Summary: We are called to grow spiritually from a boy to a man!
Study Taught at Mount Zion Baptist Church on July 25, 2018
Delivered by Rev. John Daniel Johnson
1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Hebrews 5:13-14, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Matthew 18:3, “And Jesus said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
Most countries have a “rite of passage” – a tradition passed down since the dawn of civilization.
In the ritual, the boy must pass a test, sometimes extremely painful or difficult, in order to become a man. He has to “pass” for his “right” to become a man. Hence the term, “rite of passage”. If he passes, he is now considered and looked up to as a man. Some countries even give the boy a spear and make him survive out in the wilderness and kill lions! In western civilization, these traditions are pretty much extinct.
Rites of Passage From Around the World
Naghol (Land Diving)
Land diving is done with vines instead of elastic chords and the objective is to come as close to death as possible. Performed by the Vanuatu people, the jumper’s goal is to brush his head on the ground. If he survives, he’s a man.
Hamar Cow Jumping
This rite of passage must be performed by men of the Hamar tribe in Ethiopia before they are allowed to marry. First, the young boy’s closest female friends and family chant while they are whipped by the men of the tribe. Afterwards, four castrated bulls are lined side by side, the naked boy runs across their backs, and voila…he’s a man.
Mentawai Teeth Sharpening
To the natives of the Mentawai Islands, beauty is extremely important. To beautify themselves, young female Mentawaians who have reached puberty sharpen their teeth with a rock and chisel, and file them down to points.
The scarification is heavily practiced by Sepik River tribes in Papua New Guinea as part of an initiation ceremony for men. This is only a small part of a ceremony that lasts weeks and includes public humiliation and is ridiculously painful. The elders of the tribe use razor blades to cut the young men all over their bodies in a pattern that closely imitates the rough skin of an alligator. They believe the alligator will then consume any semblance of a boy left in their bodies, and they will become men.
Bullet Ant Glove
Deep in the jungles of the Brazilian Amazon live the Satere-Mawe tribe. Young boys have to wear gloves filled with bullet ants with inward pointing stingers as they dance for 10 minutes without flinching. Unfortunately for the boys, the sting causes paralysis and throbbing pain for up to 24 hours.
Around the world, young Jewish boys and girls celebrate their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at age 13 and 12 in order to demonstrate their commitment to their faith and recognize that they are now responsible for following Jewish law. After the religious ceremony, a reception typically ensues to celebrate the young person’s hard work and accomplishment, as they have often spent weeks learning and preparing for this day.
In Western Culture, there are no tests boys must pass to prove they’re a man. Boys are no longer required to prove they’re emotionally, mentally, and physically strong enough to take on the world and survive without their mom’s help.
When we hit puberty, we change PHYSICALLY. Our bodies grow, we get hair on our chest, our voices deepen, our muscles grow and get more toned — we think we are a man. We develop all of the physical signs of being a mature man, BUT we all don’t MENTALLY become a real man.
Ultimately, our attitude, our knowledge (both spiritual and mental), and our speech is what separates real men from immature boys.
Your body doesn’t matter when it comes to being a REAL MAN. Some men are physically masculine and BIG guys – but when you get to know them, they’re immature little boys who haven’t grown up mentally. Other guys don’t look like they’re finished going through puberty BUT when speak to them and get to know them, you would think they’re 10 feet tall and lead armies of men. They’re not physically big, scary men, but mentally, they’re big scary men. Mentally, they’re mature, REAL MEN.