15 Foundational Principles for Real Men to Live By

There are countless voices in our culture ringing through the air with definitions of what men should be like in essence and conduct, and this dense fog of ambiguity sends messages that mislead men into damaging, and in some cases, even dangerous courses of living.

It derails and disqualifies men from being the life-giving source of strength and love to others as he was meant to be. Men must be told how to be men, and unfortunately, the loudest and most dominant voices are calling men to a fatal ruin.

The Voice of Our Culture Says to Be a Consumer, Not a Producer

Media advertisements are calling men to consumption rather than production, and the subsequent result is a whole generation of men who are becoming addicted to entertainment, alcohol, and sex, disqualifying themselves from being real men who lead well.

The Voice of the "Modern Man" Says to Dominate in the Name of Self-Confidence

The “Modern Man” He is calling men to dominance and control in the name of self-confidence. He isn’t a gentleman because women don’t want that, he says. It’s outdated. He controls the room with his super-charged machismo, and gives his woman the gift of total security and privilege to sit down, shut up, and “feel safe like a real woman.”

15 foundational principles for real men to live by:

1. A real man reflects godliness, not culture (Gen 1:27).

Our lives should be a reflection of God’s character, purpose, and will. As men, it’s our prerogative to represent God in a world that doesn’t know Him. Living under the influence of culture means being obsessed with grilling meat, drinking beer, watching football, and obsessing over sex. 

It’s impossible to lead anyone if we are addicted to our phones, entertainment, and food. 

2. A real man welcomes responsibility (2Thess 3:7-8).

He works hard because he takes ownership of providing for himself and his family. He’s a servant-leader and adds value to the lives of others. He takes responsibility for his actions. He admits when he’s wrong and takes steps to change.

He’s not quick to blame others, but rather is ready to examine his motives and decisions. When someone under his leadership fails, his first question is: “Is there anything I could have done better to prevent this?”

3. A real man is selfless, not selfish (Rom 13:8).

Boys are selfish; men are selfless. Boys are takers; men are givers. Boys are consumers; men are producers. Boys take the life out of others; men are life-givers. A good man adds deposits into the hearts and minds of others.

He is generous and not self-seeking, and seeks to add value to those around him. He is trusted by everyone he knows. He doesn’t mind doing favors and as a result, builds strong relationships.  

4. A real man lives for a higher purpose (Luke 22:41-42).

He has a vision, mission, and values that guide and direct his choices. He doesn’t live for his personal glory or self-actualization and is highly valuable to the world because he serves the needs of others. He loves what is good, and takes action on his convictions to be a source of life and benefit to others.

5. A real man has healthy priorities (Matt 6:33).

He seeks God. He puts his family over his hobbies, and he finds joy in it. He is an incredible blessing to his family because he is present with them instead of being absent and out of touch. He understands that leading, guiding, and growing his family’s quality of life is his primary responsibility, and he welcomes it.

6. A real man lives for a legacy, not just a good time (Prov 20:7).

He has a long-term, generational mindset. He doesn’t live for now; he lives to affect the generations behind him. He lives to give valuable assets and wisdom to his children and grandchildren. He is a great steward of his resources, and he leaves behind a great inheritance. He gives honor and longevity to his family’s name.

7. A real man demonstrates wisdom (Prov 28:26).

He seeks wise counsel from other men concerning major life decisions and avoids much error in doing so. He’s a good listener, and knows when to keep his mouth shut. He learns from his mistakes and becomes better as a result, and he doesn’t repeat the same foolish actions. He navigates life well.

8. A real man demonstrates patience (Eph 4:1-2).

He’s steady and consistent for long periods. He’s not the get-rich-quick guy. Instead, he makes wise investments that grow exponentially over time. He doesn’t overestimate what he can do in the short term, nor does he underestimate what he can do in the long term.

9. A real man demonstrates humility (Matt 23:12).

He doesn’t think less of himself; he thinks of himself less. Boys believe they are the center of the universe, but a good man knows that he’s not, nor does he desire to be.  He seeks to learn and is quick to listen to others because he knows many areas of his life need improvement.

There is no self-entitlement in real men, but instead, he puts the needs of others before his own.  He doesn’t have to be the center of attention. He has a quiet confidence because his identity is not something he’s trying to achieve, but rather something he receives from God.

10. A real man demonstrates self-control (2Tim 1:7).

He’s not over-indulgent in food or entertainment. He doesn’t let himself go physically, and he doesn’t watch endless hours of TV throughout the week. He gets to work on time because he doesn’t stay up late. He maintains a certain mastery over his mind and body, and as a result, has a positive effect on his family. A man who lets himself go damages his family through negligence.

11. A real man demonstrates integrity (Prov 11:3).

What a man does in secret is precisely the kind of man he is. A good man makes the right decisions when no one is looking, or even if it might cost him considerably. Because of this, he can be trusted by all who know him, and he brings security and safety to his household. His wife and kids thrive under his leadership because he is trustworthy.

12. A real man is slow to anger (James 1:19).

He’s not harsh with his family or ill-tempered. He doesn’t get mad easily because he views life through a lens of humility and maturity. A man with a temper creates a prison out of his home, with his wife and children held hostage. A good man produces security and protection over his family, and they love him for it.

13. A real man manages his household well (1Tim 3:4).

He gives loving and careful instruction to his children. He is highly involved in the good and the bad. He disciplines his children to protect them from further harm. His wife knows she’s loved because he pursues her with affection, love, and protection.

He gives structure to his home. His family is like a garden that grows strong because of his investments. He is tough for his family, and he is tender with them.

14. A real man is a one-woman man (1Tim 3:2).

He’s not easily distracted by other women. He’s not the flirt-guy. His eyes don’t wander when he’s out with his wife because his eyes are fixed on her. He rejects pornography because he pursues his wife and wants her more than anyone else in the world. His wife trusts him and loves him and feels secure with him because she knows that she is his crown of honor.

15. A real man protects others from harm (Isaiah 1:17).

He has a plan. He passes down wisdom and practical life skills to his children to ward off harm from the world, thus giving them the competence to guide their steps. He stands for the oppressed and loves justice. He is active in fighting for those who need help, and makes it his responsibility to be involved.

The Voice of Real Men Call Other Men to Step up and Take Action

True masculinity is a choice. Good men live intentionally, and if we don’t, then one of two things will happen: Men will naturally slip into selfish aggression and over-dominance, or he’ll slip into selfish passivity and destroy his family out of negligence. One is active and obvious; the other is passive and invisible. Both destroy.

As men, we’re made in the image of God, so we need to reflect godliness, not culture. We work hard, and we welcome responsibility. We are selfless, living for a higher purpose. We practice humility and self-discipline, and we have our priorities in line.

We live for a lasting legacy instead of a good time, and we do it while walking in wisdom and integrity. We create structure in our homes, not chaos, and we know how to love and serve our wives and children by putting them first. We embrace our role as protectors, and we create safety and security for those under our care. 

The Perfect Voice of Masculinity Is Jesus of Nazareth

There is a man who exemplified these principles so extraordinarily well that he became the most influential man in history by virtue of his character and his accomplishments. No man before him and no one since has every imprinted his name so profoundly in the human narrative. His movement has penetrated over a third of our world’s population and continues to gain momentum. He lived for the glory of God and the good of others, and He was the ultimate life-giving man, selflessly pouring himself out for others.

His lips never compromised the truth even in the face of extreme controversy and rejection. His legacy is thriving in our world, and in his wake, contains the reverberation of strength and honor, courage and valor, self-discipline and sacrificial love, and total dedication to God his Father. He executed perfectly a life lived for a higher purpose, even to the point of dying for his enemies.

There is no goodness in us apart from our connection with Jesus. As a vine nourishes its branches, so He gives us a Spirit of goodness. Any bit of goodness we might obtain only comes from the Spirit Jesus gives his followers. Let this be all the more reason we abide in Christ- for our sake, for His honor.

The Voice of Wisdom from Other Men

“Surely what a man does when he is taken off guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.” – C.S. Lewis

“Manliness is the character of a man as he ought to be, as he was meant to be.” – James Freeman Clarke

“There never was yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.” – Benjamin Franklin

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” – Paul

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke