Need encouragement on your path toward Biblical manhood? Take a cue from David and seek to live like a son of Jesse.
One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” 1 Samuel 16:18 ESV
Characteristics of Biblical Manhood
In an age of “toxic masculinity,” we desperately need men to lead their homes. We must reject passive lives and lead the way God wants us to. And as Christians, we can take our cue from men of the Bible, remembering, however, that no man outside of Christ lived a perfect life.
As I’ve studied Biblical manhood over the course of my 17-year marriage, I am more convinced than ever that Christian men must strive to live like sons of Jesse.
A few years ago, my wife and I created a non-profit that focuses on fostering biblical manliness in young men. We settled on 1 Samuel 16:18 as our key verse. As I began teaching these six principles to young men, including my own son, grown men kept telling me, Man, I need these characteristics in my own life!
Here is a short look at each of David’s six characteristics:
Skillful in Playing
David was a skilled musician and singer. Does this mean you need to be the fireside guitar guy? Absolutely not; in fact, we probably have too many of those guys already. But it does mean you need to sing, which is hard for a lot of men. The Bible says a lot about singing, though. We are called to sing for God, to God, and to one another. Throughout the Bible, we see hymns being sung in celebration and despair, in joy and in sorrow. As men, we are not exempted from singing.
Man of Valor
We don’t use the word “valor” much these days. And perhaps that’s because the idea of bravery has been reduced to movies and doesn’t play a role in our everyday lives. Yet the Bible refers to our Christian walk as a spiritual battle frequently. Men, the devil is prowling, and it takes courage to quiet his seductive voice. Bravery in our culture looks much different from David’s day. We are not racing toward Goliath on the battlefield, but the many goliaths in our hearts must be faced and silenced.
Man of War
It’s important to point out that a man of war does not pick fights; rather, he defends those who cannot defend themselves. A man of faith doesn’t use his authority to bully people–that’s what cowards do. Certainly a man of God defends his family, but that should extend beyond our homes. Without getting political, much of our cultural discord is an Imago Dei problem. We must remember that all humans are born in the image of God and that each one of us is worth defending.
Prudent in Speech
Once again, the Bible says plenty about our tongue and the power it has. Here are a few heart check questions: How do you talk to your children when you are frustrated? How do you treat people in retail–waiters, cashiers, and receptionists? How do you speak to your employees? What do you say about your boss behind his/her back? To live as an heir of Christ, men must find a way to pray and think through our words before we let them loose.
A Man of Good Presence
It’s documented that David was likely a handsome dude. Yet the ESV translation suggests David’s magnetism was more about his countenance rather than his good looks. Do you look like someone who is going to spend eternity with Jesus or do you look like you just walked through a cloud of mosquitoes? What does your “resting face” look like, and could our countenance in public places be an invitation to a gospel conversation with a lost person? I think so!
The Lord is With Him
Quite simply, a man of God makes time to be with the Lord and feel His presence. When the Lord is with us, we have a contentment and peace that surpasses all understanding. Typically we feel the Lord’s presence when we are in the Word regularly and are in prayer for our families, our local churches, and our communities. And when we are affirmed in the promises of the Bible, we are therefore more equipped to handle our circumstances when things don’t go according to plan.
Of these six characteristics, evaluate where you are. Where are you strongest, and where do you need the most help? Huddle with a trusted friend or your wife and get their input. And finally, be encouraged by David, and take a step–today–toward becoming a Son of Jesse.