What Does It Mean To Be A Man?

The secular world is trying to define manhood.  The world shows us conflicting images of what it wants a man to be.  It's no wonder that we're dealing with problems as a society when it comes to identity. What does the Bible say about what it means to be a man?
What Does It Mean To Be A Man

I recently had a discussion with my son about what it means to be a man. At the time the best I could come up with was that the difference between a man and a boy is responsibility. That’s a pretty limited definition of a man, but lucky for me the Bible has more to say on manhood.  After all, Biblically-based manhood isn’t all that different than the definition of a leader.  I decided to look more at what the Bible says about manhood so I could back have a more in-depth discussion with my son about it.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV

This scripture is often referred to on Father’s day because of the “act like men” reference.

A Man Is Always On Guard

As a man, we are husbands and fathers in our families. We are the protectors.  It’s our job to be on guard, but not just physically, we must lead spiritually. This often means watching what comes in and out of the home.

The first place we must guard as men are ourselves. Do you have content filters on your computer? Is your phone accessible by anyone in your family at any time? Would you want your kids to see your content history? These are questions that should have easy answers.  The reality is that our hearts are only as clean as the dirtiest things we expose our eyes to.

To be a man means taking responsibility for what comes before your eyes and subsequently those under your care. If you’re a father this might mean that you’re foregoing the binge session of the newest Netflix or HBO show.   Or like in my case, I decided not to play a new game because the developer chose to include completely unnecessary vulgar content.

The point is that as men we are responsible for what we allow into the home.  It starts with us.

A Man Does Not Waver From His Faith

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The scripture is one of the most popular, you could get signs for your house that have this scripture. As men, our families look to us for strength. When things go sideways, like many of us have experienced in 2020, our children and wives will want to know everything will be fine. You can only reassure them of this if your faith is firm.  If there was one good thing that came from 2020, it’s that believers across the world had their faith tested and strengthened as a result of the pandemic.

Have Courage

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficultyMerriam-Webster

The NIV version of this verse says, “have courage.”  In the book of Joshua chapter 1, God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” four times!   As men, we can have courage only if our faith is in Jesus.  As we’ve seen in 2020, the world can change almost overnight, but if we have faith we can face today and tomorrow’s fears with confidence in our Lord.   Manly men aren’t the ones that risk everything as they show in the movies, a manly man is the kind of man that has confidence in his God no matter what he faces.

Do Everything With Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT

In our overly feminized western world, telling a man to do everything with love sounds like the opposite of manly.  That’s really the problem, isn’t it?  The problem is that the secular world is trying to define manhood.  The world shows us contrasting images of what it wants a man to be from macho, womanizing heroes to men that want to become women.  It’s no wonder that we’re dealing with problems as a society when it comes to identity.

However, in order to be a man, we have to truly learn what it means to be a father and husband.   We might not have had good earthly examples of what the love of a father looks like or what a good husband does, but we do have a Godly example.  When I think of what a man who loves looks like I don’t think of a man who lets the world dictate who he.  I don’t think of a man showing love by letting others walk over him.   When I think of manly masculine love, I think of a man that had all the power in His hand and laid it down and stretched out His arms (on the cross) willingly to show love. A man that put aside His own desires for others.

What does it really mean to be a man?

Having a blog post or a sermon with a few points is nice but what does it really mean to be a man?   It turns out my answer to my son wasn’t that far off.   Being a man is about responsibility.    Being a man is about being responsible for your own faith,  leading others in theirs by your example, and being willing to love enough that it means sacrificing your own desires for others.

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