In the last post, we saw three things that help us understand masculinity: that God is real, that He created out of love and not out of need, and that He is intentional. We saw that those things shape what a real man is and does. Let’s dig into three others now.
God remains involved in the world He made
In Christ, Paul says, “we live and move and have our being (Act 17.28).” And in Colossians 1, “For by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” He didn’t make us then abandon us. No, we exist “in Him,” meaning that our existence is sustained by His power. And that’s the clear declaration from Colossians 1.17: in him, all things hold together.
He hasn’t left us to fend for ourselves. He hasn’t left creation to crumble around us. He is here. He is sustaining all things. We see this in a really intimate way in Psalm 3:5: “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” You wouldn’t even wake up in the morning if the Lord wasn’t actively involved in keeping you alive.
And so, real men have staying power. That doesn’t just mean that they don’t abandon their families, though that’s certainly true, but they also bring a sustenance to those around them. They aren’t just present, but they are involved in such a way that life flourishes around them. They hold things together. They are a safe place in which others can live and move and have their being.
God takes all responsibility for what has been, what is, and what will be
Lamentations 3.37-38 asks, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” Talk about responsibility. Good and bad…that covers everything. The Most High is in control. He is actively involved, and he doesn’t shirk His responsibility. And when mankind questions His intentions or His righteousness in what He does, He doesn’t run away, but He answers them.
He comes to Job in a whirlwind to show how good and right He has been in everything that occurred in Job’s difficult circumstances. He comes to Habbakuk when that prophet questioned whether God knew what He was doing. After hearing from the Lord, all Habakkuk could say as he watched devastation surrounding God’s people was,
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”
We look at the world and think, “man, this place is a mess.” But because He’s fully sovereign, we can declare, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8.28).”
Therefore, real men take responsibility. And if you’re married, you take double responsibility. Jesus took upon himself responsibility for all the sins of His bride, the Church. And so men, even when it’s the fault of your wife, it’s still your responsibility. You own it, you address it the way Jesus did, by giving all of Himself. We’ll talk more of this in a later chapter.
I’m made in God’s image
You are made in the image of God. That could actually be translated “as the image of God.” You are meant to image forth God in the world. People should look at your life and know something true about God. Perhaps they see your kindness, your self-sacrifice, your tenderness, or your bravery. And even if they don’t recognize it, they’ve seen a reflection of the attributes of God.
Genesis 1.26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So, one point about the image of God is that it plays out in how humanity leads creation. It is representational. You are the image of God, therefore, have dominion.
Of course, God’s dominion is a loving, self-giving rule, not a dominating, smash-and-grab sort of rule. So, the image of God isn’t just about our representation of God in our actions, but it also includes the idea of relationship. He made man in His image – MALE AND FEMALE. It wasn’t good for Adam/Man to be alone. Why? Because a single, solitary individual couldn’t reflect a God that is 3 persons united in love. So, when man and woman (two people) become one flesh, they image the God who is Father, Son, and Spirit (three persons) who are one God!
So, those made in the image of God rule, but they do it in a fruitful way. They are meant to bear fruit. Why? Because that’s what God is like. He gives life. He overflows. He is a bright, shining Sun who warms the world. He’s a fountain that can’t stop spilling over. So, being made in the image of God requires multiplication. That’s why it took male and female to really pull it off.
So, men ought to have dominion – a self-sacrificing, servant-hearted rule. A my-life-for-yours reign. And it should be fruitful and life-giving. What would our relationships look like if men lived out the reality that they are made in/as the image of God?
So, at the heart of every real man is a delight, a relishing, in the God – the Triune, true, and living God – of the Bible, who made him and all things. If that is missing, nothing else in the Model will work. He is the foundation of what men were always meant to be. So, again, our the core component of masculinity, then, is authentic, happy worship of the God of the Bible.