If you were to conduct a poll on what the role of a man is in today’s world, you would probably get as many different answers as there were people questioned, dependent on their attitude, age and values.
Traditionally, a man’s primary role was viewed as the main breadwinner and disciplinarian, the silent macho type who prided himself on his physical strength and fortitude. The roles and expectations of a man have changed somewhat in today’s fast-paced society. It appears the main focus now is working to gather as many material possessions as possible, while at the same time trying to keep out of debt. Many modern men are pressured to keep up with the ever-increasing demands to buy the latest gadgets in order to keep up with our modern culture’s emphasis on materialistic gain.
Gone are the days when a man brought home the bacon and the woman stayed home to look after all the domestic chores. Today it seems both the man and woman have to work full-time just to make ends meet. Aside from helping out with domestic chores, most men are encouraged to be more open, and, in many cases, to play dual roles both on the domestic front and in the workplace. Today it seems a man is valued on his intellectual ability to say what is politically correct, not what is right. On the social scene there is a feminizing of the male image and confusion over gender roles.
Finally, there is Hollywood’s version of a man. We observe this view in the movies and sitcoms starring men who are womanizers, loud, opinionated and emotionally charged. In other cases, Hollywood’s version of a man is portrayed as timid and weak.
What should a man expect of himself?
What should matter most to a man is whether or not he lives up to the expectation of his Creator as outlined in God’s Word.
The value of a man in Scripture is not portrayed in material possessions, wealth or physical appearance. God’s Word speaks first and foremost about the importance of a man’s character and integrity. For God is not so much interested in a man’s intellectual ability, his education or his training as He is looking at the deep desires of a man’s heart.
Where does character come from?
One definition of character is shown in the Sermon on the Mount as the consistency to stick to the nuggets of truth and set priorities straight. Integrity is the quality of being complete and unimpaired. It comes from being completely obedient to the Ten Commandments and having a steady diet of God’s Word (1 John 2:5 1 John 2:5But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
American King James Version×; 1 Peter 2:2 1 Peter 2:2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:
American King James Version×). It is relying on the strength of God’s Holy Spirit to help us make the right choices in living out our Christian faith and in doing what is right, no matter what is or isn’t politically correct. Together, character and integrity flourish when a man trusts and depends on the strength of God (Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version×).
Character also comes from emulating the great men and women of the Bible who displayed the type of integrity and character traits all of us should develop in our lives. We can follow the example of men like Noah, who was a beacon of light in a dark generation. He stood out as a righteous man, willing to obey God when everyone else sinned. Abraham, too, was a great man of faith and a godly man in his generation.
Who can forget Joseph, who showed compassion, forgiveness and love for his brothers instead of revenge after they sold him into slavery. He also fled sexual temptation because of his reverence for God. Moses chose to obey the Lord rather than live a life focused on passing pleasures. Three young Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, stood up for their beliefs under the most severe persecution and threats. Daniel, as a young man in exile, would not compromise his standards, nor hide his faith.
One could go on to mention others who showed great character and integrity such as the psalmist David’s devotion to God in difficult circumstances; the young Stephen’s relentless faithfulness to Christ, even to death; and, of course, who can forget the apostle Paul’s hard work and boldness for the Christian faith under the most severe hardships?
What are some good character traits?
The Bible is full of examples of the character traits of a good man. One only has to read the book of Proverbs to see how godly wisdom and knowledge can shape our character and instill the kind of integrity God is looking for in a man. But perhaps the best place to look is 1 Timothy 3, which specifically outlines desirable characteristics of a man and his place in the Body of Christ. Let’s look briefly at these qualities stated for Church leaders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 1 Timothy 3:1-7  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
 One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
American King James Version×and apply them in a broader sense to all men.
A man is to be blameless. This does not mean a man cannot sin, for we have all sinned and come short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×). What it does signify is that a man must have a pattern of life in tune with biblical standards of behavior and conduct.
God’s Word speaks first and foremost about the importance of a man’s character and integrity.
He is to be a husband of one wife. There is no ambiguity here. A married man must honor his marriage vows and be faithful to his wife at all times. This includes not dabbling into any type of sexual immorality or pornography. His life is to be truly and wholly devoted to his wife, and he is not to lust after other women (Matthew 5:27-28 Matthew 5:27-28  You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
American King James Version×).
A man of character must be temperate. The word means “showing moderation and self-restraint.” A man who is temperate in his Christian walk does not lose his spiritual orientation, nor does he give into destructive extremes, but, rather, lives a balanced and steadfast life.
He is instructed to be sober-minded. This refers to the quality of being sensible and sharp in one’s thinking and actions, thereby exercising responsibility in making sound judgments and decisions.
He must be of good behavior and hospitable. A man should be trustworthy, respectable and honorable in all his actions, both in his public and private life, so his true character matches his reputation. The term hospitable refers to a man’s inclination to show kindness and empathy to friends and strangers alike and a willingness to help those in need. In today’s desensitized world, we all need this trait.
A man should have the ability to teach. To tactfully teach others about the Christian faith without showing arrogance and bigotry is truly a Christlike character trait. A man should not only have the discreet ability to teach others, but also be teachable himself if he is to grow and mature in Christ.
He is not to be a slave to alcohol or display violent behavior. A godly man is not the kind of individual who is controlled by alcohol. He does not abuse his own body, which is the temple of God’s Spirit. We are also instructed to be no longer drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit instead (Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
American King James Version×). Strife, violence and temper tantrums do not please God. This includes violence not only in actions, but also in our thoughts and intents. In fact, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 Matthew 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
American King James Version×).
He is described as gentle and not quarrelsome. A good man is to be gracious, kind and considerate, while showing the kind of etiquette that displays the utmost consideration for all human beings. One of the seven sins God hates is someone who is always stirring up trouble (Proverbs 6:16-19 Proverbs 6:16-19  These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him:
 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
 An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
 A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.
American King James Version×). We are warned about the folly of a quick temper causing a lot of quarreling and divisions (Proverbs 29:22 Proverbs 29:22An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.
American King James Version×). Therefore, a man should not be the type of individual who is always looking for an argument or stirring up trouble.
He should not be greedy for money nor covetous. To acquire wealth and material possessions is not wrong. Some of the most godly men of the Bible were wealthy, like Abraham and Job. However, it should not be an obsessive priority overpowering us and destroying our relationship with God. Both Jesus and Paul warned against a preoccupation with money (Matthew 6:19-21 Matthew 6:19-21  Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
American King James Version×; 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
American King James Version×). Also, Proverbs 22:1 Proverbs 22:1A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
American King James Version×advises us if we have a choice between a good reputation and great wealth, choose a good reputation.
A father should be the type of person who rules his own household well and has his children under submission. Many children are missing a father figure in the home today, and society is suffering for it. A man has the responsibility to make sure the relationship with his wife and children is good. He is to love his wife as much as he loves himself and to rear his children up in godly values.
A man of the house should be the one who is there for his children and who helps them in time of need. He should be a person his children can confide in. He is to respect and honor his wife and take on the responsibility of a good leader and manager of his home life. The words under submission do not mean a father is to use his leadership to force his children into obedience. Rather, he is to develop the kind of relationship with his children that builds love, trust and respect so the children want to learn proper behavior and etiquette. Proverbs 20:7 Proverbs 20:7The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
American King James Version×states children are fortunate if they have a father who is honest and does what is right.
Finally, he should have a good testimony among those outside of the Church. A man must have a good reputation in the community and display the kind of behavior seen as a good role model to young and old alike. His conduct should exemplify the very character of Christ Himself in showing a strong witness to others.
Our greatest role model
How did Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and the author and finisher of our faith, show strength of character and integrity? Simply put, Jesus lived His faith in complete devotion to the will of His Father in serving mankind.
God is not expecting a man to start out as a perfect, sinless individual… This is why He sent His Son to forgive our sins if we repent and believe in Him.
This included love and compassion for everyone (Mark 1:40-42 Mark 1:40-42  And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying to him, If you will, you can make me clean.  And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said to him, I will; be you clean.  And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
American King James Version×), speaking the truth about sin and hypocrisy (Matthew 23), taking time to pray (Matthew 14:23 Matthew 14:23And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
American King James Version×; Mark 14:32-42 Mark 14:32-42  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he said to his disciples, Sit you here, while I shall pray.  And he takes with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;  And said to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful to death: tarry you here, and watch.  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will.  And he comes, and finds them sleeping, and said to Peter, Simon, sleep you? could not you watch one hour?  Watch you and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.  And again he went away, and prayed, and spoke the same words.  And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither knew they what to answer him.  And he comes the third time, and said to them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise up, let us go; see, he that betrays me is at hand.
American King James Version×; John 17), refusing to yield to temptation and drawing strength from Scripture (Matthew 4), hating sin but showing love and mercy to the sinner (John 8:1-11 John 8:1-11  Jesus went to the mount of Olives.  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.  And the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the middle,  They say to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what say you?  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, even to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the middle.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.
American King James Version×), following through on His commitments (John 12:23-33 John 12:23-33  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.  He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour.  Father, glorify your name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to him.  Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die.
American King James Version×), serving others (Matthew 20:28 Matthew 20:28Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
American King James Version×; John 13:1-17 John 13:1-17  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;  He rises from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he pours water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.  Then comes he to Simon Peter: and Peter said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet?  Jesus answered and said to him, What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter.  Peter said to him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash you not, you have no part with me.  Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all.  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, You are not all clean.  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said to them, Know you what I have done to you?  You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
American King James Version×), setting His priorities straight (Matthew 5 through 7) and having a forgiving spirit (Luke 23:34 Luke 23:34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
American King James Version×). He truly was and is man’s greatest role model.
Let our light shine
In summary, God is not expecting a man to start out as a perfect, sinless individual, for He knows to err is human nature. This is why He sent His Son to forgive our sins if we repent and believe in Him (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×). However, God does expect every man to be a beacon of light in a world of darkness and to be the best role model he can be. He should strive to allow God’s Holy Spirit to mold and shape his character in working out our Creator’s great purpose in our physical lives. Then, He will give us eternal life and rulership with Him in His great Kingdom to come.
To be led by God in seeking the very purpose of why we were born and to allow Him to shape our character like His Son is indeed an honorable role for all men.