This spring, the guys at Impact 360 loaded up in two busses and headed to the Blue Ridge mountains for the second Biblical manhood. They learned a lot. They ate a lot. They wrestled. They jumped into a frigid river. But more than that, they came back to Impact with a clear understanding of what it means to be a Biblical man.

“A Biblical man is active, NOT passive. He accepts responsibility and he leads courageously.”

Led by Dr. Greg Brown, the men learned to think through the messages they receive from culture about what it means to “man up.” Here are four of them with ways Biblical men might respond:

Culture says…Emotions are to be avoided

We are taught that in order to be “real men” we have to be emotionally cut off, reserved, and “tough.” Real men, culture teaches us, aren’t softened by emotions. They keep their feelings in check and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Sure, men will sometimes need to express feelings, but express them in moderation. Biblical men accept the call to be brave protectors and strong leaders, but they also recognize there are times when that means being willing to be emotionally present. True leadership is more than just a business-face. It’s caring about people, and caring about people sometimes requires emotional presence and openness.

Culture says…It’s okay to treat women as objects to be used for pleasure

Biblical men recognize women as Ezers. In the Bible, Ezer is used to describe a warrior. But culture often suggests that it’s okay for me to look at women as objects, as something to be had, enjoyed, and then discarded. Biblical men reject this idea wholeheartedly. They work actively to combat that, to treat women with respect, to pursue and protect honorable friendship with women. Practically, they comment on things other than their appearance, like their strengths or great things about their personality. Biblical men go out of their way to honor women for the warriors (Ezers) they are.

Culture says…You are what you are good at, and it’s really great if you’re good at sports

Culture has taken a good thing—competitive sports—and turned it into being the base of a man’s identity. Men in today’s culture are told that we are of more social value if we are good at things in general. However, men are told subliminally that they are are of the highest social value if that thing happens to be sports. Sports is surely one of God’s many gifts to men. It brings guys together and helps us form connections. But Biblical men recognize that the basis of their identity is that they are a child of God. They don’t look to their skills for a sense of value and they don’t measure others that way either.

Culture says…You can get serious about your life later

In order to be viewed as a proper man in today’s culture, we’re told that the partying dude who’s always looking for a good time is actually an okay way to organize your life. Biblical men realize that a flourishing life is about balance. We’re not called to just sit home and pray all day and it’s possible to have a lot of fun while still making good choices. But more than following a list of rules of things to do and not do, Biblical men realize they live their life for something other than themselves. They live to choose God, to choose His way, to seek Shalom, and to bless and lead others. That’s way more fulfilling than living for a good time every weekend.

These are just a few examples of the way that Biblical men should live above cultural norms. But the core of Biblical manhood is not in following rules or keeping a list of good behaviors. The core of a Biblical man is not based in the way he lives. Rather, it is based on who he lives for. Only through Christ can men truly be active not passive. Only in Him can they accept responsibility and lead courageously.