I’ve been dying to ask this since the book first came out several years ago. Do real men really not eat quiche? Okay, I don’t know anything about all that. I’ve struggled with some of the men in my life, so I have to be balanced here and not biased. Do you know any real men? I do know some, but you know it all depends on the meaning I apply to the term ‘real.’ Doesn’t it?

I’ve taken some time to think about what I want to say with this poem. It struck me that the mission of the Joy in Verse Ministry is to ‘please God, promote Christian poetry, and point to Jesus.’ There it is. The only perfect definition/example of a ‘real’ man is Jesus Christ. I move away from exterior and potentially misleading characteristics like physical attractiveness, position, power and wealth. All those things can be gone in one unfortunate experience. I go back to inner strength and beauty about which I spoke in an earlier episode. The four attributes of a real man I came up with are warmth and integrity toward kids, the capacity to sacrificially love, the ability to show true emotion, and the strength to stand on his testimony.

As CS Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity, the goal of the Christian life is to be transformed by God’s doing into little Jesuses. Not that any of us get there this side of heaven, but real men aspire as best they can to that end. Let’s look at the four points in the life of Jesus.

Children loved Jesus, and were drawn to Him. When the disciples tried keep them away as an annoyance, Jesus rebuked them. “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” (Mark 10:13-16 ESV)

Jesus’ compassion and love for people was evident in his teaching and miracles, but the greatest evidence for that love was His willingness to be the one man to shoulder all the wickedness and fallen aspects of humankind since Adam and Eve first broke from God. Jesus talked of giving himself as the Passover lamb, the sacrifice for all in John 10: 17-18 (ESV) “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” Then He lets us know just how great an act of love that is. Jesus gave his definition of sacrificial love in John 15:13 (ESV) “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Words do not articulate the power in that love.

He was not above honest emotion. Jesus cried. When Lazarus died, and he stood in front of the crowd of mourners, he was moved. “Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?’ Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.” (John 11:35-38 ESV)

Jesus wept over Jerusalem. “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’” (Luke 19:41-44 ESV) He grieved over the Jews not recognizing that their Messiah had come, and he grieved over the future of Jerusalem. According to the notes in my NIV study Bible[1], the Romans surrounded Jerusalem in AD66 to squash a rebellion. Jerusalem suffered through four years of siege, until the Romans destroyed the weakened city in AD70. Jesus wept openly.

The religious leaders asked Jesus who testified on his behalf. There was a tradition that required two people with the same story. Jesus, aware of this made His case. “If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John (as in John the Baptizer), and he has borne witness to the truth. … But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. “ (John 5:31-40 ESV) Jesus did not mince words in His testimony of what God was doing through Him. In this passage I see the witness of Jesus himself, John, the works of Jesus, the Father, and Scripture (which at that time was the Old Testament).

Whoa, that’s a lot of Bible right there—a lot of truth and my example a real man. I know some real men, and I am grateful God has placed them in my life.

Real Men

Real men hug their kids

Enfolded within strong arms,

Holding tightly to keep out harm.

From a daughter’s eyes

Real men hug their kids.

Real men love their wives.

Molding lasting, trusting bonds

That wrap around their lives.

From a woman’s perspective

Real men love their wives.

Real men aren’t afraid to cry.

They don’t hold back.

They don’t care why.

For mankind’s sake

Real men aren’t afraid to cry.

Real men love the Lord.

They edify and testify.

They live according to the Word.

In God’s sight

Real men love the Lord.

Real men hug.

Real men love.

Real men cry, and

Real men testify.

Father, touch and strengthen the hearts of men to follow you, becoming more like Jesus, transformed into real men. Touch the hearts of women to allow men to fulfill their Godly role in being real men and support them emotionally and prayerfully. I thank you for the example Jesus gave, and your Word that shows us the way. I pray in the precious name of Jesus, according to your good and perfect will. Amen.

1Life Application Study Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION: Wheaton, IL, 1973, 1978, 1984, Tindale. 1847.