Gillette, a household name for men’s personal grooming products, has entered the masculinity debate by airing a commercial which unfortunately equates the word masculine with male chauvinism including aggressive and sexist behavior toward women. Further, the American Psychological Association in their guidelines for treating men and boys suggest that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.” This means manliness can be harmful to themselves and others. Some refer to it as “toxic masculinity.”
So, what is masculinity? It depends on who you ask. If you listen to the “leave-God-out-of-it” voices in our culture, the word masculinity is negative for the most part. Some of those negative stereotypes are chauvinism, a controlling attitude, anger, betrayal, abuse, abandonment, sarcasm and self-centeredness.
But if you define masculinity through the life of Jesus, the Perfect Man, it is healthy and positive. Jesus was the perfect Man physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, relationally, financially, vocationally and spiritually. Jesus clearly teaches that masculinity is not about appearance, position, popularity, or money.
As you look at Jesus, the perfect Man, through the eyes of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; you see Him consistently demonstrating the balance between strength and servanthood, truth and grace, confidence and humility, toughness and kindness, righteous anger and radical love, firmness and laughter. Jesus calls every man to be like Him and He empowers us through the Holy Spirit to live like He lived. Jesus Himself said: “I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:16). Biblical masculinity involves focusing your life on Jesus Christ and seeking to live like He lived, spoke like He spoke, feel like He felt and possess a godly and joyful attitude. Christian men must measure masculinity through Jesus alone.
There is great confusion in our culture on the definition and description of masculinity. How is a man supposed to act? Masculinity, as seen through the life of Jesus is meek, strength under God’s control; gentle; always obedient to God; humble; possesses the attitude of a servant; and compliments others. Biblical masculinity is compassionate; bold; responsible; respectful of and protective of women; vulnerable and not afraid to shed a tear. The Jesus kind of masculinity is money wise; loving and kind to children; stands on God’s Word; stands up for what is right; finishes what was started; celebrates with people; keeps his promises; and demonstrates an attitude of gratitude. Biblical masculinity is truthful; forgiving; confidential; and waits on God’s timing.
This kind of masculine spirit is driven by God’s mission; strives to be physically fit; expresses love to others; is honest about pain; works hard; and is committed to regular church attendance. A Jesus masculinity says “No” to temptation; admits a need for others; seeks to be a best friend; keeps his word; is there for people in need; values family meals; strives to be biblically correct, not politically correct; and passionately pursues purity.
When you measure masculinity through Jesus, Christianity becomes contagious to a man’s wife, children; family, friends and those who do not yet personally know Jesus. God wants you to measure your life not by comparing it to someone else’s, but by constantly looking to Jesus as our example. The more you look like Jesus, the more attractive you will be to your wife.
Gillette’s tagline for many years has been: “the best a man can get.” However, Gillette is around 2000 years late. Only Jesus, the Man of all Men can make you the best man you can be.
Dr. Jay Dennis is co-founder of Wingman Nation, a men's ministry, in Lakeland, Florida. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Center On Sexual Exploitation.