I was watching a show on the television the other day, and there were a group of women on this particular show that went on and on about their idea of what a “real man” was. At first I laughed at their description of a herculean alpha male with the mentality of Conan the Barbarian, but with the romantic appeal of a modern day Romeo. As I listened to their descriptions, I became very interested in the fact that in all their descriptions and details, not one was about anything that truly defines a man in God’s eyes. I looked back at my life and thought of where my ideas of how to be a “real man” came from. I began thinking through my list of men I wanted to be like growing up: movie stars like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, as well as athletes like Peyton Manning and Michael Jordan.
Now you may be thinking, “What young man doesn’t do this,” and you see that is exactly where the problem lies. Men are held to the highest standard ever today, we live in a society that measures manhood on the size of his wallet, the beauty of his wife, the size of his house, his skill in the bedroom and the horsepower in his car. While the content of his character, his devotion to God, and his service to his community all go completely unnoticed. This is occurring daily without any seeming hope of change. Even though many of us wonder why men struggle so much in today’s society, but it is simply because their hearts are set on pleasing the societal notion of what a “real man’ is. Today I want to turn this stigma upside down and go to the ultimate source of wisdom (The Holy Scripture) and share some of what God’s Word describes as a Real Man.
A real man is a man of courage.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
He is not afraid to do what a real man ought to do. He is not afraid to love his Lord, cherish his wife, nurture his children, be excellent in his work, be faithful in his service, or be vulnerable with his friends. And he does this all before a watching world, unashamed of his actions.
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3
He doesn’t take himself too seriously. As he gets older, he laughs more. He learns to let little offenses go. In fact, bigger and bigger offenses seem smaller and smaller in his mind. He realizes people are weak, and he himself is far weaker than he first thought. He seeks more advice, and he doesn’t always accept the first solution to his problem as the best solution.
A real man is a man of commitment.
You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. – Deuteronomy 13:4
He has consciously decided to set aside his personal, selfish goals and asks how he can live for Christ. He has decided to make four commitments of a kingdom builder. A kingdom builder commits to build the kingdom (Matt 28:18-20). A kingdom builder commits to tend the culture (Gen 1:28). A kingdom builder commits to love other people (John 13:34-35). And lastly, a kingdom builder commits to love the King (Matt 22:37-38).
A real man is a man of balance.
1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
He loves God without neglecting to serve him. He cherishes and nurtures his family without neglecting to work hard to provide for them. He enjoys each day as a gift from God without neglecting to provide for retirement and the risk of early death. He gives his employer a full day’s work without neglecting to save enough energy to love on those who he returns home too.
Oh how I long to obtain all these things! When I hold myself accountable to these standards, I have woefully failed. My friends the ultimate example of a role model is not John Wayne or a super hero, rather it is found in our Redeeming Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter tells us,
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. – 1 Peter 2:21-23
Only Christ can take ordinary people and use them for extraordinary purposes.
May we grow as men of God! May we be more than just a culture of spectators, but a culture of disciples!