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Discover The Best Biblical Definition of Manhood

Manhood, what does it mean to be a man? The concept of manhood carries diverse interpretations in contemporary society. In some African traditions boys are enrolled in initiation schools aimed at the transition of boyhood to manhood. Upon the successful completion, individuals are officially recognized as men.

In today’s society, the definition of a successful man revolves around financial prosperity. If one were to enquire the aspirations of numerous young boys regarding their future a prevalent theme would emerge. Many would express desire for sports cars, luxurious residences, timepieces, and similar symbols of financial prosperity.

At the core of this response lies an innate need and desire to be successful. Moreover, in today’s life, possession of these items and wealth deems a man to be successful. The phrase “be a man” is commonly heard among peers, highlighting societal expectations. This article explores biblical principle that define the essential traits of true manhood.

From Boyhood To Manhood

1. Key Elements For Successful Manhood

Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and appointed Joshua to lead the nation into the promised land. With this leadership role to play the Lord instructs Joshua as follows:

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I will give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. This is my command – be strong and courageous! (Joshua 1:6-9).

These four verses underscore three key elements essential for successful manhood:

1.1 To Be Strong and Courageous

The LORD mentions this three times to underscore its profound significance. To be strong is not solely about physical power; rather, it is mostly about inner confidence and resilience. Courage refers to having the bravery to do something that is frightening and daunting.

The story of David and Goliath is an acute display of both strength and courage. David display of strength and courage is evident in his speech and actions, he confidently assures Saul that he will defeat the Philistine giant and faces him with bravery, ultimately killing the giant (1 Samuel 17)

1.2 To Have a Purpose

The Lord gives Joshua the reason he must be strong and courageous and its for his divine purpose: to lead the people to possess all land. Once a man has identified his purpose, he must embody the strength and courage to fulfill it. The achievement of purpose requires dedicated effort rather than mere wishful thinking. A life devoid of purpose is meaningless, individuals tend to meander through life without honing any particular skill.

1.3 To Obey God’s Word

The last element for successful manhood is to obey God’s word. God assures Joshua that if he does meditates and obeys God’s word, only then will he be successful.

2. The True Definition Of Manhood

From the above analysis, it is deduced that a male individual has progressed from boyhood to manhood after:

The successful identification of one’s purpose and the pursuit of its fulfilment through formidable strength and courage whilst God’s word is obeyed and applied throughout.

3. Biblical Examples of Manhood

The inclusion of these three elements in a man’s life marks a significant shift from boyhood to manhood. This transition is also unrelated to age. David was 15 years when he displayed all these qualities and can deemed a man. Moses began to live a purposeful life, of leading the nation of Israel out of Egypt, in his old age. Thus he became a man at the age of 80.

3.1 Adam

Adam displayed all the three elements of being a man. His purpose was to tend and watch over the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). He works to give names to all things God created – birds, livestock and wild animals. Everything God created, Adam gave it its name. This may have been an insurmountable task but was achieved with strength and courage (Genesis 2:19-20). Adam was instructed to obey one Law in Genesis 2:16-17, which he did successfully only until the woman deceived him.

3.2 Jesus

Jesus became a man at the age of 30 when he began his ministry, the four Gospels demonstrate how he fulfilled his purpose with great confidence and courage. He overcame temptation, confronted the religious leaders of his time and was beyond reproach for he obeyed God’s word throughout his life. Discover more on how to live a balanced life inspired by Jesus.

3.3 Solomon

When David was about to die, he gave the same charge to his son Solomon who was to become the next king of Israel (purpose) in 1 Kings 2:2-3, “Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirement of your LORD your God and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go”.

3.4 Timothy

Similarly, Paul charges the same to Timothy when he’s about to die, in his letter where he writes, “But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady] do the work of an evangelist, fulfil [the duties] your ministry”. The last charge Jesus gave to his disciples just before he was crucified has the same elements in John 16:33.

3.4 David

One may counter that they’ve observed many ungodly “successful” men amass money and wealth, which is true, not all rich men follow God’s word. But it is a delight to share with you that following one’s purpose brings prosperity. David is a case in point, when he was tending the sheep, with strength and courage he killed lions and bears that wanted to devour his sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36). When he went to war, he did so by courageously fighting and destroying his adversaries in the battles he was commissioned to lead. Thus, he started as a shepherd boy to becoming a King.

4. The Effect Of Men Disobeying God’s Law

It’s important to understand how life changing it can be when a man disobeys God’s Laws. In life there’ll be distractions coming from many directions determined to deter a man off course. When a man strays the consequences are dire, his misdeeds also affect his wife, children, community and even the next generations.

This is exemplified when Adam sinned against God by eating the fruit of the middle of the garden. It was only when Adam ate the fruit that both he and his wife realized were naked and that the Spirit of God had departed from them. Adam was thrown off course it took 76 generations to correct through Jesus coming on earth and dying on the cross.

King Saul’s disobedience also exemplify how disobedience to God has dire consequences, not only did the Spirit of God depart from him but also his offspring where no longer in line to become heirs to the throne.

5. How To Stay Committed To God’s Word

Even one’s immediate family may throw a man’s life’s journey off course, but we see a remarkable way to avert this in the life of Job. Job was an obedient man with a wife and 10 children and whom God had blessed to become the richest man in the area.

God allowed Satan to test Job’s obedience by bringing calamity over his life – he loses all his wealth, his children die, and he is struck with boils from head to toe. His wife said this to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die”, (Job 2:9). She tested his inner self by questioning his strength and confidence to maintain his integrity and demanded Job to disobey God and die for the calamity that was set upon his life was too heavy to endure.

But Job’s response is that of wisdom: “should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” so in all this Job said nothing wrong”, (Job 2:10). Job meant that he will endure the calamity with all courage and strength and never yield to disobeying God. In the end God blessed Job in the second half of his life with double of what he lost. This is also testament to the faithfulness of God word that obeying his commands leads to success.

6. Concluding Remarks on Manhood

In the beginning of this article, I guessed that many young boys would see success in a particular way. But from the word of God, a successful man is one who is courageously living a purposeful life guided by and obeying the word of God, it has nothing to do with what you own, what country you live in. Paul was purposed to preach the Good News to the Gentiles, he encountered persecution, and many obstacles as he travelled to several regions preaching. He ended up being imprisoned, yet he continued to preach the Gospel by writing letters to the Churches in various regions. This signifies that a man’s purpose and its fulfilment is not limited by anything.

We deem Paul to have been a successful man because he managed to fulfil and accomplish his life’s purpose. It is no wonder towards the end of his life he says, “I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve finished the race”.

Using the same logic, Jesus is also deemed to have been a successful man when he lived here on earth. His purpose was to preach the Good News of the kingdom of God and to lay down his life on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Before he breathed his final breath on the cross he said “It is finished” meaning his purpose in life has been fulfilled and complete. This is what a successful life well lived looks like – courageously fulfilling one’s purpose and obeying God’s word throughout.

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