Society provides a fair amount of debate over what it means to be a “real man.” Of course, there are many definitions and measurements that you can use, and thanks to the Internet, many of these criteria have become widely promoted.
Allegedly, real men…
- Objectify women by looking at sexually charged images of them
- Enjoy vulgar humor connected to sex, body parts, and bodily functions
- Are extremely interested in toys (cars, tools, electronics, guns, etc…)
- Only enjoy movies and TV shows that feature guns, violence, and tough guys
- Seek to indulge in anything that gratifies their immediate needs
As I looked at these websites and saw the world’s definition of a real man I became disheartened. Is this what we are? Sex charged, drunken, vulgar, pleasure pursuing hooligans? In response to this question, some men have turned away from chauvinism, seeking to develop a more genteel demeanor. But this can also go too far, turning men into overly sensitive, well-manicured, passive, effeminate metrosexuals. So which path do I choose? How do I live my life as the man I’ve been created to be? How do I effectively model Christian masculinity so my son can also grow into a real man of God?
The Bible offers many principles that provide us with sound and effective ways to grow and mature into Christian men of distinction. One such example of a real man of God is Boaz. Chapter two of Ruth reveals this to us in several ways. Ruth goes to glean wheat left over in a field owned by Boaz. As a property owner, we see that Boaz was financially independent. By his presence at the field, we see that he wasn’t an owner in absentia, but actively worked to build his assets. He notices Ruth. Today’s men would try to check her out to see if she’s interested in hooking up. Boaz finds out who she is and immediately takes an interest in her well-being, providing what he can to help her. He welcomes her return each day to glean in his field, giving her an opportunity to store up more provisions out of a genuine desire to be helpful. He warns her not to go to other fields for her own safety, and gives instructions to his workers not to touch her or embarrass her if she takes grain from the sheaves. He even invites Ruth to eat with him – something not even the workers or servants were allowed to do. Why does Boaz do all of this? Is it to impress her with his wealth and status? Is it to get her to trust him so he can make his move? Or is it simply because he is obeying God’s commands to treat her as he should?
At one point, Ruth asks Boaz why he is being so kind to her, why she found favor in his eyes. His answer provides a window into the character of a real man of God. “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband – how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:11-12). Boaz was not doing this because Ruth was beautiful, or because he was hoping to get something in return. He did these things for her as an answer to a call from God. Ruth’s obedience to God’s Word was blessed through Boaz’s obedience to God’s Word. Both of them would ultimately be blessed by God to have found each other and share their lives together as husband and wife.
Seeking the face of God, searching God’s will to find direction and purpose for his life made Boaz a real man, leading him to the greatest blessing he could have been given. I pray that the Father will bless me in the same way as he molds me into a real man of God.