rebelling against low expectations

What Defines a Godly Man?


What is a man?

It’s an important question, yet few seem to have an answer. Before I began researching for this article, I was pretty clueless myself.

We have a general idea of what a man ought to be, but most of it is very vague and untrustworthy.

You see, we face a dilemma. We’ve forgotten what it means to serve God through our manliness. We’ve lost our identity as godly men.

That’s a problem! As teenage guys, we are future husbands and fathers: future protectors and providers. Yet, we don’t know how to be good husbands and fathers.

And secular media isn’t helping.

Far from helping, I believe the secular media is causing much of the confusion surrounding masculinity.

Put simply, I think secular standards and guidelines for masculinity are distorted and wrong. We need to reform our manliness, and the world’s definition of manliness: we need to conform to God’s will.

True strength and true love

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

In the Greek text, being watchful, standing firm in the faith, acting like men, and being strong are not used as different concepts. They’re used as connected concepts that describe and give meaning to one another.

Therefore, acting like men is connected to being strong, to standing firm in the faith, and to being watchful.

Godly masculinity isn’t dull. It’s not without adventure, vigor, and chivalry: we can be a knight on a white horse, riding into battle with a sword in our hand and a psalm on our lips! We can be men.

But part of being a man, is love. Let all be done in love—we read. What does Paul mean by love? He defines love just a few chapters earlier.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Godly masculinity is about more than just strength. It’s about true strength and true love. In Jesus Christ, our role model, we find an example of true strength and true love.

Jesus Christ, Our Example

The first command God gave Adam was to be a ruler of the earth and all living things. The second command He gave Adam was to care for Eve. Adam failed. Jesus succeeded.

Jesus received the exact same command: rule the earth and love his bride (the church). In Matthew 27, we learn what that cost him. He gave his life for his kingdom, and his bride. Now, as Christian guys, we inherit the responsibility to mirror his life through ours.

Therefore, the defining characteristic of a teenage guy shouldn’t be his looks. It shouldn’t be his charisma, sports achievements, or academic accomplishments and abilities. The defining characteristic of a teenage guy’s life should be him as a mirror of Christ.

Through him we were made free, and for him we should live our lives!

The defining characteristic of a teenage guy shouldn’t be his looks, charisma, sports achievements, or academic accomplishments. The defining characteristic of a teenage guy’s life should be him as a mirror of Christ. Click To Tweet

In this time, when society is all about having a good time, we need to set an example. An example of the strength and discipline it takes to follow Jesus. An example of true strength and true love

Biblical masculinity is not about one or the other: it’s not about strength without compassion, or kindness without vigor. It’s not about fun without wisdom, or responsibility without heroism. Biblical masculinity requires us to be both.

Will you join me in being godly men?

What Defines a Man? is our final article in our three part series on godly masculinity and femininity. Be sure to check out part one and two as well!

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About the author

Pieter van Deventer

is a 19 year old child of God, living in Pretoria South Africa. He likes to read and he likes to drink coffee and he really likes to do both at the same time. He wanted to become a professional potato peeler, but that's not working out. He's currently a full-time theology student, and very excited about God's meaningful work through powerless men.

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By Pieter van Deventer
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →