The modern man, the New York Times tells us, does not own a gun and never will own a gun (#25), yet he sleeps closer to the door so that he can defend his wife from a home invasion (#16). This list of 27 characteristics of an ideal man of the 21st century is mostly bizarre. This man is expected to own a melon baller (#17). I have nothing against melon ballers or men who use them, but I began to wonder whether if the ideal man is actually a woman. He is expected to cry and cry often (#26), but also to project confidence in all occasions (#2). He’s also expected to know his wife’s shoe size (and which brands run big or small). One woman retorted: “If my husband knew my shoe size without asking, I’d be mighty suspicious.” As men (and women), we’re constantly facing societal pressures to be this or be that. There’s nothing wrong with being modern (really, we should be for the sake of the gospel), but as Christians we have to be intentional about letting God’s Word define the deeper parts of our identity. If we are merely a modern man or woman, we are arbitrary constructions of society’s preference. Our confidence doesn’t come from machismo or pretending, but in our unshakable identity as God’s children. God himself is stands as the ideal for both men and women.

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