Every boy, when he grows up, will become a man. But what kind of man will he become?
There are many examples of men in our world today. When we look on television, we often see bumbling men, who can’t do anything right. Men who are criticized by their wives. Men are being projected as being unworthy of respect; who will sacrifice anything for power, money, and prestige.
We also see examples of good men. Men who sacrifice their lives for our country. Men who work three jobs so their families can afford a place to live. And men who stop what they’re doing to help a stranger who is having car trouble.
What kind of man will your son become? My son?
When raising kids, it’s important to have the end goal in mind. What does being a real man look like?
We could look to society. A much better idea is to look to the Bible.
Characteristics of Real Men from the Bible
Joseph – A Man Who Forgives
If you read Genesis, you know that Joseph had a hard life. Sold into slavery by his own brothers, he left his family as a boy to go to a foreign land. His story gets worse from there, as he is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent years in jail, before getting out and, by God’s divine providence, being promoted to the position of Pharaoh’s second in command.
When Joseph meets his brothers again, they are desperate for food. Joseph is in a great position to take revenge on them for the heartache they caused him. And today, many would say he had the right to take revenge.
But that’s not what he did. This is what Joseph said to his brothers.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20 ESV
Joseph looked beyond his circumstances to see God’s ultimate plan. He forgave his brothers, knowing that at no point was his life apart from the control of God’s loving hand.
Joseph was a real man. The kind of man I want my son to become. For him to become that man, I need to teach my son the importance of forgiveness and trusting in God.
Paul – A Leader with Integrity
You can’t read the New Testament without noticing Paul. After Christ got ahold of him, he poured all his effort into spreading the gospel. He spent years, some of them very hard years, instructing baby Christians on how to grow in their walk with Christ.
At one point he said to the Corinthians,
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
That’s a pretty bold statement. I don’t know if I’d dare make such a statement. But Paul did, and he could.
He was a man of integrity. He wasn’t perfect. Far from it. But he was characterized by living the way Christ called him to live. When he sinned, he ‘fessed up. When he was wrong, he admitted it. He boldly spoke Truth and walked the way he talked, aiming to follow Jesus in all that he did.
He sinned, but he was forgiven, and he knew it. And he acted like it, living a life of grateful obedience to his Savior.
Paul was a real man. The kind of man I want my son to become. For him to become that man, I need to teach my son that there is a standard: the Bible. I need to teach him to live by that standard, even when the doors are closed and he thinks nobody is watching. I need to teach him to be a man of integrity in all that he does.
Jesus – The Ultimate Example of a Real Man
Jesus is the ultimate example of a real man – compassionate and merciful, yet just. Honest and gentle. Righteously angry when he needed to be. I could go on and on, but this blog post would be way too long.
One of the first words that comes to mind, though, when I think of Jesus is sacrifice. He loved us so much that he gave his very life, so we might have a relationship with the Holy God. He put his own needs and desires aside, so that we could be given the huge gift of salvation.
In his flesh he didn’t want to. As God, he didn’t have to. Right before Jesus was taken by the soldiers to stand trial and be crucified, he prayed,
…Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. Luke 22:42
Jesus placed his will second to that of his Father. Everything Jesus did on this earth was for the purpose of fulfilling God’s plan. Everything.
Jesus was a real man. The kind of man I want my son to become. In order to become that kind of man, I need to teach my son to have an intimate relationship with God. Jesus obeyed the Father, because they were of the same mind. Since Jesus and the Father are one, they had the most intimate relationship possible.
The only way my son will have the ability to truly forgive, to truly seek repentance, and to truly live a life of integrity is to have such an intimate relationship with God that his desire is to live that way – to be like-minded with his Father in Heaven.
Raising boys is hard work, and I’m not finished yet. Thinking about the end goal – what I want my son’s life to look like when he’s an adult – helps me stay on track. And when it comes right down to it, the most important thing I can do as his mother is to point him toward Jesus.
When parenting my boy becomes overwhelming, that’s what I do. Point him toward Jesus. If he has a good relationship with Jesus, he’s going to be all right, no matter what the future holds.
Lynnae McCoy, the writer of this article, is a wife, mother, and daughter of the King. She writes about saving time, saving money, and serving God at LynnaeMcCoy.com. Her passion is to equip Christian women to use their resources well, so they have more to give.
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