Ok so let’s just be real for a moment – as men we have lots of plates to spin, lots of “stuff” that fills our days, pressures on most fronts. It can be tiring, or is that just me! At the same time there is a hunger in my heart to be a quality man of God, but over the years I have known times of feeling great in that place and times of feeling utterly rubbish in what I reflect of God in the way I do my life.
It wasn’t long after I was saved some 24 years ago that I came across 2 Samuel 23 and read in verse 8 about those Mighty Men of God. Something in me grasped hold of the words and a flame was lit deep inside me about being a man of passion and holiness for the glory of my heavenly father and the one who paid such an amazing price to set me free.
I am hungry to “be holy as HE is holy” and over the years have heard some great advice so here is my top 5 tips on how to be Godly men
1 Be accountable – Cultivate open honest friendships
Solomon was indeed one wise man when he gave us the proverb “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another”. (Proverbs 27v17) His words urge us as men to do life together; his wisdom encourages us to cultivate open and honest friendships as men.
I have 2 mates who are not only amongst my best friends but they are my brothers, they know me better than I know myself. Someone made a comment recently about the authenticnature of our friendship and I think that word sums it up well coz it’s a friendship that has been forged through thick and thin, through bearing with one another in love, through speaking the truth, though bringing correction that reflects the fact that God discipline those he loves that we might holiness.
Over the years I have learnt the importance of being open and honest with them about my sin, which so easily entangles, and about the lies I have to stand against again and again. These are the guys I turn to, these are the guys whose counsel I respect and I seek out.
I, in return know when these guys aren’t doing well, I know their defence mechanisms and I love them enough to tackle them head on. I love them and I know God has the best for them. I know the lies that the enemy will use to bring them down in their thinking and I have a proven commitment to stand alongside them and fight.
Who are your buddies like this? Find them and invest in cultivating transparency with them.
2 Be Respectful. Cultivate a life style of honour and respect to all those around you because in doing so we reveal the heart of God, and as men of God we are called to reflect his character.
I think this is especially important to the women we do life with. My wife is involved in praying through all sorts of issues with women and in a lot of cases lack of fatherly love and respect from men is a common experience that their issues are rooted in. God is passionate about his daughters. His heart is that of a father who delights in seeing those daughters know who they are in him. Know their beauty and preciousness to him. He calls fathers to live His passion out as they raise their daughters to display the qualities of Gods fathers’ heart. But not every girl has a dad who is able to fulfil that, so the role of expressing Gods heart for them gets transferred to us, the men they do life with.
Think about how we talk to the women and girls around us, how we talk about them, how we respond to their clothing, their emotions, what we do to get their attention.
As the men they do life with, as their friends and in some cases as their spiritual brothers we set the standard in areas like respect, honour, integrity, purity, loyalty, love. The way we treat the women in our friendships become the standards by which they expect to be treated as wives and girlfriends.
We need to make a covenant with:
Our eyes saying that we will not look at things which are not helpful to us or look at them as objects of sexual lust
Our ears that will not listen to comments, songs, gossip that disrespect
Our mouths that we will not speak in derogatory terms about them or gossip about them but build them up
Our feet, that we will step up and protect them, honouring them in word and action.
3 Be Dads. Cultivate lifestyles that reach down and seek to raise up those around us.
When I was 21 I heard a guy talk about how whatever our age we can become dads because there will always be guys younger than us who need positive role models.
He was talking about guys who not only need examples of what it is to be positive, passionate, respectful, worshipful, slow to anger, abounding in grace but who need men older than themselves to encourage, speak truth and discipline in love.
By the time I was 22 I had 4 spiritual sons from the youth group I ran ( they’re all in their 30’s now, leading churches, being husbands, living lives for God) by the time I was in my 30’s I had added 2 more guys to the list who were from disadvantaged and chaotic backgrounds. One was 17 when I met him, he’s had his ups and down with drugs and rough sleeping but is now working with the homeless himself and when we see each other the first thing he asks for is a hug, a hug that I know meets a deep rooted need for affirmation inside him.
The other was 25 when I first met him. He was only 4 years younger than me. I was the first person who ever said I was proud of him, can you imagine 25 and never had anyone say they are proud of you.
Currently I’m adding other son to the list because although my wife and I have 2 sons by birth, the truth is God calls us to take many sons to glory.
We need to ask God to show us who we should father and then give us eyes to see how they need to be fathered. Being a father isn’t about being cool, it’s about being there. A dad is someone who makes the choice to engage in a child life and is dedicated to that. We can all do that.
4 Be Courageous – Cultivate lifestyles of risk and adventures of faith in order to leave your mark.
I was really inspired by a phrase I heard not that long ago about the fact that our ceilings become the floor for the next generation. It made me think about the inheritance that I might dream of leaving my own sons and the spiritual sons I am fathering. It made me think about what am I doing to in my day to day life that pushes me out of my comfort zones and in to the place where I have to rely on God to be true to his promises. What am I doing to storm the gates of Hell and prepare the bride for the bridegroom? What am I living for that will last long past my dying breath and stand as a monument to Christ’s?
I’m not saying that to be quality men of God we all need to preach to thousands, or raise the dead, take the gospel to the nations or work for the church - although if that’s a dream you dream then press in and seek God for those things. No for some of us to get out of our comfort zones means to express more freedom in our worship so our children and those around us might see our example and do likewise. Or deal with addictions or be wise stewards with our money so we might break cycles of materialism and be triggers of generosity. It might be that we leave behind an inheritance of knowing Gods joy or being hospitable.
It wasn’t long after my wife and I got married, only 1 month and 1 day in fact when someone close to me died tragically in his 20’s. James left behind a deep inheritance in my life. I had seen in him someone who loved his wife and made her feel special as well as someone who was not ashamed to be real in his expressions of love for his male friends. Since that day I have sought to be the best husband I can be and in doing so be an example to my sons. Since that day I have sought to be a man who is not ashamed to tell my male mates how important they are to me and how they enrich my life. James lived a life that was courageous and left his mark.
5 Be worshippers– Cultivate lives that bring praise and honour to God above all things
Our first calling is to worship god with all our hearts and to give him glory. Don’t know about you but I get a real thrill from worshipping god with everything in me.
I think it's important that as men we are passionate in our worship and not passive. I prepare myself every sunday morning before church. I find 5 minutes, normally when I'm in the shower coz its a kids free zone, and pray in tougues and talk to God. It's not about anything more than stilling myself for that 5 minutes so I don't get to church cold and take 2 songs to warm up.
It's about worshipping him because he is God and not based on how you feel. It's about finding time to worship and soak in private.
As men it's about being catalists within corporate worship thought developing hearts of worship in private.
To think more on this read the article 'Why worship' by Damion Miller