The picture of “real” our culture paints for men is just as ridiculous as the picture of the perfect body for women.
What does a real man look like in 2014? Think about the definition our culture gives to us. Look at the movies. Read the magazines. Listen to the music. What are the constants? I see three … muscles, money and women. A real man is tough. He doesn’t show emotions. He can handle his own business. A real man has money. Who cares if he blows it on trinkets? The point is he has it. A real man has women. You can’t be a real man and not have a girl.
But what if our culture is feeding us a lie? What if our culture is grossly misleading us when it comes to the nature of a real man? Our high schools, colleges, workplaces and homes are filled with men that are trying to be legitimate. The problem is we are looking for legitimacy from a culture that changes daily … hourly. A culture that is predicated on promiscuity. Infatuated with the almighty dollar. One day our culture tells us to dress one way. The next day it is completely different.
The picture of “real” our culture paints for men is just as ridiculous as the picture of the perfect body for women. It is a facade. Smoke and mirrors. We must wade through all the charades and cultural stigmas. It is a lot of wading. But once we dig below the surface, something different is exposed. Something divorced from the cultural nonsense. Something grounded in the Truth and not a perceived one. Something … real.
Here are 10 traits of a real man in today’s culture.
1.) A real man always treats people with respect.
A real man doesn’t trash talk or bad mouth other people. “But Frank, what about my teacher at school? Or what about my boss at work? They deserve everything they are getting from me and others.” Right … so tell me again what you deserve for all the awful things you have done to others? See … a real man finds no value in tearing down other people. He realises these people are not much different from himself. He also realises God is not glorified in the tearing down of others.
2.) A real man honours his wife and friends.
I grew up in an environment where wives were not honoured. I was around too many people who used outings to the bar, the golf course or the hunting camp as opportunities to talk about their wives’ failures and downfalls. They would also throw in the failures of their friends for good measure. But show me a man who builds up his wife and friends … and I will show you a real man. Why? A man who honours his wife and friends can only do so because he is confident in himself.
Men, when was the last time you complimented your wife in front of others? When was the last time you made her feel important? A real man makes a habit of honouring and building up his wife and friends.
3.) A real man never leads women on.
Guys, let me be real with you. If you date girls just to have a girl or you want sex … if you have no intentions on a legitimate relationship … you are a coward. That’s direct, yes. But it’s true. It’s real. If this is you, stop it. End the relationship. A real man respects the feelings and dignity of women. He does not see women as objects to fulfil his desires. He does not date because having a girl is fun or expected. There is intentionality behind his relationships. A real man gets this.
4.) A real man works hard, but never chases a paycheck.
Laziness is plaguing our country … no doubt. But the pursuit of a paycheck is also plaguing our country. A real man is not lazy. He works hard. But a real man also never allows the almighty dollar to be the purpose for his hard work. A real man works hard because he works for the Lord. The pursuit of a paycheck is turning men from husbands and fathers into distant figures whose lives have no greater purpose than to lust after a large number in a bank account. How ridiculous. A real man doesn’t get caught up in the lies of our culture.
This allows him to work hard while working. But this also allows him to rest hard, play hard, be present as a father and husband, and nurture his relationship with God. Make no mistake. Pursuing a paycheck at the expense of a family and God doesn’t create a real man … it creates a wasted life.
5.) A real man never allows hobbies to be more important than marriage and family.
I love golf. I would play every day if I could. But I also have two kids and a wife. I have a full-time job. I go to school. I have a blog. There are 24 hours in a day. Something must go to the back burner. A real man understands that “something” is not his wife and kids, his job, or his relationship with God. There are seasons of life where your golf game, fishing, hunting or fill in the blank are going to take a hit. Hobbies are just that … hobbies. They are extra. On the side. A real man never sacrifices quality time with family or God to nurture a hobby.
6.) A real man values purity.
I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. My first trip to Las Vegas. Wow. The insatiable drive for sex and money was indescribable. It was everywhere. Women wearing next to nothing begging for the attention of those around. Billboards. Shows. Sensuality and the objectification of women (and men) were impossible to ignore. We live in a sex-crazed world.
A real man doesn’t use this as a crutch to feed his sexual appetites. He values purity in his thoughts, conversations and relationships.
For much of my life, I struggled to keep my mind pure. I thought it was just natural. Lusting. Pornography. Those are just normal for guys. Boys will be boys, right? Wrong. Now that I am on the other side, I see that God’s intention for my life is not for my mind to be filled with lust. It’s not God’s intention for your life either. Lust is sin. A real man takes the steps necessary to keep his mind and actions pure. Purity is a virtue. It is something God values. A real man pursues it.
7.) A real man is in control of himself.
If someone else can force you to react, you are not in control of yourself. Write that down. So, if another person’s actions force your hand … someone else is in control of you. That’s dangerous. A real man is not controlled by emotions. He is not controlled by others. Despite the lies of the world, this is true strength. Strength that comes from within. Strength that comes from God. Self-control breeds a life with less regret and more stability. A real man values self-control.
8.) A real man finds his strength in the Lord.
A real man doesn’t look to the world for his identity, sense of worth and strength. He draws strength from the Lord. God is the only source of lasting strength, and a real man acknowledges this reality. He then uses this strength to lead his family, run his business and interact with his peers at school in a way that glorifies God. Go ahead and look to other sources for strength, identity, and sense of worth. But don’t be surprised when you find the ride exhausting and the goal unattainable. Riding cultural waves is dangerous … especially when you don’t know when the next wave is coming. Real men don’t ride waves.
9.) A real man celebrates the successes of others.
If you can’t celebrate the successes of the people around you something is wrong. It’s toxic. This dog-eat-dog cloud that hangs over our culture is a lie. A real man celebrates with his friends, wife and co-workers when something positive happens in their life. He is only able to do this because the successes of other people have no effect on who he is. A real man is confident in his own abilities and talents, so he is in a position to celebrate with others. A real man works hard, competes hard, but is able to shake the hand of the other team if he loses. He can tell his co-workers congratulations when they get a promotion … and mean it. He can celebrate with his spouse when she excels at her job. Who cares if she makes more money or has a more important title? A real man isn’t in competition with his friends and spouse.
There is more than one seat at the table of life. Pull up a chair and let others sit down.
10.) A real man is just as honest when no one is around as he is when the world is watching.
Consistent. This word, maybe above any other, describes a real man. His relationship with God. His treatment of others. His actions and thoughts. Consistent.
A real man is honest and ethical. Doesn’t matter how big or small the decision might be. Doesn’t matter if no one is watching. Doesn’t matter if no one will ever know the outcome of his decision. A real man doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t cut corners. He doesn’t make unethical business decisions.
Here is why. A real man doesn’t live for others or for the cares of this world … he lives for God. You see, a man who operates one way when no one is around and another when the world is watching does so for one reason … he is more concerned with the world than God. He is too concerned with the approval of others. Too concerned with the cares of this world. Saving money. Preserving a reputation. Being accepted. These are reasons to be unethical and dishonest.
A real man doesn’t sacrifice honesty on the altar of acceptability and approval. Even if honesty and integrity cost him a job, money or a grade on a test. He won’t compromise. He is consistent. He is dedicated … to the Lord.