Back in October I saw this question on social media: Would you rather be a good man or be good at being a man?
How would you answer?
First of all, we must ask, “What is a good man?”
I did a Google search and found . . .
- 11 Qualities of a Good Man You Should Look For
- The 41 Best Qualities of a Good Man that Sets Him Apart From Lesser Men
- 20 Qualities Of A Good Man To Look For In A Relationship
- What To Look For In A Man: 31 Qualities Of A Good Man
Second, What does it mean to be “Good at being a man”?
Well, that begs the following questions: “What is a man?” and “What does it mean to be good at something?”
“What is a man?”
That will bring up all kinds of definitions and descriptions!
Wikipedia says, “A man is an adult male human.”
“A man carries cash. A man looks out for those around him — woman, friend, stranger. A man can cook eggs. A man can always find something good to watch on television. A man makes things — a rock wall, a table, the tuition money. Or he rebuilds — engines, watches, fortunes. He passes along expertise, one man to the next. Know-how survives him. This is immortality. A man can speak to dogs. A man fantasizes that kung fu lives deep inside him somewhere. A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. His job. It doesn’t matter what his job is, because if a man doesn’t like his job, he gets a new one.” (Esquire magazine website)
I Googled “Describe a man” and the first website said, “When it comes to talking about a guy, you may find yourself at a loss in looking for words to describe a man. Depending on your mindset for compiling the list of words, you might find many of the words used to describe a man can be used to describe just about any person. Get that manly feel across by using descriptive words generally reserved for men.”
Then, it gave words to describe a man physically:
Then, words to describe a man’s personality.
- good friend
- good guy
- hard working
And on top of all this, we have folk today trying to determine if they are a man, let alone, what is a man.
The second question is, “What does it mean to be good at something?” Does that mean you are a competent, skillful, MVP, intelligent, the best, accomplished, GOAT, successful, etc.?
The Scriptures describe a good man this way . . .
Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
- Man – strong man, warrior (emphasising strength or ability to fight)
Psalms 112:5 A good man deals graciously and lends; he will guide his affairs with discretion.
Micah 7:2 The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.
- Good – faithful, kind, godly, holy one
Acts 11:24 For he was a good man (Barnabas), and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
- Good (agathos) upright, honorable
Proverbs 12:2 A good man (ethical) obtains favor of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man (ethical) leaves an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
When you combine all the definitions, a “good man” is one who is gracious, giving, faithful, kind, godly, holy, ethical, upright, and honorable. In this, I believe we found some direction for the answer.
Our original question was, Would you rather be a good man or be good at being a man?
I would say, both! As we search the scriptures, we will find that we are to be a good man who is good at being a man and there is only way to see that accomplished. There is only one standard for manhood. There is only example of true goodness. There is only one who succeeded at being a man, a good man, a sinless man. We must look to the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He must first of all be your Lord and Savior and then the One Who lives His life out of you (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, transcendently & totally defines what is a good man.
- 1 Tim. 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
- Phil. 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man (in human form), he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
- John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
- Heb. 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus was and is the complete man—fully God, fully man!
This is describe in what is called the Hypostatic Union which regards the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. Jesus has two complete natures; one fully divine and one fully human. However, Jesus is not two persons, but only one person. So, Christ’s two natures are united in one person; the God-man, Jesus Christ. In the Hypostatic Union, Jesus’ natures retain their individual properties. His two natures are without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation. So, the Hypostatic Union is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus Christ.
On His divine side, He was and is fully God
- Heb. 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person (hupostasis). Jesus is the exact imprint of his Father’s nature. Jesus is very God of very God.
- Col. 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (NLT – For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.)
On His human side, He was and is fully man, and He experienced . . .
- human limitations such as hunger (Matt. 4:2) and weariness (John 4:6)
- the pain of weeping and results of death (John 11:35,38)
- agony in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 12:50; Heb. 5:7-10)
- suffering on the cross (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)
- full temptation (Matt. 4:1-10; Heb. 4:15)
- hatred (John 15:18 – If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.)
- ridicule, rejection, sorrows, grief, betrayal (Isa. 53:3 – He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.)
- prejudice (John 1:46 – And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.)
- friendship / fellowship (John 15:15)
- eating (w/ tax collectors and sinners) (Mark 2:15)
- learning and growing (Luke 2:40, 52)
So, to understand genuine manhood, we look to the Lord Jesus Christ Who lives in us to live His life out of us.
The wrestler Ric Flair used to boastfully say, “To be the man, you have to beat the man!” Here’s the truth—To be the man, you must surrender to the Man . . . the One living in you! Does Christ live in you?
Christianity is not imitation but participation.
We think that Jesus is our example; we think that discipleship is living in the gospels, following Jesus. And we have never progressed to the epistles; in the gospels they were with Christ, but in the epistles they are in Christ! Jesus said the relationship would change in the Upper Room discourse.
- John 14:17 – The Holy Spirit has been with you, but after Christ leaves, He is coming on the inside.
- John 14:19-21 – Jesus is coming to live in you.
- John 14:23 – The Holy Spirit, Christ, and the Father are going to live in you.
Too many of us are struggling in our Christian life because we have an idea of who Jesus is. We are trying to live up to a manmade standard instead of participating with Him daily and allowing Him to possess us. The Christ life is not one of “checking the religious boxes.” When Christ saved you, He came in on the inside to live His life out on His terms not yours. So, biblical manhood is you participating with Christ as He lives His life out of you. It is more than imitation.
Col. 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
So, the good man is Christ in you who is the only one good at being a man. Surrender daily and moment-by-moment to him.