As I write this, you are still a newborn. Your life is filled with wonder as you ingest new information every second. Soon that wonderment will make you inquisitive. You will ask where you came from, are there monsters in your closet, is Mommy a girl, and am I a boy.
Eventually, your innocent, whimsical questions will turn very real, and some will be difficult to answer. One question I anticipate only takes four words to ask: “What is a man?”
The answer will take a bit more.
When you ask it, I will point us both to an authority higher than myself. We will look at Scripture to see how God describes a man in Psalm 112, where He gives several characteristics of what a man is.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
The blessing promised here is not material wealth but an understanding that God is worth fearing. So many in our world have a small picture of God, a picture that He is not worth fearing. But the God of the Bible should be greatly feared, respected, honored, and loved. Only in relation to that big God will you begin to understand what a man is.
… who greatly delights in his commandments!
Be careful not to view God’s law the same way you do your chores. Your chores are set to make you a reliable, hardworking person. God’s law does much more. It shows you God’s character because He perfectly follows His perfect law. It also shows our need for a Savior because we are incapable of following His law on our own. Allow the law to warm your soul to the knowledge of God, not cool your heart by focusing on rules.
His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
You may never know great success and wealth. But you are to provide for your family the things that money cannot buy, including wisdom, faithfulness, security, safety, dependability, a godly example, and so much more that cannot be purchased.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
God equally treasures these three characteristics: grace, mercy, and righteousness. Each deserves a discussion to itself; strive to be defined by these three words.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.
In business and in life, be generous with your time, speech, knowledge, and finances. Equally important is to be a man of integrity. Deal justly with those you work for and those who work for you.
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
Our faith is not in a spouse, child, employment, or government. Each one will disappoint you at some point and be a bearer of bad news. But God’s goodness and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. Trust that He is still good, He is still faithful, and He is still sovereignly God, no matter what comes our way.
This is part of what a man looks like. As I do my best to train you in this, know that I will fail. In those times, we will return to this Scripture because this is the standard of manhood for us both.
I am dedicating my life to intentionally helping you grow into manhood. But know that even without realizing it, you are teaching me to be a better man, something you began the day you were born.
Editor’s Note: The above originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of AFA Journal.