What is a Man?

This coming Father’s Day will be the first I ever celebrate without my father, who died July 1st of last year after a long battle with cancer. Dads are important, as are all men within the community of believers, whether fathers or not. They teach important stuff like what it means to be a man, if you’re a boy, and how delightful and cherished you are, if a girl. When a man reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father, that masculine affirmation gives us the courage to step into the identity God has had for us from the beginning. It clears our vision and straightens our walk. Men are vital to the life of every community.


Genesis 1:27 says, “…In the image of God he created him; male and female…(NIV).” Dr. Larry Crabb of NewWay Ministries says that the writer of Genesis chose the Hebrew word “Zakar” for male. Zakar also means “remember” and, as such, is what’s known as a homophone or a word that is pronounced the same as another word but with different meanings. In addition, a homophone is often used as a pun or play on words that is intended to enrich the reader’s understanding of what is said. Also, in those days, a Zakar was the name of a cabinet member in the king’s court whose primary duty it was to ‘remember what the king said and to remind him of that.’ Apparently, the writer’s intent by using ‘Zakar’ was to say that a man isĀ someone who remembers what God says and has the courage to move into the lives of others with that truth.


In Genesis chapter three, the scriptures strongly suggest that Adam was standing nearby listening to the conversation between the serpent and his wife. In that moment, instead of remembering what God had told him and moving into that situation with the truth, he became passive andĀ surrendered his masculinity. Who knows why? Maybe he felt confused or overwhelmed. After all, this probably was his first experience with temptation. Or maybe he just didn’t know what to do and instead of risking a mistake, he did nothing.


Do you ever feel confused when your wife wants to talk about some of the problems in your marriage or express her feelings about something you’ve done? Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, not knowing what to do with your teenager who’s out of control? Does your mind go blank when your wife’s in one of those moods and you’ve convinced yourself that whatever you say or do will be wrong? What do you do in those situations? Withdraw? Attack? Shut down? Try to stifle her? Unfortunately, in our culture, we men expect to be the problem-solvers, to have the answers for everything. We rarely ask for directions–whether its to put something together or to reach our destination. And yet, no where in the scriptures do I read that God intended for men to live our lives that way–to know exactly what to say or do in every situation before engaging others.


When Jesus walked this earth, He only did what the Father told Him to do (John 8:28-29). He spent time in prayer listening to the Father and, when He got up from that place, He went out and remembered what God said and moved into the lives of others with that truth. This is the picture of masculinity. In His human form, emptied of all heavenly glory, Jesus didn’t have all the answers. He didn’t always know what to say or do. But He spent time with the One who did. I’m the most masculine when I don’t have a clue what to do or say and yet I still move toward my wife or children or others with the truth of what God’s told me, offering myself instead of manufacturing an answer. The truth I share may not be the specific answer to a specific problem, but I move into their lives trusting that when I walk as man, fully masculine, God will meet me there with the answers I so desperately seek. At the time, the only truth I may remember is that God will “never leave me nor forsake me” or that I am to “love (my) wife as Christ loved the Church.” But I hold on to that truth and move toward others.


In this short clip, Dr. Larry Crabb speaks to the importance of reflection, of men asking themselves probing questions to discover what’s in their heart.

What is the Essence of Masculinity?



Men face numerous difficulties trying to parent their children. In this short clip, Dr. Crabb challenges men not to retreat when feeling inadequate but to have the courage to move toward your child.

What are the Challenges for Men Today as Fathers?



Father, Help me as a man to remember what You’ve said to me in prayer and from your Word, and give me courage to move into the lives of others with Your truth. And despite any uncertainty or confusion on my part, provide me with the strength to give of myself to others–not to withhold or push away–and to trust You will meet me there. Amen

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