent and we would not be able to focus on what God is doing in our lives and in our ministry.
Courage: “I walk in the confidence of ten men, only because my confidence is in him.” Confidence is a great thing to develop, but the question is, what does your confidence lie in? Often it seems that most men’s confidence relies on their own abilities or the amount of capital and property that can accumulate throughout their lives. This holds even more true more the Hip Hop culture. The men who lead the culture often brag about the extravagant lifestyles that they have and how they have obtained it.
While gathering property and capital is not bad, if the gathering of these possessions was solely to create envy in others, then it soon poisons the heart and develops a false sense of confidence. Yet, When our confidence lives in God then we are able to keep a pure heart toward the people and families that surround our daily lives. When our confidence is found is God, we can effectively lead our families and develop our communities.
Temptation: “My body’s not my mine, it’s yours.” Sex is one of the most driving presence in our culture. Within Hip Hop sex is often very overly exposed. Also, the use of sex is used to drive in spectators and participates. In a world of masculinity being developed outside of the family, the Hip Hop leaders show that their thirst for sex is insatiable and too often their sex drive is not contained within their marriage. They often brag about their sexual ventures with a variety of women.
The truth is, our sex drives is very powerful and it is very important that we develop a safe sex life that displays God’s plan. Our sex drive is meant to bring a male and female closer, not only a physical level, but a spiritual level. When our sex lives is expanded to various women with no care of feelings and connection, often we hurt ourselves as Well as those that we sexually engage with.
Repentance: In Hip Hop there is no repentance. Once an action is taken and acted out, there is no repentance for those actions. It is too often that masculinity is shown as tough guy talk. Toxic masculinity allow us to create a world where men can bully, harm and hurt anybody that they would like without any thought to the families that they are hurting.
The truth is, God understands that the world that we live in is broken and fully of wickedness, yet, God loves us regardless. God has shown us that we are broken and that we often make bad and hurtful choices that God does not approve of. God offers us forgiveness, but part of that forgiveness is handed to us when we turn away from our brokenness and our choices and turn over to God, which allows God to redirect our steps.
Good Hip-Hop is hard to find at times. Here's what I have found!