What's The Definition Of A Real Man? (A Short Study)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
There was a time when people had some idea of what it means to be a man. There was no doubt in a person's mind what that word meant. A man was one that provided for his family and supplied all their needs as God empowered him. His duties included loving and securing his wife, providing for her needs and also to aid her in her duties as wife and mother. His role as a husband/father was irreplaceable.
We live in a day and age where people are afraid to fit into one definite role in society. Women do not want to be pigeon-holed into being someone's maid and sex slave. Men do not want to be pigeon-holed as a chauvinistic, uncaring brutes that subjugate women. Gender roles that were clearly specified by God are now muddied and devalued by a society that is redefining what it means to be a man or woman; changing its meaning. Even the terms "man" and "woman" have been changed to "male" and "female" as if humans are now just reclassified animals.
It is no wonder men are confused. The man that tries to fulfill his purpose as a man is belittled and berated, called an archaic stereotype. No little boy has a clear idea of what constitutes a real man. They see men as whiny, no-nothing, couch sitters that burp and fart their way to what they want, with their women acting more like mothers to them than wives, using and outsmarting them at every turn.
When you read the Bible you can see the men that God recognized as being real men. They were not perfect and made mistakes but you can see the principles that governed their lives, how they loved their woman and children, how they drew strength from God to accomplish great and mighty things.
The Bible's definition is clear, despite society's attempt to amend and bury the truth about a man's role in the family and in society in general.
I remember when your dad, was a very young man
He said to me, "Dad, I think I've a plan,
To do what's important, and make me some change
Now listen to me dad, don't think so strange,
I'll go into business, and sell me some stuff
And I won't stop selling, 'til I've made enough
Money. Because it's the most important thing
And all of the happiness, that money brings."
I said to him, "Really? Is that what you think?
I said to him, "Son, put down that drink!"
He said, "But dad, I need to know why,
I need this water, my throat is so dry!"
I said, "Son, what would you say
If I told you that you're not drinking, for the rest of the day?
And then tomorrow, you again come to me
And you get no water, and still be thirsty?
You see son, money never, ever, comes first
Here swallow this dollar, to quench your thirst."
"Then Grandpa, what did daddy do?
Does he get some water, when the story's through?"
The old man took a long pause, and then,
Began to tell the story again.
I remember my boy, began to cry,
And I almost gave in, but I didn't, and I
Waited 'til he was listening real close
And I told him that, I loved him the most,
But he would have to understand
So he could grow up, to be a real man.
"Please Dad," he begged, "I need it please!"
Then I smiled at him, and got on my knees,
I said, "Listen to me son, to what I say
Learn this lesson now, learn it today,
Do you feel how much, you need that drink,
The water so cool, as it runs from the sink?
That's how much you, need to need Jesus
Because it's the love of God, that totally frees us,
So you can have the power, to be a real man
Do you think that you can do that? do you think that you can?"
"I do grandpa!" the little boy said
He had jumped in the story, in his father's stead,
"I know you can," I said in a voice so glad
"You know something son? You're a lot like your dad."
Real Men. There are few to be found. The grandfather in this story wanted for his son and then his grandson to be real men. He knew that every opportunity needed to be utilized and this story only tells about one of the many occasions that this man of God used to teach his children because he loved his family and took his responsibility as father seriously.
The definition of a real man can be given in five principles:
Principle 1. A real man is one that lives his life actively connected to the Lord.
"Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forevermore." (Psalms 86:11-12)
"By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." (1 John 4:13)
The real man sees himself as immersed into the body of Christ, literally connected to God. He is constantly aware of that connection and works hard to solidify its reality in his life. Though the enemy tells him that he fights his battles alone, he knows that in fact God is with him. Indeed, if all forsake him, Jesus will not. He knows that the path that God calls for him to follow may not be understood by many people and even those close to him, may not understand. But like Abraham of old, he simply believes and obeys.
The grandfather in this story realized by the statement of his son that the connection between he and his God needed to be strengthened. He knew that his son had received Christ as Savior because he himself had led him to Christ a few years before. The world is strong and hard to fight when you're young. Powerfully written music and commercials on TV create plausible illusion that money is the all-important thing. The World would have you to believe just enough to get your eyes off Jesus. The reality of God's presence is stronger than the World (if the young man can remember God's connection to him and desire it at all times). Desiring Jesus as one would a cool cup of water when one is parched and desperate is the type of focus that is unbreakable.
There was an illustration in Scripture similar to this story, and that was Jacob and his ungodly brother Esau. Jacob could have asked Esau, "What is your heart's desire?" Esau's answer would have been, "My desire is not for Messiah, my focus is on my belly!"
Now reader, let me ask you. Where is your focus? your heart's desire? Are you a real man that actively experiences his connection with the Lord or are you a person tossed by the pursuit of your own desires?
Principle 2. A real man stands on the solid foundation of God's Holy Word and will not allow his feet to be moved.
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." (Psalms 119:1)
"I will behave wisely in a perfect way, oh when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." (Psalms 101:2)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
The real man knows that the one thing that will never lie to him is God and the Bible. He knows that even his own reasoning, at times, will be faulty. Friends will lie to him or be misled. His environment, the World, will work to destroy him and all that he holds dear. But the real man will be unmoved because he works within a relationship with the Lord. His power comes from God. His thinking has been molded in the Word and comes from God. What can you do with a guy like this? Call him rigid or stubborn, or narrow-minded, but however you think of him it will not change his position of power in the Lord.
As the story unfolded, did you feel the grandfather insensitive, perhaps too harsh? Isn't it natural for young people to get ideas that are unsound? Maybe what should have been done is to talk to him, reason with him. Perhaps, but his grandfather, wishing to bring a sure foundation under his grandson's feet needed to get his attention and create for him a memory not soon forgotten. His grandson needed to know that a real man is not moved when the winds of the World's doctrine blow. His foundation will be solid only if the boy stands on who God is.
Are you, the reader, teaching this principle to your children? Are you saying to them that with Christ we are rich and powerful? Are you saying that all can be content with what God gives? Or are you showing by example that God can not be trusted? Are you panicking at the slightest shortage of money? Do you fail to thank God for everything and in your child's hearing?
Principle 3. The real man allows no other gods before him.
"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me." (Psalms 101:3)
"Now the works of the flesh are evident which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)
"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."(Galatians 5:24-25)
The real man has one thing in his sight, Jesus Christ. He does not turn to the right hand or to the left from where his eyes should be, on Jesus. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Let me tell you, it isn't! Satan sends "plausible delusion" and "reasonable lies" to mislead or distract him. He knows that there is nothing more important in his life than Christ; no issue, no person, no desire. Nothing more important.
As soon as the old man heard the importance that his son had attached to money, he knew that something had slipped his attention. He realized that gone unchecked, this attitude would eventually steal away his boy's blessings and maybe even his life. Such a simple illustration as a glass of cool water and a dry parched throat, may possibly have changed this young man in ways you can't even imagine.
Who do our children see is our God? Do we worship at the alter of money? or pleasure? or leisure? Do we worship our own bellies? Real men are aware that there are always eyes on them, impressionable eyes.
Principle 4. The real man realizes the stench of his own sins and "bathes" regularly.
"Have mercy on me O God, according to your loving kindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions." (Psalms 51:1)
"The Lord shall judge the peoples; judge me O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity within me." (Psalms 7:8)
"A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor." (Proverbs 29:23)
The real man is fully aware of who grants him his powers and abilities. He knows that he is but dust and even though the spirit be willing because of its connection to the Lord, his flesh is many times given to failure. This results in a condition known as "odour de extraordinaire." His prayers and worship, his service and praise that usually are a sweet savor before God, are now a stench in His nostrils. A real man knows his strength comes from God and that he has a propensity for sin. He is sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and does not enjoy being dirty. Immediately he confesses to God (agrees with God that what he has done is evil in His sight). He forsakes it (turns away, intending never to go back to it).
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
This grandfather knew the Scriptures and how he would pass on his sinful tendencies to his children. He was grateful to God for the truth of 1John 1:9. He himself had struggled with the importance of God, desire for Jesus and love of money. He knew that the value of his experience would have to be passed on, thus possibly sparing his child that same pain of trial and error.
Dear reader, how do you view your sin before your family? Do you ask their forgiveness when its effects slop on them? Do you look to teach your children from the lessons God has taught you? Are you humble before your family? Do you let your children see you "get right" before God? If you model to them how to ask forgiveness, they in turn, will think it natural to come to God with a humble heart.
Principle 5. He takes seriously his responsibilities and walk before the Lord.
"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:7)
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)
"And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I have hoped in Your ordinances. So shall I keep your law continually, Forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek your precepts." (Psalms 119:43-45)
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called." (Ephesian 4;1)
The saying, "Oh grow up!" is an adage as old as time. Some men see no need to grow up and mature in Christ because they are comfortable in the role society foists upon them. Political correctness and distorted feminism have caused irreparable harm to the vast majority of men. Many disregard their families in favor of the pursuit of money. They do not love their wives correctly, but merely have sex when the need arises. They allow the schools and others raise their children and choose to not teach them anything or share their trials so as to impart wisdom to their sons and daughters. Boys need to know how to fulfill what the Lord expects of men and girls need to know what a real man acts like so as to be able to see whether their suitors have any of the traits they need in a husband.
Families need both father and leader. Wives need a person of strength to bolster the family and secure her. She has needs that must be met and a real man is empowered by God to do just that. A call goes out to all men to attain the goal of being a real man.
Lead By A Father...
Since 2009 when I wrote this article, I have retired and have a little more time now to reevaluate my life without keeping to someone else's schedule and dealing with so much distraction. I discovered that I had a lot of growing up to do. I learned at this late date in my life that it is never too late, that one can learn new things, that one can make a difference with the last years of his life. Of course, being a man is predicated on a relationship with God. Each of the principles above are hinged on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. One of my promises to myself and my God is that I would offer the simple gospel every time I wrote anything. Being a man is also being consistent when you know what works and living a life with God sure works a whole lot better than living one by your gut instinct like movies and TV would have you believe.
I was introduced to Jesus in 1979, when it was explained to me about every man being a sinner. I really never thought of sin in the way it was presented. To me sin was imperfection not evil in the Lord's presence. But the more Bible I read, the more I realized that my "imperfection" included works of the flesh mentioned in the above Scripture. It included lying on occasion, and betrayal and lascivious thoughts in my mind. Now, I think I am a good man as far as "good" goes on this earth but that will not allow me into the holy presence of God. The Bible says that God will not allow unholiness in His presence. I had to make sure I could be declared holy to go to heaven, but how would I do that?
"God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
This was one of the first verses of the Bible read to me that day I accepted Jesus into my heart. It was a simple idea really but so profound I still am dazed at its depth to this day, and I guess I will be forever. God created man sinless but gave him free will. With this free will sin entered humanity. When the first man sinned, all humanity was still contained within him, and thus in all his children that were yet to be born. Nothing holy can be issued from a man who is a sinner, so all Adam's children were born sinners.
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
And this is the situation in which I found myself. It was like I looked into the mirror for the first time and saw what I really am. It was like I was a dirty pair of work boots. They look okay to wear in a filthy construction yard but not to a formal dinner. I had to be readied for the most formal dinner of all, the wedding supper of the Lamb. I would not be allowed in with my boots that had all the dirt and filth of my life clinging to them. Jesus' death not only cleans dirt (sin) off my shoes but gives me new shoes fit to go to dinner! It creates a whole new me!
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Here is the simple truth. God put on a man's body and came to earth. He spoke God's truth and sinning man killed Him for it. When he was nailed to the cross, God punished Jesus for my sin and He took my punishment for me. All I have to do is confess that I need Him to save me and turn my life toward Him to follow Him and He will make me into a new creature "in Christ."
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
A simple belief in the gospel which is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus along with an attitude of repentance for sin and turning to Christ is all that is required to call out to Jesus to save you.
You know you sin. You have known about Jesus' crucifixion... He wasn't down here for His health, but for yours! The cross hurt. They whipped him with the cat-o-nine tails that literally ripped most of the skin from His body. They nailed Him in such a way as to make Him have lift Himself up for every breath He took and He stayed there until He died. He could have come down off the cross but didn't. Why? because He loved you so much He wanted to pay for your sin that you inherited by just being born.
"Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus?" [To paraphrase: "I could ask My Father and He would send angels to get me out of going to the cross, but what of the Bible's teaching about what must happen?] (Matthew 26:53)
"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I received from My Father." (John 10:17-18)
If you don't take advantage of this offer, then you are saying you are willing to pay for your sin for the rest of eternity. Since there is no other way to pay that means you will be cast out of God's presence to be in hell, a place designed for Satan and his angels and not for you. Don't be a fool and simply take your chances when you get to the judgment. You know what He will say if you haven't received His Son.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
"Then He will say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)
"And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)
Be a man. Admit you need help. Call on God to save you. I promise, you will never be sorry you did. Pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinful man. I know that without You I will have to go to hell because You are the only way to heaven. Lord, I believe You came to earth to die. I believe You were buried but the grave couldn't hold You and You rose the third day. Lord, please forgive me of my sin and save me. I turn from living life my way and turn to You as the only way of salvation. I will follow You all the days of my life. Lord, Thank you for hearing me and saving me. I pray this in Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.