The Four Faces of a Godly Man
In the prior posts in this series about the foundations for my God Buddy concept, I wrote about addressing the five significant wounds that impact many men and the mask we wear to cover ourselves up. Another concept was to learn how to properly apply the four faces of the authentic man.
The Need for Balanced Men
According to Dr. Robert Lewis, author of The Quest for Authentic Manhood study that I attended, men today are confused. Society portrays the need for us to be Mr. Perfect but we simply cannot meet that lofty standard, which is a terrible way to live and pretty much impossible to do. The media also portrays immature men floating with the “winds of culture” trying to please everyone and still acting like fraternity boys well into their adult lives. Neither is the godly standard.
“Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.”
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Journals, 1843
When men learn to lose our fear of being found out, we stop hiding behind one of the many “masks” we wear and can become more vulnerable with our closest friends.
Dr. Lewis suggests an even better way is to become a man who learns how to live with the proper balance and application of the four faces of biblical manhood.
The Four Faces of an Authentic Man
In The Quest study, Dr. Lewis described these four faces as King, Warrior, Lover, and Friend. He says that each complements the other and does not compete with it. Each synchronizes with the others but does not cross them. Each reflects a different type of energy when used at appropriate times in order to bring out the best characteristics in a man.
Lewis says the world is looking for in men who are in proper balance and know how to apply these faces. He also says that we are also looking to find this balance in ourselves.
Here is a brief summary of each of these four faces of biblical manhood:
This face does not come easily in a man’s life but is cultivated over time. Many ingredients help a man to put on this face: Parents, mentors, heroes, faith. It is a face that is forged in the crucible of life. This is the face that reflects righteousness (a love of the right) and is characterized by strong convictions, courageous moral choices, a servant spirit, and righteous leadership. It shows itself in a man being noble and just.
The King Face shows itself when a man takes the principled path over his own comfort and over circumstances. He doesn’t waiver when he knows that are risks and consequences to his actions and decisions. The King stands up against wrong.
This face is seen in Scripture when the prophet, Nathan confronts King David regarding his sin with Bathsheba. Nathan points out to King David that he was wrong at great risk to both his position and his life.
The King face also shows when David doesn’t deny, cover-up or make excuses but admits to his own sin when he said, “I’ve done wrong!” and “You are right – I did it.” (2 Samuel 12)
This is the face that is ready to do battle, to fight to get through the difficulties. It does not allow us to quit during a challenging time. It is the face of a man who can take life head-on and wins. This face reflects a conquering energy/spirit that is characterized by initiative, protecting, providing and persevering in the midst of all kinds of adversities.
This face is seen in Scripture as Paul gives his charge to the young man Timothy.
But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
— 1 Timothy 6:11-12
Its noble terms are godliness, righteousness, and faith. It uses traits that do not easily cease in any man’s life: love and perseverance. This is the most honored and celebrated of the men’s faces. We love the warrior, the war hero, the man who stands strong in the face of overwhelming opposition, the one who stands for what is right. We see movies and watch real-life heroic men like George Patton, Teddy Roosevelt, John Wayne, and others because it stirs our soul.
This face is often the most difficult for men. It reflects his romantic energy and is characterized by tenderness, sensitivity, sacrificial care, emotional openness, and physical affection (although it’s not always about sex!).
This face is seen in Scripture in Ephesians chapter 5, which tells men, we are to give ourselves up for our wives just as Jesus gave Himself up for His church.
This means we pick up on our wife’s real needs. It makes the sacrifice to spend more time at home instead of seeking money, fortune, or fame. The Lover opens his heart and shares the things he really feels. He lives with an open heart: no hiding, no walls, and no fronts. No pretending that as a man – we must have emotions like steel and those emotions are a sign of weakness. This face connects around feelings and is not superficial.
As I have written, many men do not have a close friend that they connect with at a soul level. Why? Because not too many of us are “friend-worthy”. We don’t make time for friends. We want friends to invest in us, talk to us, support us, but we don’t make the time for them and only live with very superficial relationships.
This is a face that reflects our connecting energy. It is characterized by loyalty, accountability, challengings, and fun.
This face is seen in Scripture in Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to share adversity” and Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, just as one man sharpens another“.
All too often, these four very honorable faces of manhood are replaced by ugly caricatures of an abdicator, tyrant-king, or a harsh, critical user-lover, or a cold, emotionless and isolated friend, or the wimpy warrior-destroyer who hurts people and surrenders whenever the going gets tough. Society sees the ugly man who displays these wrong faces and claims that “All men are brutes” or “All men are insensitive, loners, who only use people.”
But when authentic, godly men apply the correct face, we are in proper balance and will help filter out those messages played of boyish men who do not know how to display the proper face.
The God Buddy Principle
The universal GB principle is that to be the man God calls you to be, you have to be connected to other men who will speak some hard truth whenever you apply the wrong face.
The God Buddy’s King face stands up to his friend and calls him out of his sin even if it might cost him that friendship.
Sometimes your GB will see your Warrior Face getting a bit out of control when you are being too harsh with someone or fighting the wrong battle.
Your GB will gently confront when you aren’t applying your Lover as you talk harshly with your kids or not loving your wife.
God Buddies also bring their Friend face to the relationship so you know you can trust each other with your deepest secrets and enjoy adventures together.
Most importantly, a God Buddy will call up the best in you, admire your efforts, cheer for your successes, and be your closest friend. He pats you on the back when he sees you’re in balance and applying all four faces correctly.
Once a man understands how to properly apply each of these faces of authentic manhood, he gains the confidence and courage to change.
One tool for that change is to reflect on your past life and plan for the future, which is the topic for the next post: Developing a Manhood Plan.