Nine Attributes of a Real Man

In the surrounding verses of Genesis 2, we watch as God defines the purpose of this sole man prior to the creation of woman: the purpose of his work, expanse of his authority, parameters of his obedience and even the swelling of desire for a wife.

Masculinity finds its definition in God alone—not the world, not culture, not the workplace. Ultimately and completely, masculinity is defined by the God who makes men.

The God-Man

But the plot thickens.

In reading the grand story of God in the Bible, and searching for ideal representations of men among the kings, priests, prophets, warriors and leaders we meet, we sense that something is never quite right. Sin has damaged the reflection of ideal masculinity. One biblical hero after another is shown to be wounded, broken, flawed, prone to disobedience and even to outright wickedness. And yet within the same men we see small glimpses of masculine glory: undeterred faith, unwavering conviction, humble service and sacrifice. But again only glimpses.

Until God himself breaks into time and space again to give us the model man. His Son, Jesus, is the perfect divine depiction of manhood. He defines true masculinity.

In looking at the life of Jesus, we find countless attributes and commitments that show us how to live as a man faithful to the Father’s call. If you are a man looking for true masculinity, consider whether these nine commitments (among many others) would make a significant impact on your masculinity if actively applied in your role as a leader, employee, husband, father and son.

1. A man commits to following a greater authority.

[Jesus] said, “Follow me.” But [the man] said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9.59–62″>Luke 9:59–62)

2. He commits to sacrifice all else in the shadow of discipleship.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

3. He commits to determined, joyful obedience.

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6.66–69″>John 6:66–69)

4. He commits to spiritual discipline.

Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

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Vince Miller
Vince Miller founded the men’s discipleship and leadership ministry Resolute. He writes at the ministry’s website and is author of The Generous Life. He lives with his wife, Christina, and their three children in St. Paul, Minnesota.