What does it really mean to “just be a man?” We hear some variation of this phrase all the time. Just man up! Just be a man about it! What, however, does that really mean? The University of Manitoba conducted a study on what messages advertisers send about what it means to be a man. They found that the majority of advertisements equate manhood to one or more of the following four qualities:
- Danger is exciting: real men take risks and lack fear
- Toughness is important: real men don’t cry or show importance
- Violence is manly
- Having beautiful women (plural) and sex (plural) is important
I’m not here to say that it’s bad to take risks, be tough, hunt, or like beautiful women (I’m happily married to one). But, I am here to say that the world has an imperfect understanding of what it truly means to just be a man. A really great description of Biblical manhood is found in Titus chapter 2. Here Paul gives instructions to all men, older men, and younger men.
All Men: Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8. In other words, Paul is saying that being a man entails living a life that reflects Christ. When people see us with our family, in our community, in our workplace, etc. they need to see a reflection of God. As men we need to reflect God in our works, our teaching, our integrity, our speech, and more.
Older Men: I’m smart enough to not categorize anyone as old, but I will say this. If there are people younger then you that look up to you for advice and guidance, then the following advice applies to you. This applies to dads, grandpas, teachers, bosses, etc. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Titus 2:2
Are you modeling those values for those around you? Are you honoring God with a life that is bearing that type of fruit? Being a man entails setting a Godly example in all areas of our life. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing you are to be living our these values to honor God and positively affect others.
Younger Men: If you were to ask me I would say this applies to all men who are still in the process of learning and growing, which is actually all of us. While Younger Men seem to get off lightly here, being given only one command, it is an incredibly big, important, and difficult one: Urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Titus 2:6. Put simply, self-control is the ability to resist the temptation to sin, no matter how great that temptation is. Being a man means that we strive to resist all temptations and desires to sin, no matter the difficulty.
So, to wrap it up, here are three big ways for all of us to “just be a man:”
- Live a life that reflects Christ
- Set a Godly example in all areas of your life
- Resist all temptations to sin