What exactly is the role of a man?

Ryan Leatham

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes on social media to notice that men aren’t exactly the most popular right now. There are some good reasons for that; much of history shows us men have been guilty of abusing their power, taking advantage of others, and benefitting from gender inequality — to name just a few. But we’re not trying to say, “we don’t need no man,” because the reality is we need good men.

To understand God’s role for men, it’s important to remember the blueprint God used to create man in the first place.

“So God created mankind in His own image…” - Genesis 1:27a

The words and actions of Jesus should inform the role godly men play in our society today. Here are three places to start following Jesus’ example:

1. Learn to create environments for others to flourish

A well known story from the life of Jesus is the “Feeding of the Five Thousand” from John 6. A large crowd followed Jesus because they’d seen the signs He was doing on the sick. Rather than becoming annoyed at all the hub-ub, Jesus notices the crowd and asks where bread can be found so that everyone can eat. You likely know the remaining story, but the way the story ends is less memorable. Jesus, perceiving that the people were about to take Him and make Him their king, withdraws from the crowd and away from the limelight. Jesus understood that creating environments for others to flourish was not about being lifted up Himself. Jesus was a different kind of king: a servant king.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” - Philippians 2:5-7

Men do not need to grasp power for themselves. Cheap power is not what creates environments for others to flourish. Quite the opposite, really. By imitating Christ’s humility free from selfish ambition or vanity, we can ensure the betterment of those around us.

2. Lay your life down for your friends 

Perhaps there is nothing Jesus is known better for than His willingness to lay down His own life for us. There is no greater love than this, and Jesus said so Himself in John 15 when He foreshadowed what He was going to do for us. 

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

We see then that sacrifice is at the heart of love. If loving God is the primary role for us all, one way to do so is by loving what God loves: human beings.

3. Admit when we are wrong

Unlike Jesus, the one perfect man, the rest of us are all guilty of getting things wrong. But the hope we have in Jesus is that we can admit when we are wrong and receive God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of others. This is the model of humility, and it reminds us all to forgive as God forgives. Humility teaches men how to be whole (and hopefully how to learn from their mistakes).

You may observe that these roles are not necessarily unique to men, and wonder, “Who’s to say a woman can’t or shouldn’t do any of these things?” You would be right. 

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” - Genesis 1:27

From the beginning, God created both male and female in His image. Together, we now share Christ’s message of reconciliation to God as we bear His likeness through service, sacrifice, and love. It’s important for men to recognize their equal role in this, for the good of everyone around us.

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