What makes a real man? It’s a great question. It’s one of those questions that generate diverse, passionate opinions. Some think a real man is gentle with small animals. Others think real men prefer their small animals in stew. That’s funny but true. There are plenty of ideas on being a real man.
My Mother thought a real man always carried a pocket knife. As a little boy I heard her say that and thought “I need a pocket knife.” Her Father was a Maine backwoodsman who tracked game to feed his family. He didn’t survive in the wilderness. He thrived there. He was a man’s man. Mom had an example of an impressively confident man who always carried a pocket knife. But guess what? He wasn’t a successful husband or father. The specifics are not important, but the contrast is. To many he was a great man and to others he was not.
We just don’t have a one size fits all real man. John Wayne or James Bond? If we go with Bond, do we go with Connery or Craig? Marketing, mothers, media and moguls all try to shape our opinions. Spiritual leaders weigh in. PE teachers get a say. So do girlfriends and wives. Everyone gets a say. And society sets a high, moving, and mostly unattainable standard. Connery or Craig? Look around the mall. Is anyone meeting the standard there?
Like the guy sucking his gut in as he passes the mirror, men often try to meet the standard of whoever is shaping their self-image. We play roles. We fake it. We order our martini shaken, not stirred and never let on how awful it tastes. When we do not know our true identities, we live as inauthentic men. Instead of projecting what we are, we project what we want you to believe. The image becomes more important than the truth.
Believers do not have to fall into this trap. We have access to the One who defines authentic masculinity. We are made in His image. Beyond that He will further refine what being a real man means for each of His male children. He customizes that information too. Your Father knows your identity. An intimate relationship with Father God is the essential element for walking into authentic masculinity.
When He speaks you get the bedrock truth. This is not religious double-talk; relationship with Father God is the key to walking tall as a real man.
Written by Jeff Dean