Leadership is a role of man and differs depending on the context of relationship. Husbands are to lead their wives; church leaders are to guide their church members. However, all men should be living lives that lead others to Christ.
Man’s role of leadership started back in the Garden of Eden according to Genesis 2. We find this evidence by the order of creation and the responsibility that God entrusted to the first man, Adam.
“For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)
By no means does this mean women are inferior, but merely points to the fact that God has given men and women different roles.
So how do men execute their role of leadership? Thankfully the Lord has given us men a perfect example of leadership by how Jesus lived when He walked the earth. Though Adam failed in this role, Jesus came in the form of a man and showed us how to lead. He showed this through His spiritual, relational and emotional leadership.
Christ as a Spiritual Leader
The nation of Israel was in great need of true spiritual leadership. For hundreds of years they were under the Pharisee rule who sought righteousness through works and outward appearance. Always trying to get rid of the symptoms of sin, but never attacking its roots. Jesus challenged this view and taught His followers what it truly meant to follow God. One of the most poignant examples occurs during the sermon on the mount where He showed the shortcomings of current cultural understandings.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement.” Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)
By only dealing with the outward expression of a problem, you don’t truly cure the root cause. Jesus points this inconsistency out with not only the symbiotic relationship between murder and anger, but also with lust and adultery, divorce and many more subjects of wrong thinking.
This is only one of many examples of Christ’s spiritual leadership you can find in the gospels. In fact, you find that Jesus continually challenges cultural norms in order to attack the true spiritual problem. He is a spiritual leader who doesn’t conform to the dictates of culture. This is what men are called to do. To lead not only your families, but also your friends and the people around you to see the bigger picture.
So, how do you do this? You study and know the Word of God. With knowledge, you can discern spiritual concerns and lead people to a better understanding.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
Therefore, as a man you must know the Bible and through that come to a greater understanding of God as well! With this continual increase in the intimacy within your relationship with Him, you can be best suited to lead people on a spiritual level.
Christ as a Relational Leader
Christ had many followers, the closest of which were His twelve disciples. The relationship between these men is an example of how you should interact as brothers in Christ. Jesus shows us that the center of any relationship should be . . . love.
However, in the traditional sense of masculinity, men are supposed to cringe at that word. Our culture has taught you to have a façade of strength and that men are supposed to be invincible. Christ abolishes this view with the tender nature He uses to treat His disciples.
See how John continually refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved.” And Peter, the one whom Jesus asked three times whether or not he loved Him. Jesus’ relationship with His disciples is one characterized by intimacy and vulnerability.
Therefore, you should stop trying to be islands in this world. Stop hiding our true feelings behind walls as impenetrable as Alcatraz. You need to be vulnerable with each other and allow others to speak into your life. It isn’t soft or weak to be vulnerable, in fact it’s one of the bravest things to do.
And when another man comes to you in openness, be prepared to be that Spiritual Leader. These two ideas of Christ-like masculinity, being both a Spiritual and Relational leader, go hand-in-hand. Be man enough to take the reins, but also be man enough to realize you don’t have it all together.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 3By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
Christ as an Emotional Leader
As men, you are told not to cry, you are told not to show emotion, you are told that emotion is weakness and weakness is the enemy of masculinity. This is not true! The gospels paint a picture of Christ whose emotions were set free. Jesus was filled with zeal, He felt the very depths of sorrow, He groaned in agony and He felt immense joy.
That’s not to say less emotionally inclined guys are any less men, but that there’s nothing wrong in being open to other people. As an emotional leader, you must discern the situation in which you find yourself and tend to the emotional and spiritual needs of those around you. Whether that means restraining your feelings or putting them on display.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (NIV)
Christ shows you not only what it means to be a man, but what it means to be human. One of His greatest displays of emotion was at Lazarus’ death.
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled . . . Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’”
A few verses later it says that Jesus was “deeply moved,” or as the King James Version translated it as “groaning in himself.” This paints a vivid picture of the depths of His sorrow. There were many more events where Jesus shows you the extent of His emotion, from His zealous anger to His jubilant joy.