by Jonathan Daugherty
I realize that the title of this article might cause readers, especially men, to scratch their heads and wonder, Where is this headed? But I assure you I'm not trying to be "cute" or overly dramatic. Instead, I'm trying to invite men to embrace the glory of their God-given beauty, expressed through masculinity.
I was at a ministry leaders summit recently and a particular discussion emerged around the topic of differences between men and women, more specifically how women crave affirmation of their beauty. One man in attendance (who shall remain nameless) jumped in with a fair degree of passion to challenge the claim that this desire for affirming one's beauty was exclusive to women. He argued that all humanity, women and men, desire to be affirmed for their "beauty."
From there, everyone was quite lively, yet never incorrigible. I even jumped in to semi-defend the individuals pointing out the male-female differences. I was then directly confronted on my assertions regarding acknowledging, and embracing, my own beauty. After a few more minutes, the conversation shifted, but I was left wrestling with a truth wrapped in language I didn't like.
Beauty is not a term I readily associate with masculinity. It's a girl word. But it isn't an exclusive girl word, and that is what I was wrestling with; that beauty could be manly. Could God have made men beautiful, too? If so, how? And why?
As I have spent the past few days mulling over this idea that men possess beauty, I came across some Bible passages that resonated with this idea. Here are just a few:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psalm 139: 13-14, 17-18)
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
God is a Father who loves His kids and sees beauty in us from the day we were conceived; even before that day! Yet, too often, this beauty is not allowed to be celebrated in men, except in various perverted ways that strip him of his manhood (i.e. homosexual celebration of 'beauty'). But God does no such thing. He looks a man square in his eyes and declares, "You are precious to me, a beautiful son to Me. I find delight in you!"
I think where we tend to get hung up on this idea of men being beautiful is that we try to package God's affection for men in the same vehicle as His affection for women. In other words, men think God must use the same exact methods for speaking affectionately to them as He does to their wife or daughter or mother or, heaven forbid, mother-in-law. Thankfully, God is more personal than that.
My most tender moments of affirmation from God are not moments in which He tries to "draw out my female side." (By the way, I don't have a female side; I'm a man.) Instead, God affirms the beauty He placed in me as a man. He affirms my masculinity. Here is just one example of how God might affirm me:
Of course, God could say similar stuff to women, but I think He would do so in a way that highlights femininity. You see, we (men and women) are made in the image of God, so He is the only being with a male and female "side." He possesses fully all that comprises masculinity and femininity. We don't. We are male and female. Only together can we most fully reflect the image of our Maker.
Man, don't be fooled into thinking you must become less masculine to be more beautiful. You are a beautiful man, made by God to be the best man you can be. May you learn to embrace your masculine beauty, and shine brightly as a son of the King.
“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
(Ezekiel 16:8-14, emphasis mine)