“The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6, NASB).
As both the Son of God and Son of Man, there is no greater model of authentic manhood than Jesus. I’ve observed 10 qualities of authentic manhood I believe are instructive to men—and women—today. Let’s take a look at them:
1) Jesus allowed the Father to affirm His identity. Before Jesus faced the devil in the wilderness and before He ever performed one miracle, He was affirmed by His Father: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17, KJV). A man exhibits authentic manhood when he allows the Word of God and the Spirit of God to affirm his identity as a son.
2) Jesus was focused on His Father’s business. Even at the young age of 12, Jesus possessed a keen sense of awareness that He was on an assignment given to Him by the Father: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?" (Luke 2:49). While others were busy about the normal activities of life, Jesus gave Himself to discovering God’s plan for His life on earth. A man exhibits authentic manhood when he is focused on his God-given assignment.
3) Jesus practiced self-control. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted in every category of sin and knows what the “pressure of the flesh” feels like, yet He did not yield to the pressure—showing us that we can endure temptation and do not have to yield. A man exhibits authentic manhood when he practices self-control of his body, his thoughts and imaginations, and his words.
4) Jesus lived dependent upon God. Although Jesus was endowed with miracle-working power and supernatural wisdom, He did not act independently of God. He was completely dependent upon the Father’s direction. He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do" (John 5:19). A man exhibits authentic manhood when he lives dependent upon the Lord’s direction in the various areas of his life.
5) Jesus was His brother’s keeper. Conscious of Satan’s desire to destroy His disciple Peter, Jesus did not stand idly by but prayed for His friend and encouraged him: “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee" (Luke 22:31-32). A man exhibits authentic manhood when he looks out for the spiritual welfare of his brothers in Christ.
6) Jesus walked in humility. Although Jesus was “in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6), He laid aside His rights to operate like God, became a man, and died on a cross to save His creation. The Creator dying at the hands of His creation—there is no greater display of humility. A man exhibits authentic manhood when he humbles himself for a cause beyond and greater than himself.
7) Jesus expressed His need for others. In His greatest moment of temptation, Jesus was honest about His need for help: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me" (Matt. 26:38). Jesus demonstrated the strength to be transparent with those He could trust and did not pretend that everything was OK. A man exhibits authentic manhood when he is honest to express his need for help with other godly men.
8) Jesus was zealous for the house of God. Jesus did not have a casual attitude about the house of God. When He saw merchants misusing the temple, He drove them out with a whip, turned over the tables and poured out the money (John 2:13-17). A man exhibits authentic manhood when he demonstrates zeal and enthusiasm for God’s house and contributes to its purposes.
9) Jesus lived to serve others. “For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45, ESV). A man exhibits authentic manhood when he allows God to use him to serve others.
10) Jesus played through the pain. “For the joy that was set before Him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2). From the Garden of Gethsemane until the moment He gave up the ghost, Jesus did not focus on His own agony. Instead, He focused on what would be accomplished if He followed through with the Father’s plan. A man exhibits authentic manhood when he is willing to carry out his assignment—focusing on the long-term reward, not focusing on the temporary pain.
Thomas L. Garrett is senior pastor of Faith Christian Center in Tampa, Fla. He is an honor graduate of the Word of Faith Bible Training Center and a graduate of Lawrence Tech University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering.