Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Qualities of a Godly Man

Yesterday I talked briefly about the supposed female “predicament” to “finding a husband.” I promised to continue writing about the issue because, like some of you have already pointed out, I recognize that I left the issue far from resolved. Katie and Steve were very observant, and kind, to point out “what are the explicit qualities of a biblical man?” and “how do you know if a man is biblical enough when no man is perfect?”

First, I would encourage anyone reading this to go to www.desiringod.org and read the sermon manuscripts from Pastor John’s two previous sermons on male headship. They are outstanding! He speaks to this issue in ways I would never even be able to.

When talking about the qualities of a godly man instead of getting bogged down in bullet point lists and man-made ideas—we should simply look to the Word of God. If we believe the relationship between Christ and the Church is manifested and displayed in the relationship between a husband and wife, then most certainly the characteristics that define biblical masculinity must come from our Savior Himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28 says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Christ died for the church. First and foremost a man must be willing to die—which demands an awesome amount of humility and grace. He dies because he has the best interest of his family at heart, mainly their spiritual maturity—so he dies seeking to present them to God blamelessly. A godly man feels the weight of his calling so much so that he knows that one day he will give an account for the way in which he handled and led his own household.

He must constantly be feeding his own soul through personal Bible reading, local church involvement, and reading good books. Why? Because he is the primary one who will be called on to answer the tough questions of the faith—whether at home or in the church.

So what does this mean for single men? Take action now to live a life of male leadership. Study your Bible. Know your Savior. Get involved in your church. Xbox won’t make you into a godly man, only serious devotion to your Savior will. Seek to serve the women in your life by cultivating godly leadership even in friendships. Stand up for the truth, and do not simply sit by when all of the women around you are speaking up—lead by example. You incapacitate yourself for leadership when you are spiritually passive and lazy.

In light of all of this, it may seem quite daunting and weighty. And it should to some degree. But if we look at the whole of Ephesians leading up to this passage we see that this is a fruit of Gospel-living. The Gospel enables men to live this way. Apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ our dead hearts would have no interest in biblical manhood and womanhood. We may feel like Paul who says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) and we can proclaim with all certainty “Christ will!” because He has delivered us—and raised us to walk in newness of life.

As women, that is where we should rest if men are not acting biblically. Will God give you a man who fulfills all of these qualities right away? Maybe so, maybe not. There must be an element of patience as we are in a relationship with someone who is not leading like we would like. Perfection is not attainable in this life, so the men in our lives will not love us like Christ loved the Church all of the time, and they will not lead us like Christ leads the Church all of the time. We should be looking for evidences of grace that show us that this man is truly seeking to live a God-honoring life through local church involvement and study of the Word. In addition to that, it is important to solicit the prayers and involvement of Godly, wise, older believers who can offer you wise counsel as you navigate through the challenges of male/female relationships.

In all of these things we must remember that we will fail more times than we will get it right. But we have a great Savior who redeems even the vilest of situations for His glory. And He will mold and save a people for Himself because He promised, and we know that He who promised is faithful.

To be continued…

Also, I recognize that there is much that I don’t see and haven’t addressed, so I welcome any input and feedback on what you see in the Bible characterizes a godly man.

(tomorrow, or someday this week, I will address how the Bible says women should be as they wait on God to bring a godly man into their life)

8 comments:

Steven said...

So, to summarize -- in bullet-point fashion, no less -- the sort of man you are speaking of is one that:
1) Strives for Christ-likeness; and
2) Displays godly leadership.
If this doesn't adequately represent things, then let me know. But there certainly isn't a dearth of these sorts of men. I believe that the problem lies elsewhere. Let me explain.
This last fall, there was a big fuss on campus about chivalry and whether or not there were any gentlemen left. A large group of men on campus replied in shock: not only were our attempts to be courteous, kind, and loving NOT acknowledged, they were not even noticed!
I believe that there are many complex factors at work. The first of these that comes to mind is called "coupling." Attraction is a complicated process, and many attraction triggers are set off by "ungentlemanly" behaviors. I could go off on that for a while, so if you're curious, just ask. The point, though, is women have been trained to not find the characteristics of a godly man to be at all attractive.
Secondly, in part because of the first factor, men are often rewarded for being ungoldy and punished for being godly. This is probably at least as complex as the first, and I have many thoughts on it, as well.
Finally, we often don't take nearly long enough to look beneath the surface of things to see what's really going on. The Proverbs 31 wife is not seen at a glance, and neither is a Christ-like man.
You're right, Courtney. Women should not be disheartened. They should be patient and grow closer to their Savior. When they learn to love Him, perhaps they will be more readily able to see Him in the men they encounter.

katie said...

thanks courtney. this post clarified things a bit more for me, i look forward to reading your next one also. this topic has really interested me.

i have one question tho:

"Will God give you a man who fulfills all of these qualities right away? Maybe so, maybe not. There must be an element of patience as we are in a relationship with someone who is not leading like we would like."
so, is it ok to be in relationship with someone who has the "potential" of being a godly leader even if he isnt exactly at the moment? or is that quote implying that you have been in a relationship and you realize that he isnt the type of leader that he is called to be and so you must be patient that he will step up? i guess thats kind of the same question...

stephanie said...

Courtney,

You love blogging, don't you? You are so good at writing and your thoughts come across nicely.

I have a question about your post, but I'll wait to see you in person.

Eagerly awaiting your next post--

cdt said...

Steve,

Thank you for your comments, and your bullet points are what I was trying to say, sorry I am so long-winded! :)

I remember the fuss on campus and I think there are many factors that would "trigger" a woman wanting a man who is "ungentlemanly" though the primary and fundamental one would be that they are sinners--because of the Fall everything is distorted, even our desires. Our gravitation towards ungodly men stems from our wicked hearts and our rebellion against God. But I do agree with your thoughts--our culture does not make it easy for men to be men, or women to be women for that matter. We must be counter-cultural. Thank you for your insightful comments, they are much appreciated.

Katie,
It depends on what you are talking about as "potential". Sometimes a guy might have potential and need to grow more before the relationship can be established. Sometimes it might need to be something that you both work through together. Which is why having godly, older people (and parents especially) involved is so crucial--they can see things that you don't. I wrote hoping to address the fact that though we desire and pray for a man who lives a God-honoring, Bible-saturated life, we should recognize that we also will get an imperfect sinner (as will they get with us).

Does that help?

Steph,

Thanks for your comment and for reading!

debt said...

I am going to answer the previous two blogs in one response.
In answer to the question about which sins to overlook. The answer is none. We need to treat all sin as a terrible offense toward a Holy and Righteous God. It breaks His heart! It is true you are marrying a sinner, but let's not use that as an excuse to excuse or overlook sin. We must deal with it in our own lives and hold our brothers and sisters accountable for theirs.(Let's not get picky) A lost art in the church. Wives are their husbands helpmeet. I do believe that the "one another" passages in Scripture apply here. She must do it respectfully, though and with much prayer and wisdom. For wives of obstinately disobedient, refer to I Peter 3.
Secondly, yes, our culture has influenced us in the way we behave toward the opposite sex and in our choosing of a mate. Attraction(which, sometimes,covers for lust) is a powerful force, but it must not govern are decision to continue a bad relationship.
Finally, our response toward people and their rude or discourteous responses to our "gentlemanliness" should not keep us from continuiing in our Christlike behaviour. This is Christlike leadership. Is this not what Jesus did on the cross, He bore our pain. So, as John Piper says so well, "Be the man"!. Thake the hit. We do what we do for God's smile and approval. That is not to say that it is not offensive and hurtfuland lonely, but keep on "being the man", for Christ's sake and God's glory!!

Steven said...

debt,
Good point about not using imperfection as an excuse to overlook sin.
And I agree that attraction must not be an excuse to continue a bad relationship. I differentiate between attraction and lust, because of certain important categorizations.
And your final thought is very important, as well. If attitudes changed and Christ-likeness was suddenly considered attractive, then people would embody those characteristics in order to be considered attractive, not in order to draw closer to God. And the truly chivalrous does not depend on the reaction he receives for his chivalry. The sort of person that does that is unconfident, insecure, and looking for approval from strangers. The chivalrous man does those things because he believes it is pleasing to God to serve his neighbors.

Michelle said...

Is it ok to be in relationship with someone who has the "potential" of being godly? I have had an intervention in a poor relationship, but I am having the most trouble accepting it because I can see such a great potential for a godly man in him, but now he is a far cry from it. I know it is bad, and I am not in a relationship with him anymore, but I still am having thoughts like 'what if he becomes this great godly man?' and I feel dis-eased. Please contact me at godsgirlms@sbcglobal.net. I hope you see this post, being half a year since you published this...

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