The Essence of a Man
By Dr. Ken Matto


Some years ago I had the privilege of speaking to a group of men at a men's breakfast and this article is the result. The men's movement has come alive partly because of the ecumenical and ungodly Promise Keepers (PK) movement. PK unfortunately sacrifices biblical truth and doctrinal barriers for fellowship. To them a Roman Catholic and a saved Presbyterian are one in the same. The desires of PK are admirable, bringing men to a realized responsibility for family and personal growth, but their methods are unbiblical and should not be followed, since their Board of Directors are comprised of Roman Catholics and Vineyard Movement adherents.


There is definitely a need for men's ministry in the churches but it must be done from a biblical perspective, not from an ecumenical one. "Minority worship" is nowhere to be found in Scripture. I want to give 12 principles on how to become a biblical man, and this study is not geared only toward married men, but singles also. Single men have a place in the body of Christ too, and this must be recognized by those who are in leadership. I believe there is an overemphasis on family in the church today and it must be balanced out by offering teachings which include both marrieds and singles. If single men are made to feel inferior, especially on Father's Day when all the fathers stand up and take credit for what God did, then don't expect them to be overly enthusiastic about coming to church.


(Gen 30:1-2 KJV) And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. {2} And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?


Believe me, there are many times I have lost my enthusiasm for church, not God nor Christ, but the organized church. It has become unduly man centered by adopting all the Hallmark holidays. Well I have bellyached long enough so let us get into the study which I will divide into 3 parts.
How does the World Assess want a Real Man is?
When the world views a man, what is their criteria or their standard for making judgments? Do they say a man should live up to John Wayne? What about the makings of Clint Eastwood? Should a man be akin to Charles Bronson? Should he be as tough as Steven Seagal? Or does the world through TV give us their true view through characters such as Al Bundy or Homer Simpson? I want to offer six ways the world views a man:
1) Muscular
When the world views a man he should be rippling with muscles. He should have the perfect body with that coveted V-look on his back. His biceps should be at least 16 inches and he should be very strong, in other words the Steve Reeves look (of the 60's).
2) Ready to Fight
A worldly man should always be on guard to get into some type of fight to exhibit his manliness and to show others he "ain't gonna take nuthin from no one."
3) Sports Freak
A real man will know every sports statistic there is. Isn't it wonderful to come into work on Monday morning and have the company idiot telling you every play by play statistic from every game on Saturday and Sunday? Ask this guy if he knows the condition of his country and you will get the classical "duuuuh."
4) Insensitive to the need of others
The world sees a man as an island and can take care of every situation because he is so rugged. He doesn't bother himself with other people and their trivial problems. He is lauded for his toughness in every situation.
5) Emotionless
The rugged male will never cry or show any form of feminine emotions like care or concern. He is a stalwart male.
6) Sex Monger
The world is his domain and women are his prey. His male dominance demands that he conquer and bed every woman he can. The world and many women see men as just sex hungry predators.
The majority of men in this world are hard working men and do not behave like Hollywood portrays them. These six items I have listed, do not represent the true man.
The Lonely Male
The question then remains, why does the male seem so isolated and independent today? I wish to offer five fears that men have concerning their display in society.
1) Fear of Labels
If there is one thing our contemporary society is good for, it is labeling someone. No man wants to carry with them a label like homo, wimp, weak, mama's boy, etc. So to keep from being labeled, a man will keep himself from situations which may result in being labeled. This means he will not come close to anyone or anything which may cause him to be labeled.
2) Fear of Crossing Societal Boundaries
A. Men not allowed to cry
B. Men not allowed to hug or put arm around another male
C. True sympathy is unacceptable
D. Empathy must be for analytical purposes only, not for understanding
Probably one of the first shows on TV to portray that men have real feelings was Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon as "Pa" let the tears flow on many an occasion while always keeping himself as the strong head of the household.
3) Fear of Openness
This is the fear that others may discover you are not the tough guy that you have led others to believe you are. We can keep the cover on as long as we do not allow anyone into our private life. Many married men do not open themselves up to their wives fearing they will think less of them.
4) Fear of Triviality
We are threatened by deeds we believe are below our masculinity. Deeds such as changing the diapers, doing housework, cooking, cleaning, laundry and other such "feminine" duties. After all, shouldn't the man be only the bread winner and king of the castle?
5) Fear of Plateau Living
We are dissatisfied where God has placed us. We believe somehow we must progress beyond the place where we should be contented. So we become obsessed with work, hobbies, or sports to the neglect of family or spiritual fellowship with Christ.
While these fears may seem trivial to some, they are realities in the lives of males everywhere around the world. Now I would like to offer twelve principles from the Book of Proverbs on how to become a biblical man. When we follow the dictates of Scripture, there will be no fear of living an open life before others. You will be actually allowed to make a mistake without fear of others discovering it.
How To become a Biblical Man
1) Men of Wisdom
(Prov 1:5 KJV) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
If a man is to become wise, he is to listen and heed, so he can increase in learning. The wise counsel is found in the Scriptures. He should also receive wise counsel from other men who are saturated with Scripture so their answers would be based in the Bible and not personal opinions. This is why it is necessary for every man to be a student of the Bible. When it comes to the Scriptures, it is impossible to exhaust them.
2) Learn to Accept Criticism
(Prov 9:9 KJV) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
One of the hardest things to get passed a male ego is criticism and advice. We need to be able to accept criticism without sending up defenses. We cannot always be right on everything and when we need correcting, we need to accept it graciously and not with clenched fists.
3) Speak of Heavenly things too
(Prov 10:11 KJV) The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
One thing we can easily get caught up in, even at church is the majority of our conversation is about earthly things, not necessarily sports or work, but things which pertain to this world such as politics or world events. If we do not closely guard ourselves, things like these will begin to become more important in our lives than our responsibility to share the gospel with others and our spiritual involvement with others. Politics has almost the same level of importance in the Christian church as the gospel does and these things should not be. If our mouths are to be a well of life, it must be used in speaking of spiritual matters much more than earthly matters. While many speak of earthly matters, their real need is spiritual.
4) We must do Things in keeping with a Godly Testimony
(Prov 10:23 KJV) It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
We guys sometimes do not use our heads, even as Christians, taking unnecessary risks and chances. Sometimes we exhibit childlike behavior when we drive. I think men take more risks than women do for the simple reason that a woman who brings life into this world has a human being growing in her for 9 months and can feel that life, thus having a greater appreciation for life. A man cannot bear a child so to replace that privilege, we immerse ourselves in toys, such as cars, guns, sports, bungee jumping, snowboarding, etc. We need to be creative but sometimes we do not realize we may be hurting our testimony to the world. God expects us to have a healthy respect for life and not to tempt Him by any stupid actions or activities. Let us think twice about our actions because if we are to have the wisdom of God, we should not be as care free in attitude as the world.
5) We must show mercy as God shows it to us each day
(Prov 11:17 KJV) The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
If someone wrongs us or we are the victim of some type of situation, then we are to have mercy on the ones who hurt us. Mercy is a lost art. Remember the mercy God had and has on us on a continual basis. Do you not think God is stronger than you and if He decided not to show mercy to you, what a bleak situation you would be in!
6) We Must watch our Tongues
(Prov 16:27 KJV) An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
The world will swear and tell dirty jokes, their mouth will be abusive and nasty. We are not to emulate the world but our speech is to be seasoned with the fruit of salvation. There should be a notable difference between your speech and that of the world. Swearing does not make you a better or tougher man. I once read a saying, "swearing is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcibly." Good insight!
7) Learn to accept new Friends
(Prov 18:24 KJV) A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Sometimes it is easier to stick to a close knit group of friends rather than extending our horizons and widen our friendship base. A wide base of friends is a great asset to any man. I have friends in many areas of the country, simply because I went to Bible Conferences for many years and extended my friendship base from my local church to actually world wide. So don't fear to take in a new friend, they are probably God's gift to you but you don't realize it yet.
8) Every Transgression against us need not be answered
(Prov 19:11 KJV) The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
If someone deliberately attacks you or causes much consternation in your life, you need not retaliate in anger. As Christians we will be attacked from many angles and if we seek revenge, then we are no better than the offending party. This does not mean that if you are falsely accused of something, that you accept responsibility for it, rather it means that the majority of things that happen against us are petty. Those which are big things, should be answered but only in a God glorifying manner. The apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 6:7 KJV "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" Sometimes for our own health and well being, it is better to suffer loss. If someone falsely accuses you of something and they win by man's standard, do you honestly think God will let them get away with it?
9) Become Diligent in the Lord's Business and not petty Squabbles
(Prov 22:29 KJV) Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Did you ever wonder why God uses some men and he doesn't use others to their greatest potential? Many Christian men are sidetracked by things like sports and devote very little time to spiritual things and they complain when the pastor doesn't use them in the church. As Christian men we need to devote more time to spiritual things and if we have a family, then we need to devote time to the family. Also I believe this verse delivers the principle of being diligent on our jobs too. How many times have you ever heard others at your place of employment say, "let it go, somebody else will do it" or "no one else does it so why should I." The man of God needs to occupy the time wisely on the job too. Learn to work smarter and not harder and you will accomplish more.
10) Can You be Depended on
(Prov 25:19 KJV) Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
Are you the type of man who volunteers for everything but finishes nothing? Dependability is a lost art in today's world. If you are a person which is not dependable, then do not expect to be called on to do things at work or anywhere else. God likens you to a broken tooth and broken foot. A broken tooth is either removed or a lot of work is done to rebuild it. If you feel you have been removed from the mainstream of things, then check, you might be in line for a spiritual root canal and if you continually refuse to go to the dentist, then the infection will continue to grow. (He who has ears to hear)
11) Do you tend to hold grudges?
(Prov 26:21 KJV) As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Did somebody out do you on something or put you in your place? Or whatever? Are you good at holding grudges? A grudge is "a feeling of deep seated resentment or ill will." This is not a fruit of the spirit and if you are holding a grudge against someone, you need to go to that person and ask forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7 says we have the forgiveness of sins and we need to guard ourselves of imitating the unjust steward who was forgiven for much yet he forgave nothing (Matthew 18:28-34). Holding a grudge will also cause you much physical harm if you allow grudge holding as a way of life. The Bible says in Phil 3:13-15 KJV {13} Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, {14} I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. {15} Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
12) We must learn to control our tongue
(Prov 29:20 KJV) Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Not only must we watch what we say, we must also watch the timing of our words. I have always been eyed on jobs I held as one who did not care about the company simply because my work ethic is to study a situation before I offer a suggestion. I refuse to make a hasty decision which always has a negative ripple effect. If we look at this verse we see that even a fool is wiser than someone who makes his words hasty. Unfortunately we live in a society today that views a person as uncaring if their blood pressure is less than 300 over 200. As Christians we need to adopt the Nehemiah approach to situations and that is assessment before assemble. There always seems to be enough time to do something over the second time yet there is not enough time to do it right the first time. Be a Nehemiah and not a Dilbert!
Well I hope this study has helped you a little bit in realizing that becoming a biblical man is not that hard but it just takes reprogramming our minds from the world's definition of masculinity to the Bible's definition and that is "Strength with much Heart."
A Message to the Ladies
I just want to remind all you ladies out there who have boyfriends and husbands (not simultaneously) that as men we are only human. We need your feminine side and we need your affirmations. We make mistakes, we mess up, we act like fools sometimes. We need you to hold us, to love us, to be there for us because we are only flesh and blood and we also need as much love as you need. We need you to forgive us when we err and to help build us when the world throws us down. We are not islands nor are we continents. We may roar like lions yet we are only pussycats. Be the best help meet to us you can be and as Christian men we pledge to be the best leaders we can be.