Here in the West we live in the most resource-rich period in all human history. Even the poverty of today is far less harsh than the poverty of a century ago. The strength of the government’s safety net is debated, but its very existence is a distinctly modern phenomena. Food is so plentiful we have an obesity problem.

There hasn’t been a world war in three-quarters of a century. There is very little danger; a man can go his entire life without ever getting into a fistfight. The job of defending the perimeter has been outsourced to a tiny fraction of the population. Not only does most labor not require any physical strength, we have to remind ourselves to even stand up sometimes — to take a break from sitting in front a screen around the clock.

Given this positively luxurious environment, it should come as no surprise that an emphasis on manhood is currently very weak. Society doesn’t need most men to perform dirty, strenuous, dangerous jobs for which their propensity for risk-taking and their physical strength make them uniquely suited. Men are so seemingly unnecessary that we even have the luxury of denigrating them – of speculating whether we might have reached “the end of men.”

To begin to understand our society’s very conflicted feelings about manhood, I think it helps to imagine the code of manhood as a pyramid — like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but with manhood substituted for self-actualization pyramid.

In pre-modern times, the 3 P’s of Manhood represented what societies needed most from men. They were the tenets of being good at being a man. Protection, Procreation, and Provision were the vital imperatives that helped societies all around the world survive and grow. Protection served as the foundation for the code of manhood – nothing else was possible if men failed in this charge.

Looking back thousands of years, what lessons of masculinity can we learn from the most important Man to ever walk the earth? There are some feminists that believe that patriarchy was an intentional, evil plot by men all over the world to oppress women and keep them down. There are some misogynists that believe that feminism was an intentional, evil plot by women to dethrone and emasculate men.

I think they’re both wrong.

It seems like it’s popularly thought that for thousands of years patriarchy existed as part of nearly every culture on earth because people were too backwards and bigoted to realize what an unfair and oppressive system it was, and then finally, finally, in the middle of the 20th century, people became enlightened enough to rebel against the system and bring it down. I don’t think this is quite correct.

The reason feminism emerged when it did was because it could emerge when it did – in the most peaceful, comfortable, resource-rich environment in human history; it was a time when danger had completely receded from the perimeter, and when technology had developed to the point that most jobs could be performed just as well by women as by men.

Today’s society is in confusion on the subject of manhood and masculinity. Multiple definitions exist of what exactly masculinity is—from Duwayne Johnson (The Rock) to Fred Flintstone—and some people question whether there should even be such a thing as masculinity.

Modern psychology has introduced the idea that gender traits are nothing but a social construct. The influence of the homosexual lifestyle, mainstream media and the fashion industry has promoted an effeminate standard for males.

From wearing longer hair to an inordinate focus on fashion and style—many have wondered if traditional manhood and masculinity are gone. Today’s human ideas about masculinity and manhood are a far cry from the example Christ set in the flesh for all humanity, including males, to follow.

But the Bible states, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Yes, Jesus Christ came to earth as a male human and therefore is the standard of masculinity that every Christian male should strive to be. Today I want to examine three ways Jesus

Christ set the tone for masculinity.

1. Christ didn’t crack under pressure and discomfort.

The fourth chapter of Luke recounts Christ’s 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Despite being offered literally all that the world has to give (Luke 4:5), Christ stayed strong and showed the devil he was wasting his time.

Christ showed the same strength as He faced the prospect of a torturous death of pain and agony. Though He experienced anxiety because of the extreme pain He was facing, Christ had the strength and willpower to move forward and say, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Men must have this resolve—this commitment to do what is right no matter what the temptation or danger.

Masculinity, in its purest godly form, is this unbreakable will to obey God and lead in what is right, regardless of the cost in comfort or popularity.

Implications for men today:

Compromising what is right is simply not an option.

We must be convicted in what we believe and exercise the strength of character to make right decisions based on our beliefs.

This world desperately needs men (and women!) of conviction who will not compromise what is right and will uphold high standards of conduct.

2. Christ worked hard and always did what was necessary.

Even at an early age, Christ told His parents “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Once His ministry started, Christ was constantly at work: healing, teaching, correcting, rebuking, comforting and preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.

Christ said in John 5:17 that “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Whatever the need was, Christ made sure He filled it. Men are should aspire to be hard workers, making whatever necessary sacrifices for their families, mates and community.

When needs present themselves, masculinity goes to work and starts on solutions to problems and doing what is needed for situations.

There are times for rest, relaxation and recreation; however, masculinity is goal-focused and goal-oriented and respects priorities.

The Scriptures teach that our work and activities should always be done with our maximum effort:
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Prioritized responsibilities always come before wants.

We must keep our commitments and never let video games, sports, movies or any recreation interfere with what really matters in our lives (spiritual growth, relationships, jobs, serving, etc.).

3. Christ was bold and confident.

Despite how misguided “Christian” art portrays Jesus Christ, He was not a long-haired, pale, effeminate man who walked around in a white robe with a halo!

Christ was a strong, powerful and, at times, forceful man.

Christ stood up to the most influential religious and political authorities of His time and pulled no punches.

Matthew 23 records Christ fully revealing the hypocrisy, hatred and danger of the Pharisees’ doctrine. He did this with ultimate confidence and boldness. Christ showed physical force and strength when He responded to those misusing the temple to take advantage of people and defiling God’s temple (John 2:16).

Christ was no stranger to making important decisions; in fact, He prayed all night before choosing His 12 disciples (Luke 6:12).

Still, He made these bold and confident decisions because of His trust in God to guide Him. Admittedly, many times we are unsure as to whether we are doing what God wants us to.

Yet using the Bible as our compass and knowing that God is there to guide us and help us, we need to have the masculine trait of being “strong and of good courage” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Implications for men today:
Get the facts and step out on faith.

We must lead our families and communities with courage and not with uncertainty and fear. We must take the initiative when we are needed and be brave. We cannot be dominated by indecisiveness and timidity. We will protect and provide for our families, as God protects and provides for us all.

Christ was the only man who was really “the Man.” His example of masculinity can help men today break out of society’s many false ideas about what boys and men should be.

Instead of developing your manhood based on societal ideas, study the life of Jesus Christ and work to be the kind of Man He was!

Scripture Ref.

1 Peter 2:21
Luke 4:5
Matthew 26:39
Luke 2:49
John 5:17
Ecclesiastes 9:10
John 2:16
Luke 6:12
Deuteronomy 31:6