What does a godly man look like?
Everywhere you turn, there are sermons being preached about what a man is. These sermons are not just being preached in church. They are being preached through every outlet imaginable - magazines, websites, TV shows, movies, music, shops and malls. I say "sermons" intentionally because that's exactly what they are - messages from messengers declaring something to be of supreme value, worth, or truth and seeking to get you to believe and act in accordance with the message.
For example, did you know Amazon.com can help you be a man? And I don't mean they sell great books about manliness... I mean that by purchasing these 6 coats, they will help you be a man this fall. And good news! If you add up the cost of the first jacket for sale on each page, you can increase your manliness for a mere $3,269. And possibly you can end up looking like the guy in the photo - hair that takes 30 minutes to prepare to make it look like you just woke up, the perfect amount of facial hair, and expressions that range from, "Look at all those leaves on the ground" to "Don't bother me. I'm thinking about important things".
What I hope to accomplish in your mind and heart today is not satirical or witty jabs at cultural references to manliness. I want to provide 5 pursuits that every godly man should see in an increasing way in his life. Let's get started.
Godly men worship
Worship is much more than merely singing, but let's start there since it's what most of us think when we see the word "worship". I have become increasingly convinced that there is a correlation between growth in godliness and unashamed adoration of Jesus Christ expressed in singing. I'm not concerned about the form (arms raised, tons of facial expressions, or a little side to side action) of a man's worship, but I am concerned to see more men willingly, even gladly, expressing love to God in singing his praises. Just a sampling of verses demonstrate this as something to be obeyed (and therefore it's not just a "personality" thing):
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
Becoming a godly man means increasingly being a man who, from a heart full of love for Christ, sings his praises.
Godly men pray
The Apostle Paul laid it on pretty thick for guys, writing "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling" in 1 Timothy 2:8. Hands are used for many things, and godly men use their hands with great intentionality - to gladly display their need for God. Whether it's a head lifted to the sky and hands outstretched, or head bowed and hands quietly open, or some other form, the idea here is that godly men pray with fervency before the Lord - to intervene, forgive, strengthen, lead, provide for, give wisdom, and more.
Godly men love
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is such an epic call to men: "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." Men have a responsibility to do many things, but none of them should ever be separated from love. Just like the call to do everything to God's glory (1 Cor. 10:31), we are called as men to do everything in love. Sometimes the idea of doing everything in love gets hijacked to mean you do everything you can to be nice, to avoid conflict, or to not rock the boat. But the godly love that men are to increasingly have in their lives does not dictate avoiding conflict or passively letting people ruin their loves. Rather, we take our cue about godly love from Jesus himself, who had his fair share of conflict and tension, but it was always directed in the right place and for the right reasons.
Godly men take initiative
As I have grown in my walk with Christ through the years, this idea of taking initiative has continually been one for me that I've struggled with. Every family has their generational baggage (i.e. sin) and mine is no different. One piece of baggage I carry around is passively letting things go, not addressing issues, and closing down conflict by any means possible. But examples from Scripture abound with godly men taking initiative, whether it's Jesus calling men to follow him or Paul confronting Peter about his racist behavior (read it in Galatians 2:11-14). Godly men take initiative and do what's necessary to make things right, to address conflict with grace and truth, and to be the first to step in when others don't in order to advance the mission of the Kingdom.
Godly men surrender
Want to grow as a godly man? Daily surrender is required. This means surrendering your will to God's will, your personal preferences to a pursuit of God's glory, and your desires for notoriety to an ever increasing desire for King Jesus to be magnified. John the Baptist encapsulated this idea perfectly when he said "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). A man who is fully surrendered to Jesus in everything is a dangerous man. Meaning, there is nothing he won't do when he knows God is leading him to do it, nothing he can't face with confidence because he knows God is with him, and nothing he can't overcome because he knows the strength is the Lord's strength in and through him.
I want to be a godly man. I have shortcomings in all of the areas listed above. And the reality is, to some degree we all do and we always will. But where you are today is not where you need to be next month or next year, and by God's grace we will together move towards greater godliness. One significant opportunity for you to become a godly man, and to grow in relationship with other men striving for the same, is to attend Harvest's Men's retreat on October 30-31. It's 24 hours of worship, learning, fun, food, and some rest as well. Don't pass up this opportunity. Sign up today and if you have a son age 13+, bring him along too.