Our culture looks for manly men, the Bear Grylls type, the Mt. Everest climbers, adventurous men. And, too many men seek to be the rough, tough, have it all together type showing no emotion — “mister macho.” We have put little value on a man that can establish relationships and maintain them and lead with a servant-leader attitude. Somehow, that type of man is weak and not confident enough to lead others.
John Wayne was the figure I grew up with that represented a man’s man. Yes, John Wayne was rough and tumble — he conquered the west and defeated the bad guys. However, almost to a movie, his characters could not quite develop relationships. Frequently, he was confused by the lady in his life. He didn’t seem to understand her emotions, attitude or comments.
I submit we should be looking to/for men that are God’s men, men that have a passionate relationship with the one true God in heaven, men who know how to develop relationships and grow them, exercise self-control, and walk with a humble attitude. 1 Samuel 16:7 points out that men look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (of a man). We too should look on the heart on a man to determine if he is one to follow and look up to.
My father taught me many things. Little, however, were related to relationships, or were they? I learned how not to treat my wife, how not to raise children, how not to view friendships. My father struggled with relationships, with being vulnerable and humble, tender and caring. He certainly provided for our family. We always had a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes to wear, etc. But work, hard work, was more of a priority than relationships.
All of us as brothers know how to work. My next oldest brother, Fred, and I have a saying, “If I can’t fix it, it’s not broken.” We can fix “anything,” because my dad taught us how. At age eight I knew how to operate a bulldozer and could build a road with it. We knew how to handle and shoot guns, and we were accurate with them. We knew the outdoors and were comfortable there. An argument could be made that we are a men’s men. However, I want to be known as a man after God’s heart.
I am certainly grateful that my dad taught me to be resourceful. What I didn’t learn from him was how to be humble and exercise self-control. Let’s look at the life of David. He was certainly a man that could be called a man’s man, but, he was not defined by that. He was defined as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). I submit that he exercised self-control and walked humbly with his God.
SELF-CONTROL – David had opportunity to kill Saul several times. Saul was afraid of David and was his enemy continually because he saw and knew that God was with David (1 Samuel 18:28&19).
When David had the opportunity to kill Saul in a camp one night and again in a cave when Saul did not know David was there, he chose not to take Saul’s life. David exercised self-control. He knew Saul was still king and God had not given him direction to take matters into his own hands, although one of his men encouraged him to take Saul’s life.
HUMBLE – In 2 Samuel 12: 1-15, when Nathan confronts David with his sin with Bathsheba, David does not backpedal or give excuses. He understands he has sinned against the Lord, humbles himself, and goes to Him for a clean heart and a renewed steadfast spirit (Psalm 51).
Before seeking a man’s man, one that scales Half Dome, climbs Mt. Everest, ventures to the bottom of the sea, or survives in the wilderness with only a folding knife and duct tape (I could probably pull that off), let’s seek and become a man of God first. Let’s look on the heart of men. Certainly, a man should be able to provide for and protect those in his influence, but all too often we only look for that and not a man in touch with his emotions and having an ability to build meaningful, trusting relationship.
The conversation around the campfire will be more honoring and edifying.
- What is holding you back?
- How are you doing in your journey to be a man after God’s heart?
- Do you believe you can be a man after His heart?