Men aren’t that complicated. I believe there are 4 things every man needs. I believe God created men this way and that these 4 needs of a man are grounded in the first two chapters of the Bible.
1. A Mission
A man needs a mission. Men need a clear calling, a lifework—a work they are called and gifted to do that makes an impact, that leaves a dent in this world. A man needs to know that his life counts, that he’s pursuing a mission that means something. A man on a mission is a happy man.
Immediately after God created Adam, he gave him a mission. God put Adam in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it,” to cultivate the resources of the garden and to guard the garden. God gave the first man on the planet a mission for his life.
2. A Father
A man needs a Father. A man needs a father on earth, but many men won’t get that. What a man supremely needs is a Father in Heaven. In order for a man to be a man, he must first know what it means to be a son. Manhood requires sonhood.
This is the central, driving need of the 4 needs. If this need isn’t front and center in a man’s life, his life will travel in dangerous directions. A man must know that the ultimate reason why he has been put on this earth is to glorify the one true God. A man must discover that the way to glorify this God is to know this God, to know him as a Father. A man must discover what God has done for sinners and orphans through the work of his perfect Son, Jesus. A man must respond to this good news and enjoy this new relationship with his new Father. For a man that is deeply wounded, he must understand that his father wound cannot be cured by an earthly man, it can only be healed by a Heavenly man.
The first man, Adam, was born into this world without an earthly father. His first relationship was with God. Adam enjoyed intimate fellowship with God. He lived as a son before God, his Heavenly Father. At the center of the first man’s life stood a Father.
3. A Bride
A man needs a bride. God made man to marry, to give his life to a woman. Man is built to love and protect one woman, to enjoy the warm companionship of his bride. Not every man will marry, but most men will. God calls some men to singleness (through inner conviction or through circumstance), but most men will grow to know something significant is missing if they haven’t committed their life to a woman they love. Marriage is God’s school for molding men.
In the garden of Eden Adam enjoyed a dynamic relationship with God unaffected by sin. Yet God still said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The first thing that God declared “not good” was a single sex society, a marriage-less society. God gave Adam his Eve, a bride, a companion, to love and protect.
A man needs friends. A man needs rich male friendships. Most grown men don’t have any real friendships. This is a tragedy. God is a deeply relational God who created men to be deeply relational. Most men know a few guys who they talk shop or sports with from time to time, but not friends who they deeply know and enjoy. You can quickly tell the difference between a man who has no friends and a man who has a handful of great friends, one man seems much more alive.
God created man in his image. Our God is a three-personed God. God has always enjoyed rich friendship within the Trinity and he created man to model him, to enjoy rich friendship on earth. “It is not good that the man should be alone” is also a sentence about friendship.
Question: Men and women, what do you think about this 4-part list?
Photo: Cobblestone Street on Nantucket Island, 2008.