Perhaps one reason why authentic manhood is even a topic of discussion is because we know that it is possible to be inauthentic. We all experience this in some way, in ourselves, and in others. So why do men live inauthentic lives at times?
Mike Haddorff, director of Christ in the Rockies, says that men have wounds that cause them to construct a second self, a false persona. “We are brought into this world as a true personality,” says Haddorff, “in the course of life we develop a false personality of who we think we ought to be.”
Haddorff believes that we create the false persona to compensate for the wounds and that the false persona is separate from who God has meant us to be, our real self. So if we aim to live authentically, how do we access the real self? What is the process of getting beyond the false self?
Lose to Gain
The world will tell us that we are more if we do or if we have more. This could be status, money, possessions, or whatever else. It is all about being, doing, or owning more. “I believe authenticity comes by losing,” says Haddorff, “If we allow ourselves to lose, it is the application of faith. Only a fool would do that outside of faith in something greater.”
If it is true we spend a good chunk of our lives constructing a false self and that we live through a false persona for much of our lives, then it is perhaps a small wonder that we feel as if we are losing something, even a part of ourselves, when the false self is recognized as something foreign, something to be removed.
“Authentic manhood,” Haddorff says “is the process of transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can become healed.” Haddorff explains that the process of becoming healed is always a death-like experience. It is done through facing the wounds. It is painful but ultimately it leads to freedom. “It feels like falling,” he says, “it requires faith to fall. We want to keep catching ourselves but we find out that Christ will catch us.”
Identity in Christ
Facing our wounds and realizing the false persona we have built to cover our wounds can be a long and difficult journey; but by putting our faith in Jesus and relying on the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, we will be lead to freedom.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
Paul explains that the old has passed away and the new has come. So we know that the kingdom of God is not only a future reality, but that it has already broken into the present. We have the opportunity for transformation now.
If we are to pursue authentic manhood, we must go to the source, Christ. We must discover who he is. We must live in relationship with him and learn who we are to him. Our real identity is, and has always been, found in Christ.