When you think of what being a man is, what comes to mind? These words come to mind for me rugged, strong, brave, guns, trucks, mountains, work, etc. If pressed how would you define manhood? Does it really matter what authentic manhood is?
Defining Manhood Is Vital
Yes, it does matter! I believe it is vital to define manhood. Without a specific definition or target to aim for we struggle to find the right path. By defining manhood, we move from groping in the dark and guessing to a clear target and path to get there. I believe men are called to live their lives by this definition and I am one of them that is trying. Manhood in one sentence: An authentic man rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and invests eternally.
This definition comes from a great video series called, 33 The Series. There are 4 parts to this manhood definition. We will look at each in turn. When you finish reading this you will have the sketch of what authentic manhood is and a target to reach for. Let’s start first with the authentic man Rejects Passivity.
He Rejects Passivity
It is so easy to be passive. This passiveness can be found in a man’s life (including my own) in his home, at work, and in friendships. I’m not sure what drives the passive attitude, but you can see it show up in many ways.
The first way that comes to mind is laziness. When a man becomes passive he doesn’t get up to his alarm, leaves projects incomplete, and doesn’t keep promises to name a few. Any of these sound familiar? I know they do to me. An authentic man sees the potential in himself and changes his ways. He seeks out other men who are authentic and lives this definition of manhood.
Second, a man that Rejects Passivity is disciplined in all he does. He finds time to spend with his wife and family, he doesn’t allow the excuse of “I don’t have time” to be a driving force in his life. When a man is rejecting passivity he is choosing to love and honor those around him. Making decisions that drive him to take positive actions in these relationships.
Third, instead of being lazy he is proactive. He follows through on every promise he makes, even when it’s hard and calls his character and integrity to the mat. He actively seeks ways to participate in life and relationships. A real man is proactive at home, at work, and with his friends. He is not afraid to act or to speak up when needed or when others won’t.
Finally, in the most important of all his relationships, he purposely spends time with God. Seeking God for wisdom and counsel. Understanding his need for God and admitting he needs help to reject passivity. An authentic man understands he has to reject passivity in all areas of his life, that he needs support and accountability to do this. He seeks this support and accountability. Understanding he must reject passivity and takes responsibility for his life.
He Accepts Responsibility
Accepting responsibility may be one of the most challenging aspects of being a man. It’s great when everything is going well, but an authentic man realizes he is responsible when things go wrong too. I love to take credit when everything is going well. But I find it difficult to be humble and accept responsibility when things go wrong.
He understands he is responsible for his job, his family, his wife, and his faith. Taking each one of these responsibilities seriously and actively pursuing right actions in each area. He chooses his responsibilities of serving his family, friends, and community over serving himself. He does this because he is choosing to responsibly use the gifts God has given him.
A man that accepts these responsibilities does it with the support of other men that keep him accountable. And he keeps his friends accountable to their responsibilities. Through all of this, he refuses to be passive, accepts responsibility for the challenges and rewards in life. As he lives this role he must do it courageously.
He Leads Courageously
To live like this requires great courage. People will question his motives. Claim he is working too hard or too much. They will challenge his integrity and even try to destroy it. Real manhood requires a man to make tough decisions to lead his wife and family. He chooses to lead his life from a foundation of integrity. Courageously choosing to stick to his principles and faith when others bend the rules.
The man who leads courageously rejects the lust that creeps into his heart and mind. He chooses to be faithful to his wife and family. He chooses to leave the door open to his office when he meets with a woman. An authentic man seeks out other men to help him with his relationship with his wife and to battle with him against the lust that every man faces.
When he faces failure he steps up and takes responsibility for the failure and steps into the challenge to make it right. He leads at home, at work, and in his friendships. The authentic man is not afraid of the tough conversations. In his leadership, he has the courage to be humble and admit his mistakes, acknowledge his failures, and seek help and wisdom from others and God. The man who leads courageously knows he doesn’t do it alone. He seeks the Author of his life to guide him and bring him wisdom.
He Invests Eternally
An authentic man understands there is only one thing he gets to take with him to heaven – his relationships. Because of this, he invests his life into people and opportunities that will make an eternal difference.
He seeks Jesus with all his heart, mind, and soul. Living his life from a place of grace and peace. The authentic man understands his limitations and humbly seeks God to help him in all he does. He invests his time in his work, family, and friends but also in prayer and in scripture.
He wants to leave a legacy of eternal value. So he mentors people at home and at work. He spends time with his wife in prayer, seeking her heart and growing in faith with her. He leads his family in humility, discipline, and grace. Choosing to do things with his family and his friends that are valuable and will last. Making a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Finally, he invests money in things of eternal value. Giving to those in need and seeks out opportunities to use money for good.
An authentic man relentlessly pursues this lifestyle and surrounds himself with other men who do the same.
How to Pursue Authentic Manhood
A man that seeks to live like this understands this is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish on his own. He finds living his life like this to be humbling and exhilarating. The beauty of pursuing a life like this is many people will be inspired by his life and will want to follow and live like him. This type of life creates an amazing community of support and encouragement.
It is a community of like-minded men loving their God, wives, family, and each other. They have chosen to reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and invest eternally. These are the men who changed the world and these are the men who will change the world. What type of man are you?