3 Characteristics That Define a Real Man

Society today is confused about masculinity. Looking back thousands of years, what lessons of masculinity can we learn from the most important Man to ever walk the earth?

Today’s society is in confusion on the subject of manhood and masculinity. Multiple definitions exist of what exactly masculinity is—from John Wayne to Homer Simpson—and some people question whether there should even be such a thing as masculinity. Modern psychology has introduced the idea that gender traits are nothing but a social construct.

Today’s human ideas about masculinity and manhood are a far cry from the example Christ set in the flesh for all humanity, including males, to follow. But the Bible states, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Yes, Jesus Christ came to earth as a male human and therefore is the standard of masculinity that every Christian male should strive to be. This blog will look at three ways Jesus Christ set an example for proper masculinity.

1. Christ didn’t crack under pressure and discomfort.

The fourth chapter of Luke recounts Christ’s 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Despite being offered literally all that the world has to give (Luke 4:5), Christ stayed strong and showed the devil he was wasting his time.

Men must have this resolve—this commitment to do what is right no matter what the temptation or danger. Christ showed the same strength as He faced the prospect of a torturous death of pain and agony. Though He experienced anxiety because of the extreme pain He was facing, Christ had the strength and willpower to move forward and say, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

Men must have this resolve—this commitment to do what is right no matter what the temptation or danger. Masculinity, in its purest godly form, is this unbreakable will to obey God and lead in what is right, regardless of the cost in comfort or popularity. 

Implications for men today: Compromising what is right is simply not an option. We must be convicted in what we believe and exercise the strength of character to make right decisions based on our beliefs. This world desperately needs men (and women!) of conviction who will not compromise what is right and will uphold high standards of conduct.

2. Christ worked hard and always did what was necessary.

Even at an early age, Christ told His parents “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Once His ministry started, Christ was constantly at work: healing, teaching, correcting, rebuking, comforting and preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Christ said in John 5:17 that “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Whatever the need was, Christ made sure He filled it.

Men are supposed to be hard workers, making the necessary sacrifices for their mates and families. When needs present themselves, masculinity goes to work and starts on solutions to problems and doing what is needed for situations. There are times for rest, relaxation and recreation; however, masculinity is goal-focused and goal-oriented and respects priorities. The Scriptures teach that our work and activities should always be done with our maximum effort: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Implications for men today: Prioritized responsibilities always come before wants. We must keep our commitments and never let video games, sports, movies or any recreation interfere with what really matters in our lives (spiritual growth, relationships, jobs, serving, etc.). 

3. Christ was bold and confident.

Despite how misguided “Christian” art portrays Jesus Christ, He was not a long-haired, pale, effeminate man who walked around in a white robe with a halo!

Christ was a strong, powerful and, at times, forceful man.

Christ stood up to the most influential religious and political authorities of His time and pulled no punches. Matthew 23 records Christ fully revealing the hypocrisy, hatred and danger of the Pharisees’ doctrine. He did this with ultimate confidence and boldness. Christ showed physical force and strength when He responded to those misusing the temple to take advantage of people and defiling God’s temple (John 2:16). Christ was no stranger to making important decisions; in fact, He prayed all night before choosing His 12 disciples (Luke 6:12). Still, He made these bold and confident decisions because of His trust in God to guide Him.

Admittedly, many times we are unsure as to whether we are doing what God wants us to. Yet using the Bible as our compass and knowing that God is there to guide us and help us, we need to have the masculine trait of being “strong and of good courage” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Implications for men today: Get the facts and step out on faith. We must lead our families with courage and not with uncertainty and fear. We must take the initiative when we are needed and be brave. We cannot be dominated by indecisiveness and timidity. We will protect and provide for our families, as God protects and provides for us all.

Christ was the only man who was really “the Man.” His example of masculinity can help men today break out of society’s many false ideas about what boys and men should be. Instead of developing your manhood based on societal ideas, study the life of Jesus Christ and work to be the kind of Man He was!

To learn more about the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, read the articles on Who is Jesus?

About the Author

Eddie Foster

Eddie Foster

Eddie Foster was born in Ohio, and after living in several parts of the northeastern United States, he once again lives in the Buckeye State, most likely for good this time. He lives in the Dayton area with his wife, Shannon, and two daughters, Isabella and Marley. They attend the Cincinnati/Dayton congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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