The following article is the fourth installment in a four part series, which was originally a paper written for a course on leadership. These “4 Marks of Man” are not THE ONLY 4 marks of manhood but men would do well to commit to at least these 4. For those who are not familiar with this site: the three co-authors write from the premise that God created us as male. What does it mean to be a man, specifically a Christian man?
By way of review, the first three marks of a man are as follows:
MARK #1: Be a Man of Action.
MARK #2: Be a Man of Responsibility.
MARK #3: Be a Man of Strength and Courage
The previous article provided the following diagram:
These three marks allow a man to develop internal fortitude. They can certainly help him and push him into manhood. However, as the diagram illustrates, these are all internally-focused and if he is not intentional these attributes will die with him.
Like the passing of a baton, the fourth mark of a man must be the “passing” of manhood, the generational multiplication of Godly men. Matthew 28.19, Jesus’ final words before departing earth, begins, “Go and make disciples…” A good leader must understand that he is to make disciples. “It’s a commission that makes disciple-making the normal agenda and priority of every church and every Christian disciple” (Marshall & Payne, The Trellis & The Vine, p. 13). The Apostle Paul, in his final recorded words before his death, gave a similar plea to his protégé, Timothy. Timothy is to live in strength and make disciples: “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2.1-2). There is a clear admonition to Timothy that he must make disciples, combining it with Mark #3, “Be Strong.” In order for Paul’s leadership to be effective, Timothy must lead faithful men who will then lead other men – that is four generations of gospel ministry (Paul – Timothy – faithful men – other men).!
An important point to be made here: a man does not have to be a father in order to “pass the baton” of manhood onto the next generation. That being said, father is responsible to teach and train his son(s) in the ways of manhood (Proverbs 22.6). However, a man can teach and train younger men whether or not he has sons. Again, the Apostle Paul understood this: the Scriptures never mention that Paul had a biological son. However, Paul referred to Timothy as “my true son” and Titus as “my true child in the faith” (Titus 1.4). Paul was in the business of raising up men. Men must teach and train younger men.
A man understands that manhood cannot just be taught but it must also be “caught.” A boy must see manhood in action. As the saying goes, “More is caught than taught.” I do the things I saw my dad do. Manhood is passed from one generation to the next. When men do not intentionally teach the next generation, there will be massive hole in our culture…and that hole currently exists – which is why we are currently raising a generation filled with passive, irresponsible males. Therefore, if you are a young male that wants to know about manhood, find some men and put yourself around them. Ask them to disciple you. If you are a man that can provide some leadership to younger men, invite them into your life. Teach them how to walk in these four marks of a man.
“4 Marks of a Man” has provided four simple suggestions on how a man might lead: take action, take responsibility, be strong and courageous, and make disciples. These four marks are not all that encompass a full definition of manhood. However, if men would follow these four marks, our culture would see a shift toward a more robust masculinity.
Finally, let’s remember John Maxwell’s argument that leadership is simply influence. Returning to our opening story: Dave was taking his family on vacation and made a quick stop at a strip club. What might Dave need to change in order to set himself on a positive trajectory rather than a negative one? First, Dave needs to stop being lazy in the sexual pursuit of his wife. Rather than selfishly fulfilling his own desires with extra-marital affairs, he needs to spend his time and energy serving and caring for his wife. Second, Dave needs to accept responsibility for his marital infidelity. He needs to confess his sin to his wife and beg her forgiveness. He may also need to confess his sins to the elders at his church (see Matthew 18). In order to “be strong and courageous,” James 5.15-16 (as well as 1 Corinthians 12) indicates that Dave must find some accountability partners in his local church who will walk alongside him and pray for him and with him. The lack of structure in Dave’s life has left him vulnerable to sin’s dark death; he must now institute better structures that will keep him on the path of life. Finally, instead of passively leading his family into a life of adultery, pornography, and prostitution, Dave needs to responsibly lead his family by taking them to church, and leading them in daily Bible study. Specifically, Dave must be the model of manhood that he wants his sons to emulate. Instead of spending time in adultery, he needs to pray for his wife, his kids, and anyone else that God puts in his path for the purposes of generational discipleship.