In today's contemporary society, the definition of a "real man" seems to change almost constantly. We are bombarded with images from the media depicting what a man is supposed to look like, talk like, and act like, often from a worldly perspective. Some say that a "real man" must be physically strong, with large biceps and rippling muscles. Some say that a "real man" does not show emotion and never exposes any weaknesses. Others say that a "real man" is one who never backs down from a fight and will defend his pride at all costs. Finally, many believe that a "real man" is judged by how many women he can subdue and conquer at any given time. It is not a surprise that young men, particularly young black men, are confused about how to conduct themselves as men in today's world.
As Christian men, we must look to the Bible to define our identity as men and not allow the world's definition of manhood to dictate how we conduct our lives. These worldly influences ultimately lead many men down a path of destruction, as opposed to a fruitful, Godly life men can achieve by walking according to the will of God. In Colossians 2:8 (NIV), the apostle Paul makes the following exhortation, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ." The word of God makes it clear that Christian men must not be unduly influenced by worldly ideas, whether they come from the media or the larger society.
As a Christian man, you might be searching to find your true identity in this world that is full of confusion. We all know that sons achieve much of their identity from their earthly fathers. Likewise, as a child of God, your spiritual identity is found in your Heavenly Father and His Word must be the final authority that defines your manhood and every other area of your life.
So what are the qualities of the real man? Here are just few examples backed up by the word of God:
Self Control: A real man is man is who able to control his flesh and keep it under subjection. The Bible frequently talks about the importance of self-control in the life of a believer, particularly the lives men. In the Apostle Paul's letter to Titus in the New Testament, Paul instructs Titus to "teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance" [Titus 2:2 NIV] and "encourage the young men to be self-controlled; In everything set them an example by doing what is good." [Titus 2:6 NIV]. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) states, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Finally, in Galatians 5:26 (NIV), the Bible cites self-control as one of the "fruits of the Spirit."
Real men know that they must control their fleshly desires instead of being controlled and enslaved by them. As men of God, we must realize that we cannot resist the flesh alone; that is why we must submit ourselves to God and His will. Richard Dalbey, in his book Healing the Masculine Soul, stated that "authentic Christian manhood, therefore, is manifested only in the man tamed by the living God-the man who has offered himself as a living sacrifice' (Romans 12:1) to the Father through Jesus Christ and who is thereby empowered not by his own strength, but by the Holy Spirit." The more a man submits to God, the more self-control will become a part of his life.
Strength and Courage: The life of real man is marked by strength and courage. In the first chapter of Joshua, God gives the following commandment to Joshua after the death of Moses: "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them." [Joshua 1:6 NIV] Just like Joshua, men of God today must be strong and courageous if they are to inherit the promises of God in their lives. True strength is not measured by physical ability or muscularity; rather it is the kind of strength that empowers a man to remain steadfast in the face of hardship and adversity. Likewise, courage is not the absence of fear or weakness; rather it is the ability to stand in the face of fear and strive forward in spite of it. Real men know and anticipate the difficulties of life, but they do not run from them. Instead they realize that they must embody the command found in Ephesians 6:10: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." As Christian men, we know that we don't have to rely on our own strength to fight the battles of life. The Holy Spirit is always with us to strengthen and empower us to overcome whatever we may face.
Integrity: A real man walks in integrity. The American Heritage Dictionary defines integrity as: 1) Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code; 2) The state of being unimpaired; soundness; 3) The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness. Proverbs 10:9 (NIV) states, "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." A man of integrity is a man who can be trusted and his word is his bond. He demonstrates good character even when no one is looking. His actions and his speech demonstrate that he is a person of integrity. As Christian men, we know that we will never reach perfection in this earthly realm, but it should be the goal of every man to strive to walk in integrity everyday, regardless of the situation or circumstance.
Ultimately, a real man is a man who is Christ-like. Jesus is the best example of what a real man is. He always exhibited self-control when confronted with temptation, he was strong and courageous when dealing with those who opposed him, and he walked in integrity at all times during his life on earth. The goal of every Christian man should be to act more like Jesus instead of imitating the false ideals of manhood presented by the world. The more a man submits his life to Christ, the more he will think and act like a real man!