“Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.”
The past couple months, I have taken to mentoring two young boys who are some sons of friends. And it has definitely been a personal adventure that has helped me to grow in my own spiritual journey and walk with God. It has definitely helped me to understand the difficulties of what it means to be a parent. And, quite honestly, looking at society, taking some time to invest in young men who don’t have a godly role model in their lives is EXTREMELY important.
C.S. Lewis writes in The Abolition of Man:
“It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat’, than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms (logical arguments) that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism … about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the ‘spirited element’. The head rules the belly through the chest—the seat, as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The Chest-Magnanimity-Sentiment—these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal. The operation of The Green Book (a book promoting relativism) and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests. … A persevering devotion to truth, a nice sense of intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of a sentiment… It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so. And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
Scripture is filled with the importance of teaching children. Especially teaching them God’s Word, and how it speaks to men and women respectively. C.S. Lewis calls men that have no morality or virtue “men without chests.” I’m speaking to men here alone, women have their faults as well, but I am definitely not qualified to speak on them. Men, the next generation of guys that come after us–it’s our responsibility to make sure we raise them to be the godly men that God expects us to be. There are expectations of us as followers of Christ to be spiritual leaders–in the home, church, and the world. And one of those expectations is to teach and invest in children.
Have you ever seen how a sword gets made? It starts with a bit of raw iron ore. And then the blacksmith melts it down, removes the impurities in the iron, and then lets it cool in a molded shape. The blacksmith then takes it and heats it back up–not to the point of melting it but to the point that he can take the hammer and beat it into a certain shape. This process of heating and cooling is a lengthy process and takes time, because if the blacksmith does it wrong or doesn’t take the time to forge the sword into the best quality possible what happens to it? The moment it enters into a battle and meets up with a sword that is properly made, the poor sword will shatter. By heating and cooling the sword and beating it with a hammer, the blacksmith makes this sword as strong as it can possibly be.
So it is with young men.
I quoted Proverbs at the beginning of this post that iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. A companion proverb to this is “bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
God is the blacksmith, we are His hammer, and the Bible is the anvil upon which the sword is rested upon while being forged and it is also the whetstone used for sharpening.
God being the blacksmith is obvious–He is the author of everything that exists in the world and is the creator, His stamp and handiwork is upon everything. The Bible is the anvil because it is the solid foundation that the sword must rest upon while God forges it. God’s Word as the whetstone is also what is used to help young men become sharper and stronger and more established in their walk with God. We, as more mature followers of Christ, are the tool that God uses and works through to help forge young men into the mature followers of Christ in the future.
But simply teaching it is not enough for young men, they must see the teachings in action by those who are teaching them. If we do not walk the walk that we are talking about, then we are, in the eyes of young men and boys, MEN WITHOUT CHESTS. And they will be as well when they grow older. And they will contribute to the disorganization of society and cause it to fall even further into chaos. Satan is an “agent of chaos,” to quote one of my favorite movies, and he wishes to make us so as well.
Instead, try to live up to be the opposite, and I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but if you can be Batman, then always be Batman. Still flawed, but holding true to what you believe and know to be right according to God’s Word. Be MEN WITH CHESTS.