Better Manhood: Start Being a R-E-A-L Man Here

To continue my series about creating a roadmap for becoming better men, I want to begin with a definition of what it means to be a “real” man using the acrostic R-E-A-L. The definition (and the developing roadmap for better manhood will evolve throughout this series) will also support my theory that every man is better by having better friends. 

Change Without Changing

In the opening post, Time for a Change, I described the changes in frequency and content for my blog that I hope will increase your engagement and garner a few minutes of your valuable time. While some things changed, my mission has not: I still believe men are at their best when they have deeper, more authentic friendships, what I call GodBuddies. But I also desire to help all men become better men – regardless of their beliefs.

In the second post of this series, The Secrets to Becoming a Real (Godly) Man, I suggested we need a better roadmap for manhood. I admitted that I fail often in my masculinity and certainly do not have all the answers. So I requested your help in developing this roadmap and got the ball rolling with some suggested topics that I will expand upon in subsequent posts. 

We’re “Off the Road”

Many men today have “gone off the road” in a bad way in their manhood. With such a huge need for learning how to properly use our masculine traits for good, we can not continue to allow the culture to define what it means to be a man. We need men who teach boys and young guys how to be a better version of a man. To teach the secrets of becoming a “real” man. We need more godly men. 

Let’s start with a definition of being a “real” man using the acrostic R-E-A-L. After that, I’ll describe how that definition applies to all men, even if you do not believe in God or a higher power. I’ll then explain how men who follow Jesus, the ultimate role model for manhood, use these traits to become more godly men.

What’s a R-E-A-L Man?

In his podcast, REAL Men Start Here, Dave Wilson discusses an acrostic he uses to teach men about how to be a R-E-A-L man. Dave and his wife, Ann, co-host the nationally-syndicated radio program and podcast on FamilyLife Today®. In the podcast, Dave explains an acrostic based on the four pillars of manhood in the book, Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Dr. Robert Lewis.  Dave’s acrostic goes like this:

A real man… 

R – Rejects Passivity

E – Engages with God (Others*) 

A – Accepts Responsibility

L – Leads Courageously

* The word ‘Others' is my addition that creates a secular version for this post. I’m a big fan of Dr. Lewis and his study, The Quest for Authentic Manhood, which was instrumental to my journey as a godly man. You can read more in my posts: Understanding Biblical Manhood, Addressing Your “Wounds”, and Re-Prioritizing My Priorities

Here’s how R-E-A-L applies to all men and how it helps turn good men into godly men. 

R – Rejects Passivity

Most definitions describe passivity as taking on a trend of submissiveness and extreme reliance. It means not taking action but retreating into inaction. 

Males who are passive, step back or look away when volunteers are needed. They rely on others for just about everything. Passive guys allow people to walk all over them and do things to them without complaining or pushing back. They don’t put up any resistance — in fact, they hardly respond at all.

Godly men reject passivity by refusing to live in the shadow of Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Instead, they choose to fight for what truly matters most by rejecting a passive mindset. They find strength in the grace of Jesus and follow His example as a man. 

E – Engages with God (Others) 

To engage means to become involved with someone or something. It means to occupy the attention or efforts of a person or persons or to cause someone to become interested or involved in an activity. 

Today, many men have become disengaged and isolated themselves. Rather than stepping up, they are absent and apathetic. They withdraw from any non-necessary conversations or activities since they do not participate in anything outside their own little world. Passive men are complacent and only do the bare minimum. They never offer solutions. They miss deadlines and show no initiative. 

Men learn from other men by learning from a group of high-quality friends. Godly men also have a small group of friends who actively want to become more Christ-like. They worship God by regularly attending a local church. They read the Bible to learn about God’s standards for men.

A – Accepts Responsibility 

Every man has responsibility for something or someone. Accepting your responsibility means you realize that you have a part in every situation or experience of your life. Responsibility is understanding that actions and inactions cause mistakes as well as lead to successes. It’s being substantially involved in decisions that affect the outcomes. You also have a degree of accountability over the outcomes, consequences, or results. It’s not playing the blame game but owning up to your part if things go wrong. 

All men, religious or not, are responsible for managing themselves first and foremost. They don’t run from their responsibility or make excuses such as “I’m not the man I should be, because…” They learn to manage all aspects of their life beginning in early adolescence. After a certain age, they no longer rely on their parents (especially their mother) to do everything for them. They manage money well, maintain good health, and behave properly in dating and family relationships, especially with their spouse and children. They are actively involved in the parenting role. Most importantly, they learn to manage their emotions and are balanced in all aspects of their life. 

Godly men recognize and accept the responsibility God assigned them for the people and areas in their sphere of influence. They pray frequently for their family, friends, and others in need. They seek wisdom for their big decisions. Godly men help in their community and in their church. 

L – Leads Courageously

Courage is not just physical bravery but also emotional, intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual. It is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, agony, or pain. It’s the choice and willingness to confront uncertainty or intimidation. Leading with courage is the ability to control your fears to deal with something that is difficult or unpleasant. It’s facing pain with dignity or faith.

Today, too many guys are unwilling to lead, even for the least courageous of roles. Maybe they don’t have the skills or they fear failure. No man wants to fail. Maybe they don’t want to expose their weaknesses.  

Godly men have the courage to take on big challenges since they trust that God works in all things together according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28). They are constantly learning about Jesus. They understand fear is a normal part of life but know that with God on their side, they can act courageously. 

Small GB logo

GodBuddy Focus

The acrostic R-E-A-L is a great start for our roadmap for better manhood. Study each part and commit them to memory. Let’s raise the bar for manhood.  

For discussion:

  • Which of these characteristics resonate most with you? 
  • Which are most difficult for you? 
  • How can your good friends help you with that difficulty? 

As always, please comment below and forward this post to someone who may need it. Then, check in with a GodBuddy to discuss this topic further. Remember to provide your suggestions for the roadmap in my previous post and watch for my next post in two weeks. 

[FeaturePhoto by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash]


2 Responses

  1. Great article! The world is in desperate need of Godly men. So glad I found your website and your great posts! Thank you!

    1. Hello Michael. I’m glad you found my website too! Make sure you subscribe (by clicking here) to get an email each time I post a new article. The world certainly needs more godly men so please help me spread the word about the need for men to have deeper, more authentic friendships who help each other become better men.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Wisdom for Men

Great Friendships Require Trust and Confidentiality

This quote from Scottish author, poet, minister, and pioneer of modern fantasy literature, George MacDonald (1824-1905) reminds us about an important aspect of all relationships: trust. In many ways, trust is key to any meaningful or serious relationship — whether it’s in marriage, a close friendship, or even a professional

Read More »
Basic Training

Missing My GodBuddy

Today is the 10th anniversary of the unexpected passing of one of my earliest GodBuddies, Christopher J. Davolos, who died on April 1, 2014, after exercising during his lunch break at work. Chris’ influence on me and his friendship embodied the GodBuddy concept, which is why my website is dedicated

Read More »
Basic Training

Rich’s C21 Magazine Article

I’m excited to hit a new milestone in my emerging writing career. I probably should have posted earlier that my article about the friendship between President Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil appeared in C21 Resources, a magazine from Boston College. It’s a humbling accomplishment to get published by this prestigious

Read More »