The definition of manhood is seldom agreed on and how it manifests depends on who is presenting the topic. Today, I would like to tackle the topic of manhood with compassion, because men are a divine creation who need our encouragement and love. Here, we will celebrate men and lift themup as we approach the topic of Character as it relates to the development and identification of great men. Regardless of whether you are reading this blog from a biblical or a secular perspective, we all understand that men were created to love and to lead. We understand traditional roles and we understand modern deviations from this today, BUT, we understand the Biblical role of man and we won’t forget it! It’s laid out in Genesis and we see it throughout the Bible. Manhood is perfectly modeled in Jesus Christ.
We also know that men have an innate desire to excel in the building of a healthy marriage, become masters of their trade and profession, and to provide stellar leaderships to those around them. This, in essence, is manhood.
In secular society and even in practicing Christian households, more and more we see men taking a stagnant position rather than progressing into their manhood role. This is evidenced by increases in marital conflict and a rising divorce rate, the rise in single, female-led households, and the steady increase of crime and corruption in positions of leadership and authority where respect for fine character in men has been trompeled on and diluted by feminism, by crafty marketing and advertising targeting women, and even by a man’s own negative self talk or family culture.
Although these problems exist, a man’s evaluation of his character can be the turning point; a re-direction of the mind, heart and soul that is imperative for attaining professional and personal satisfaction and successes through character building goals and activities is a must for manhood. Making a plan for developing a positive character brings abundant richness and reward in all areas of a man’s life and it is a goal that is often overlooked or snubbed out.
Character is the solid bedrock of manhood and a good character or bad one affects everyone and everything around it. Character is the expression of a man’s inner most thoughts, his disposition, intentions, desires, and actions, predictability, dependability, and it has a profound impact on women (or, even daughters, nieces – anyone there is a young woman looking up to a man or looking to a man to show his authority and ability to lead.
By understanding what character encompasses, we’re able to see how good character and the act of character-building brings countless blessings into a man’s life. Women – you have a huge stake in helping your man (or the young men in your life – sons, nephews, etc.) build character through affirmation, affection, respect, commitment, and so much more. Character begins developing at an early age and it is honed throughout a man’s life and profoundly affects his ability to provide effective leadership in every area of his life.
However, complicated one’s character may seem, how a man chooses to develop his inner self (his character) begins with understanding that man is answerable, first, to himself and, from here, the process of stellar character can begin to development. You can’t change or perfect what you don’t identify and acknowledge as important or necessary. Same goes for building a good character. It is what it is now until you take heart about the matter and then action.
Essentially, character has a lasting effect on our lives. The Bible teaches that women shall be led by man whom God chose as leaders over his creation here on earth. What, then, is most important to understand about the healthy development of sound character and effective leadership skillsin man?
Below is a poem which illustrates the profound importance of self-evaluation in the character development of men:
This poem was written in 1934 by Dale Wimbrow, it tells the story of the importance of a man’s character.
When you get all you want and you struggle for wealth,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your mother, your father, or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
but the man in the glass says you're only a bum, if you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world, down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass."
As the poem suggests, effective leadership cannot take place absent of man’s personal respect of himself and without a continual commitment to critical self-analysis and a commitment to adjust the current character-state for the better! Manhood begins developing when one can look in the mirror and recognize the qualities of honor, respect, dignity, and integrity reflecting back at him.
Below is a story by an unknown author that drives the point of positive character-building:
“A man heard that a Sage (in classical philosophy, a Sage was often portrayed as a wise man of virtue) was in the village and went to meet him. He was confused when he saw the man over the next few days pull out a mirror and look into it a number of times a day. He thought to himself “How can this man be wise? He must be so preoccupied with the way he looks that he has to carry that mirror all the time. He should not worry about his appearance. It’s what’s inside that counts. I think I must be wiser than him!” He decided to be bold and ask the so-called “wise man” why he was always looking in the mirror. The elder pulled the mirror from his bag and said, “I use it whenever I feel the impulse to find fault with somebody else for a problem I’m having. I pull out the mirror and look into it and it shows me the source of my problem as well as the source of its solution.” Looking within to find our flaws and issues so that we can design solutions is an act of courage, the beginning of wisdom, and a means to ensure good relationships. Ultimately, this practice is a source of joy.”
Reflecting on one’s personal identity and making an honest assessment of character – reflecting on weaknesses and strengths, is imperative for self-improvement and for healthy personal and professional relationships to take flight. If you are a woman, you’re probably paying attention now. When a man perceives his marriage in this same manner, the integrity of his family unit has a greater potential to stay intact and thrive. Ultimately, when a man experiences a sense of pride and humility with who he is in Christ he can then achieve peace, respect and a sense of safety and acceptance from his most cherished relationships. He is better capable to invest himself in activities and amongst the people who respect the qualities of good character.
I was listening to a very sweet and simple song on YouTube recently worthy to share and glean some wisdom and light from as I explore the topic of character with you, and I explain its necessity in effective leadership amongst men and for entering into manhood. The song is titled, “Mama’s Song”. Besides the video being beautiful to watch and eliciting warm feelings of love, honor, and respect for all of the good men in this world when played, the message in this song is important to catch and it is very clear; within our most valuable relationships, (that with God/High Power/Life Force, etc.) and with our spouse and children, positive character traits such as treating others with respect and keeping promises become some of the many cornerstones of character (a sense of trust, honor, respect, leadership, ability to love, commitment, loyalty). This is what the song is all about. It is in the most intimate of relationships with another human being that we get to see our good or harsh character reveal itself and where we determine, if we are honest with ourselves, where we need to make out character adjustments. It is never too late to start building a better reputation (good character) or to be reminded that reflection of how others perceive us is an important attribute in the maturation process for entering into manhood.
Carrie Underwood – Mama’s Song (Official Video)
Date: September 23, 201
Our character is our life currency. As the song portrays, a woman needs a good man and striving to be a good man of noble character is honorable and respectable in any situation and through relationships with all individuals.
Building a good character is not limited by cultural or socio-economic constructs. It is an equal opportunity aspect of humanity and it is the one asset that cannot be taken away from us and which, therefore, we should guard carefully. Below are some positive attributes of good character worthy of personal reflection in your own life as you move forward in your own personal character identity development.
Character Attributes of Manhood
A man with discipline, self-control and the ability to maintain a positive disposition and sound thought-processes that guide him in decision-making(healthy choices) is trust-worthy. A trust-worthy man does not wear masks or pretend to be someone he is not in order to impress, manipulate, or control situations, people, or outcomes.
How does trust-worthiness look? Be transparent with those you love or care about with who you are, where life has taken you, and what your goals or intentions are.
An honest man admits when he is wrong and is silent in assigning blame to others.
How does honesty look? Tell the truth even when you may suffer harsh consequences. Practice the art of silence before going on the defensive.
A courageous man takes action in spite of the fear he feels or the backlash he may endure when stepping out in courage. He is willing and ready to act, despite feelings of anxiety or worry.
What does courage look like? Protect the people you are responsible for in your life. When you are overwhelmed, scared or frustrated, don’t run. Work through difficult problems by asking for help and encouragement from others.
A man with self-control has the ability to exercise restraint over one’s impulses, emotions, or desires at the appropriate time.
How does self-control look? Think before you act and think before you speak. Consider all scenarios, gain clarity in ambiguity and do not allow the flesh to overcome rational, prudent thought and action.
A man who has a reverent (worshiping and respectful) feeling toward God, his Higher Power, or a Life Force above himself is both God-fearing and God-loving.
How do you grow in your reverence for God? Study the Word of God. Find a place that you can frequent for dedicated learning and the receiving ofTruth and wisdom. Ask God for help in your life and do not make idols out of others.
A man who sees another individual’s struggles, who is without judgement, and expresses genuine concern and empathy, and offers help, prayer and encouragement is a man of compassion.
What does compassion look like? Show empathy, be the first to engage in the lives of others; listen, and then listen some more.
A man who does not boast about his victories, riches, reputation, and successes to others is a man of virtue and respect. A man who acknowledges his weakness and failures as a starting point for improvement, reconciliation or redemption is a man of a humble heart.
How does one become morehumble? Stop self-centered thoughts and actions. Think of others needs first and be the first to offer help.
A man who is generous in prayer, provision, and/or service and who does not give of these things for recognition or reward is a man of generosity.
What does generosity look like? Be sincere in your gifts and service. Expect nothing in return for your kindness, effort, time, or money.
A man who is faithful, dedicated, and committed to being consistent in his kind, gentle, generous, and fair treatment of others is loyal.
What does loyalty look like? Have an attitude of devotion toward others. Display a sense of support in your profession and offer both respect and enjoyment of your workplace to the public. Affirm your spouse and withhold criticism and negativity. Be dependable and don’t break promises.
I end this post with a scripture of encouragement to all men who are attempting to build or re-evaluate their current character in an effort tostrengthen relationships or walk more closely in relationship with God, their Higher Power, Life Force, etc. The Bible teaches that man struggles with the balance of good character against bad character traits. Good character does not mean man is perfect. James 1:19-27 teaches that we are all capable of and instructed to undergo personal character growth and development. It is my hope that men understand that there is a faithful God who never loses hope of love for each male creation He brings into the world. Man was created and given the first task of great leadership on earth – to manage the land and animals in it and to be a great leader to his wife, family, and for the good of the world for which he was born into in flesh. Let us encourage the men in our lives and pray together for manhood and all that entails in the process of character identity and moral character development.
James 1:19-27 (The Message) reads:
19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life! - even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
However, this message has moved you or encouraged you or whether it relates to you or someone you love, know that every one of God’s great creations (THIS IS YOU!) can be changed, restored, or perfected right here on earth when we first humble ourselves in our imperfection and humanity before our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let’s place ourselves – our mind, our body, and our soul in rational and spiritual place where we can see and accept our needs to be changed – where we truly long for eyes to see and to be gifted everything God has for us for a full and purposeful life of Victory.
Our men are Godly examples and models to the world and we raise you up right here and right now and celebrate you. Thank you, Jesus for men. May this video encourage every man and remind you all who God made you in the image of.Man of Your Word by Maverick City- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TrVCZF-4pI