Recent research shows that grades, IQ, and leadership potential don't matter as much as grit, perseverance, and mental strength.
Throughout history, what characteristics have defined manhood and how do modern men compare?
This blog, www.legacydad.com, talks a lot about manly things, dad things and building our relationship with God in order to be the man that he wants us to be. Lance and Gary have talked in great length about their journeys (road maps) and right to passage for their kids/grandkids. As the merchant in this group of three (one already home and two homeward bound) I have sat back and watched their progression and slowly ebbing and flowing what that will look like for my son. I have a great dad. A dad who taught me that a man needs to have his integrity and honor and to do what he says he is going to do. He has taught me the value of being and living debt free. I have not always heeded that advice, as you have read in several previous posts, but I can tell you the older that I get the more I treasure what he has instilled in me. The world (Culture) tells us their definition of what it takes to be a man. How to be a man and the pleasures that we can have by pursuing this manly stuff. The wisest man in the world said that without God this is all vanity. Lance had asked our readers some things that they wanted to hear from us and the question arose on how to be man. An excellent question if I do say so myself. There are three things that we need to concentrate on and I will address them all here shortly, but first, I want to match some things up with Scripture. First off, turn to John 12:26, (ESV) “26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” Jesus was asked by religious leaders of their time what was the greatest commandments. Without missing a step he said the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength. And the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. All other commandments hang on these two. Did you catch it? As a man we not only have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have to center our lives in him. Secondly, we have to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Here is a list of traits that we think a godly man exudes: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Courage, Perseverance, Loyalty, Duty, Self Service, Honor, Integrity, Grace, Justice, Humility, Mercy and Discipline. This is a life-long process and even the best men do not always get each of these cylinders going at the same time. However, you will note that a godly man has a humility like no other. A spiritual maturity that can only be explained by God’s redemptive love for us. Some can argue that these traits are inherited while others say that they are taught and others say that they can be learned. I like to think (and believe) that when we align ourselves with God and his will, then he gives to those who love him. In the Book of James we are told to ask for wisdom. If we don’t have an earthly father figure (or a father that was never around or let alone a good example) then we have confidence that we have a heavenly father that loves us so much that He sent HIS ONLY son to die for us.
Here is a self-examination to see where you are at on the road to how to be a man:
1) Know that God has made each one of us our own way. Each one of us are fearfully and wonderfully made. For instance, Gary rightly coined us three: The Cowboy, The Warrior and the Merchant. We are all different but we share the same passions. We love, we learn, we grow and we are comfortable in our own skin. We have to know our self. We have to be content with who we are and where God has put us. That doesn’t mean that we cannot strive to be better, we just have to be content with each day God has given us. We have to respect ourselves as men.
2) We have to know right from wrong. C.S. Lewis has excellent books on this (read them all to find out what I mean). We, as humans, have this inherent code of right and wrong. If you are fortunate enough to have kids you can see that as early as of two years of age the child knows right from wrong even if they don’t know how to convey the wrong – they know. WE have to be able to admit when we are wrong (to our neighbor), we have to confess our sins and trespasses to our God the Father. We have to admit to those we love when we are wrong. We have to be able to expressly state that we were wrong, that we can say “I’m Sorry” and be able to express why we are sorry.
3) What we put in is what we get out. This is true in mind, body and spirit. We have to make sure that we are in God’s word daily. We have to pray continuously. We have to repent from sin. To repent means to turn away from and to avoid doing it again. That being said, many of us think that we can serve two masters, that is, that we think we can have destructive sin in our lives and yet be in fellowship with a Holy God. That is not possible. We have to humble ourselves. We have to breathe in the grace of God and walk out our salvation with fear in trembling. Knowing that we can never earn our way to heaven, we then can confidently except this amazing gift of love and after accepting this incredible gift we can find that our faith is alive in both works and deeds to give thanks for this incredible gift of love.
4) Has True Grit –my dad always quotes Shakespeare to me, “not a lender or borrower thee be, pay thy debts or it dulls the edge of husbandry.” To me, this was more than just about lending money. With my dad it meant so much more: Character, Integrity, and so on. We have to be willing to be the stewards that God wants us to be. The stewards of His Time, His Treasure and His Talent. These are all things that God, the most high, has given us. The best way to describe integrity to you is to say how we act when no one else is around and whether or not we make the right choice. Job puts it best in chap 29 (Read Job 29 here).
5) Memorize and lives Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.
6) Have a Kingdom Purpose – It is not about us, it is about God. The sooner that we learn that the freer we are to make a difference in the short time that God has given us. To love our neighbor, our wives, our children and so on. To give without expecting anything in return. To serve as a servant leader.
7) Know your purpose – why are we here. What am I good at? Where can I serve best? What has God made me to do?
8) Walk with other men – no one should do this alone. That is not God’s plan. He wants us in community. He is the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He knows community and he knows what we need.
9) Take care of your vessels (body) – eat healthy, sleep healthy and make the right physical choices (exercise, diet, healthy choices).
10) When in doubt of how to be a man pray – more to follow
Psalm 112:1-10 (ESV) The Righteous Will Never Be Moved
112 [a] Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. 10 The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!
In order for us to move from Part 1 to Part 2 – let’s take another self test (please read Psalms 139).
More to follow on this awesome question: How to be a man.
Thanks for the challenge!
Please give me your thoughts,