Growing up I really had no idea what the phrase “a real man” meant.  The day I arrived my Dad was not there.  As I grew up I saw my Dad for a couple of weeks, every three months or so.  He chose his job and other things over wanting to spend time and invest in me.  When my Dad was around I was never a priority in his life – work, friends and his family were more important.  The only male role models I ever saw were those of my friends Dad’s, a couple of Pastors and some teachers and none of them were interested in taking the time to show me what it meant to be a real man.  The TV shows and movies I watched gave me an idea of what being a real man were or at least what they wanted me to believe.

As a boy I felt and experienced the presence of God in very real ways.  I made the choice to follow him and live my life for him.  One of my biggest problems and still a struggle for me to this day is my perception of God.  I have equated much of how my Dad treated me to the way God deals with me.  The one message my Dad made clear to me while growing up when he was around was that my actions had consequences and this was in the form of me getting punished for something I had done wrong.  Growing up I have struggled with the same view of God in regards to sin in my life.

As part of my pursuit of what this really meant I turned to the place I was sure I would find it – the  church.  I figured if other men were in pursuit of God and allowing him to change their lives, this must be the right place.  Unfortunately I found other broken men who operated out of their pain and hurt.  Despite adding the label of Christ-follower to them, many were still broken and searching for the very thing.It became clearer that I was probably not going to find it in the world or even in the church.

God began putting men in my life from all walks of life who I began to have open conversation with.  I started talking and asking questions.  I listened and heard their stories.  I opened up the Bible and began looking at the life of Jesus.  I read accounts of other men God has called to do his work who were in some ways resembled aspects of myself.  God began opening my eyes and showing me what the world says makes a real man has nothing to do with what a real man is about.

The world will tell you a real man is a bumbling idiots who can’t make a decision, sleeps around and gets his.  Acquiring wealth, titles and trophies so you stand out and look better than everyone else is what’s most important.  Real men take care of themselves, they make sure their needs are met first.  Men don’t need anyone or anything they can do it all on their own and they never need directions. This same message has been sold for years and men continue to buy into it.

What I discovered is just the opposite.  Real men show emotion, put the needs of others ahead of their own.  Real men are committed to one women and take responsibility for the children they have helped create, the needs of their wife and children come first and they served them out of love.  A real man means you’re honest about who you are and where you’ve come from.  Admitting you were wrong and that you may need help if something is mastering you.  Real men share their stories; use their gifts and talents to glorify God.  Real men know their purpose, calling and live by a set of standards God has revealed to them that has long-lasting and far-reaching effects. Real men invest in the lives of others.

Thankfully God has allowed me to see so many aspects I was missing for so many years.  While I am not perfect and I continue making mistakes I have been able to establish the following set of core values that I attempt to follow each and every day of my life.

Knowledge – ccontinually striving to be better than I am, through various means, which allows my words to be honest and wise, and my actions filled with insight and discernment

Honorliving a loyal life of commitment to God, my wife, kids, family and friends that includes faithfulness, commitment, responsibility and integrity

Fulfillmentliving a courageous life filled with passion that allows me to serve others out of love and devotion

Impactall that I do I do for the legacy I will be leaving behind me 

Truthseeking to live a life that stands up for what is right and just and using my voice to silence injustice, evil and wickedness in the world

What have you believed to be lies that you thought would define you as a man?  How had God changed that?  What core values are you living by?

  1. Chris,

    I know I’m a woman so this post can’t really speak to me the same way as it would a Man, but thank you for posting this.

    • Julie, thanks, I appreciate that. I can tell that you are truly a Woman of God in all that I see you Tweet and in your conversations. Really appreciate seeing that.

  2. Bob says:

    Chris, Thank you for posting. I stand with you, brother. There are many of us who have had to figure it out/are still figuring it out.
    The things I’ve found to trap me in figuring it all out are:
    – the need for approval which comes out of a habit of comparing. Bad stuff – a definite side road that’s not good to be on.
    – a false belief all other guys but me have it all together which leads to being all alone and provides a ripe area for the enemy to tell you lies about yourself.

    I agree with your core values and to them add to value community. Community overall but especially with other men in groups like this, at church, small groups. We guys tend to take a while to get personal – gravitating much more easily to the superficial and non-connectedness. We have to be keenly aware of that and not allow it in our lives.

    Bless you, Chris.

    • Great points Bob, thanks for adding to that. I agree with you, adding community is a big part of it. I do try and make that part of my life, this last year has been more difficult for that, but I still think it’s really important.

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