What is a real man? What does it take to have and keep a “man-card?” There are many testosterone laden ideas about manhood. There are many who laugh at what they consider to be “weak” or “soft” men. But what is a real man? Really?!
I suggest looking at the men in the Bible to get a good picture of the reality of God’s real man. Here are three men that I think paint a complete picture for us.
The first is a man we know as Onesimus. Onesimus!? Wasn’t he a runaway slave? Yes, that is Onesimus. Great, a Spartacus figure in the Bible. That is a real man! Wait! Don;t get ahead of me; Onesimus is not like the typical view of a runaway slave like Spartacus or The Gladiator. This slave had real manly characteristics. He was 1) Teachable. In Phlm 10-11 we find he ran to Paul and through the teaching of Paul became a Christian and was willing to repent to the extent of returning to Philemon. Because he was 2) Accountable (cf. Phlm 12-16). He was willing to not only accept his mistakes but to do his part to make them right. He could say he was wrong and make needed changes.
The second example is the Apostle Peter. Peter was 1) a Worker for God. In Acts 10:24-34 we read of Peter’s willingness to allow God to use him to break new ground and take the message of the Good News to the Gentiles. This would require Peter to be quite 2) Courageous. It is Peter who volunteers to step out of the boat. It is Peter who brashly claims he will never forsake Jesus. It is Peter who confesses that Jesus is the Messiah.
We also see Peter as a 3) Devoted Husband. Paul writes of Peter, “Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas (Peter)?” 1 Cor 9:5- ESV. Peter demonstrates his devotion to his wife when he instructs, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Pt 3:7.
Peter was a gruff weathered fisherman who was strong yet 4) Willing to Weep. When he realized his weakness and recalled his failure, Peter showed the disappointment in himself by weeping and repenting – cf. Mt 26:75.
The ultimate example of a real man is Jesus. Jesus was 1) Submissive to the will of the Father and the spiritual needs of mankind. Jesus was 2) Prayerful. If the Son of God saw the need to pray and made special time for prayer while He was walking the earth, then men everywhere should lift up holy hands and hearts in prayer. Jesus was 3) Child–friendly. He took time with children, even when the disciples thought the children would be a bother to Him (Mk 10:13-16). Children are important to God and a real man will care fore them. A real man will treat children with kindness knowing that they are the present future of the Kingdom of God (the Church) on earth. Jesus was the supreme example of a man who is 4) Compassionate. Jesus would look on the multitudes and have compassion for their needs. Compassion is more than empathy. Compassion leads one to do what he can to help relieve those needs. Jesus lived that compassion.
What is a Real Man? He is more than what the world considers “manly.” A real man is complete. Real men (and real women) follow the example and commands of Christ!