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Thoughts on Leadership

Six Stages of Manhood

Understanding what stage of manhood we are in can provide clarity on our masculinity and a refreshing view of who Jesus is. Robert Hicks, in The Masculine Journey, addresses the simple yet profound question of “What is a man?” He outlines the various Hebrew words for man and gives helpful descriptors for each.

Which of the six stages of manhood are you in now?

Six Stages of Manhood
Six Stages of Manhood

Stage 1:Adam (Mankind)

This refers to the generic idea of all mankind—both men and women. We are creational beings who don’t originate from ourselves or live solely for ourselves. Because we are created beings, we have unique skills and aptitudes which reflect our creator.

Jesus is the voice we need at every stage on the male journey to help pull us out of our man-caves and get us moving to carry out our callings.

Stage 2: Zakar (Phallic)

This is the anatomical description of man with the idea of “the male protrusion, male phallus.” We are sexual beings and if used properly, it brings life as our creator also brings forth life. Used improperly, the personal and societal hurt is devastating. This stage is the most celebrated yet misunderstood of all six stages.

As a phallic man, I can trust God for purity whether young or old and allow my life to be a conduit to give life to others.

Stage 3: Gibbor (Warrior)

This is the warrior stage where we show strength. We see this on the battle field, athletic field and the boardroom. Men are fighters, and the key is to make sure we are fighting for the right things.

For the warrior, I must use God’s strength in the wars I fight. His Word is my sword and I am fitted with the spiritual armor.

Stage 4: Enosh (Wounded Warrior)

This is the frail man who has been wounded in life. No matter what brought the sword to his heart, this stage of manhood means there needs to be healing, rest and reconciliation. This stage is not abnormal but rather a predictable experience which can be moved through for deeper growth.

When I am wounded, I go to Jesus—the wounded Savior, who is the healer of broken hearts by binding us up for health.

Stage 5: Ish (Ruler)

This is the mature man who has learned to rule over his own spirit as one who is independent of outside considerations. He is not attracted to or tempted by everything that comes before him. He is no longer afraid to stand up and go against the grain to do what God has led him to do. The vision and values come together to make a powerful life.

As the mature man, we express our faith in Christ as the one who renews and refocuses our vision. We launch out to fulfill our calling with the wisdom and gentleness of Christ.

Stage 6: Zaken (Wise Mentor)

This is the “gray-headed” man who is connected to all of life and makes his finest and most important contributions to the community and culture. These are the men whom the younger men look to for mentoring, guidance, nurture and understanding of life.

Just as Jesus said, “it is finished,” the wise man faces the physical limits to finish well. He longs to hear the words of “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Enter into your Master’s joy.”

Where are you? 

If I had to say today where I am, it would be in the transition phase from wounded warrior to ruler stage.

Running to Jesus to heal the wounds and learning the quiet joy of being who I am in Christ is a refreshing experience. It my desire to be the wise mentor for younger men as others like Granddaddy, Mr. Banks, Herb, Frank, Eugene, Earl, Archie, Jeff and Carl have been for me.

Walk with Jesus through all the stages of manhood and you will know that inner satisfaction of truly being a man of God. 

What stage are you in and what are you learning about manhood?