Home > Culture, Theology > A Theology of Manhood: How Masculine Are You?

A Theology of Manhood: How Masculine Are You?

When I was a kid being “a man” was measured by who could spit the farthest, run the fastest, burp the loudest and win the most. In high school, being “a man” was measured by the number of girls that liked you, your place on the popularity ladder and how rebellious you were. By college being “a man” was measured by who could drink the most, party the hardest and sleep with the most women.  Now that I’ve graduated, it seems like being “a man” is measured by the job you work, the amount of money you make, how much weight you can bench press or the toys you have.

In ancient times, becoming a man was a right of passage.  It wasn’t something that was assumed, it was bestowed.  Masculinity wasn’t measured in age or accomplishments, it was measured in one’s willingness to assume responsibility for his family and his tribe.  Boys knew what it was to be a man because they were told, by their fathers, what it meant to be a man.  They had treks, hunts, voyages, tests and various other ceremonies that taught them what masculinity was really all about.


Image from blogformen.wordpress.com

Image from blogformen.wordpress.com

In our day, it’s safe to say that dudes are confused at best and downright adrift at worst.  We live in a world where every guy wants to be a truly masculine man, but nobody knows what that actually means… or even looks like.  This generation grew up with single moms and drug addicted, alcoholic and absentee fathers.

Our role models were often work-a-holic dads and degrading coaches.  It’s no wonder we don’t know what it looks like to be a man, we didn’t have any to look up to. There were no rights of passage that told us when we’d become men.  We’ve just been pretending this whole time.

This same generation of guys is now marked by irresponsibility, passivity, laziness, cowardice, addiction, selfishness, disrespect for authority, rebellion, egotism and escape.  And those are the positive qualities. We (myself included) are a generation of boys who never grew up.

Restoring Masculinity

If this generation of boys really want to become men, then we must radically redefine, rather restore, what it means to be truly masculine. We must identify a new set of metrics for what it looks like to be a real man. In order to know what masculinity means and looks like, we must look to the man who embodied it better than anyone else who has ever lived.

Jesus Christ embodied masculinity better than anyone.  He, being without sin, lived as the perfect representation of all that masculinity was intended to be from the beginning.  If we want to know what it means and looks like to be a man, we need to look no further than his example.  Looking at Christ’s life reveals several things about masculinity. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

A man submits to God and the authority God has placed over him, like Jesus submitted to the Father. (Matthew 26:36-46)

A man relies on God for help in all things (not himself), like Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit throughout his ministry. (Luke 4:1-15)

A man matures physically, emotionally and spiritually, like Jesus matured in “wisdom and stature.” (Luke 2:52)

A man takes responsibility for himself and others, like Jesus took responsibility for humanity when he died for our sins on the cross. (1 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:5-8))

A man selflessly sacrifices his own wants and desires for the sake of others, like Jesus selflessly sacrificed himself on the cross to bring sinners back to God. (1 John 4:9-10; 1 Peter 3:18)

A man is tough for others, but tender with them, like Jesus who defended the weak and marginalized, while caring for their needs. (John 8:1-11)

A man feels deeply, but controls his emotions, like Jesus who wept for his friend Lazarus without being paralyzed by what he felt. (John 11:1-16)

A man is actively involved in the lives of his family, friends and community, like Jesus who actively involved himself in humanity instead of waiting for us to figure things out. (Philippians 2:5-8)

A man protects those he loves, like Jesus who protects his people from Satan, sin and death by the power of his resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Hebrews 2:14-18)

A man provides for those he loves, like Jesus who provides for the forgiveness of our sins through his death on the cross. (Ephesians 1:7)

A man bestows masculinity on others by teaching them, like Jesus who taught his disciples what it means to be men of God. (Matthew 11:1)

A man serves others, like Jesus who served us through the sacrifice of his own life. (Mark 10:45)

A man is humble, like Jesus who lowered himself from heaven in order to elevate those who believe to heaven. (Philippians 2:5-8)

A man respects others, like Jesus who respected all people regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality. (John 4:1-45)

A man does life with other men (and women) in community, like Jesus who spent most of his time with the disciples. (Luke 5:1-11)

A man is secure in who he is, like Jesus who didn’t let the opinions of others keep him for openly confessing that he is the Son of God. (Mark 12:13-14; John 10:27)

Measuring Up

If you’re like me, Jesus’ example is a painful reminder of how much we fail to measure up.  I can’t say I embody these characteristics and I’m willing to bet you can’t either, at least not like Jesus did.  But before you give up and return to extended adolescence, take delight in knowing that Jesus is not only our example of masculinity, he is also our means for masculinity.

In 2 Peter 1:3, the Apostle Peter says that Christ’s “divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Since a masculine man is a godly man, you could say that Jesus has given us everything we need for masculinity. By his death, Jesus secured for us everything we need to know and live for God as truly masculine men.

This means that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us through the Holy Spirit.  We have the power to put childish ways to death, in Christ. We have the means to live a truly masculine life, in Christ. We simply need to look to Jesus as our example, trust him as our Savior and submit to him as our Lord.

  1. atimetoshare
    July 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM


  2. July 11, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Great list. To me, responsibility is key.

    • July 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      I agree. If I only had to choose two I’d choose responsibility and sacrificial service for others.

  3. August 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Reblogged this on stealthchristian and commented:
    Men & boys, this is good reading…

  4. August 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Thank you. I reblogged it.

  5. Eva
    August 4, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I was always taught not to try to measure up to Jesus, he was the first and only known example of perfection. Try as we might, humanity will always fail. Masculinity and femininity cannot be measured anyway. Is it possible to less masculine or more feminine? Compared to some, perhaps – but Christianity is not, and should never be, an exercise in comparison. God created us as individuals and all of us have our own different stories from start to finish – no two are exactly alike. To try to make us all fit the same standard would mean trying to rid us of part of who God made us to be to fit the churches standard of what’s acceptable (as if they know better than God himself). Most of what you listed would be just as true for women. Jesus didn’t create a Christianity with two standards of being for two genders, he created one faith where everybody can build each other up and encourage each other to be the people he meant us to be by being ourselves.

  6. October 13, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    すまんな、俺はもう次の恋愛を楽しんでるんだ。 へらすると大恥どころじゃ済まないぞww
    諸々含めて後で聞いたら大赤字だったらしく、お前の分なんか誤差にもならないから気にすんなと笑ってた 結婚式電報文例 友人

    そのかわり友人は2万でいいことにしとけ 冠婚葬祭でしょーもない金かけて祝儀や香典で回収なんて価値観捨てろや 結婚メッセージ 例文
    何よりも部長という立場上、得意先から結婚式にお呼ばれされたときに フェードアウトされた女から、数ヵ月後にメールが来て実はやりとりしてた人が既婚者だったといわれたことが何回かある。

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