I recently sat around an early-morning table with nine men. As the coffee steamed and the donut glaze congealed, we batted around the topic of conversation rooted out of Psalm 1.
We know the man is blessed who does not walk in the way of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. We take Ephesians 5 to heart and know we are supposed to love our wives as ourselves and carry the glad acceptance of sacrificial responsibility.
These are wonderful truths, but lofty concepts. We get the parameters, but what does the footprint look like when the rubber meets the road?
Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, addressing the issue of pornography, related his difficulty in defining the word itself, but coined the adage, “I know it when I see it.”
Much like Justice Stewart, while many men in the church have difficulty defining godly manhood, they know it when they see it. Sometimes it is a specific common trend among men we admire (i.e. their bookshelves are lined with biographies). It can also be in a short word, an overarching conviction, or a defining trait.
In all its various forms, when men see godly manhood displayed in another, it is a pull, a magnetism, and a battle cry unlike any other.
While our compiled list was capped at around 20, I will catalog our list down into seven distinct habits of godly men. It should be noted in our circle of Christian men, habits like prayer, Bible reading, and memorization were givens.
WE NOTICE GODLY MEN ARE HABITUALLY:
This isn’t to say godly men are all extroverts. However, we observe godly men make a habit of being with other people and listening. They meet with other men. They are gentle challengers, motivators and leaders. While challenging and motivating, they are also empathetic. They make a habit of exercising appropriate touch, words, and care that reach through the common manly veneer.
While it may sound redundant, godly men make a habit of consistency. Their “yes” means “yes” and their “no” means “no.” When they say they will be somewhere, or do something, you can believe it will be done, and they will be there on time. They finish what they start.
- FORWARD MOVING
Godly men are marked by a drive to accomplish a vision that is very clear to them. They are comfortably uncomfortable with the status quo. This means they are proactive agents of Gospel-change while not being reactionary or on the offensive.
Whether 18 or 98, a godly man makes a habit of intentional learning. They are readers – not just ESPN the Magazine or the ticker at the bottom of the Thunder game – but of biographies, challenging books, and above all, the Bible. They always have new insights to share and know that others play a vital role in their growth. They meet with others, confess their need for others, are continually asking good questions, and listening in conversation – not just waiting for their next turn to talk. A godly man never “arrives.”
Godly men habitually do things that express courage. They aren’t afraid to try. They aren’t afraid to fail or succeed. They know sometimes better futures come through current sufferings.
A godly man is self-aware. He is on guard physically, emotionally, and spiritually, knowing he is frail in and of himself. He works out his body, mind, heart and spirit to make sure he is fit and ready for the day.
Godly men habitually speak well of their wives. Not just on anniversaries or in public, godly men are marked by an appreciation for marriage in general and their wives in particular. The godly man affirms others both to their face and behind their back.
While obviously not exhaustive, this is our list. These seven things do not make a godly man, but they are things that mark a man who is bearing spiritual fruit. This is not an argument for morality or a standard of being “good enough.” But it seems when men are seeking to follow Christ, these things are consistent in their lives.
I would love to hear what habits mark the godly men in your life. If you are a man wanting to grow in godliness, try applying one of these areas where you are weak. Talk about it with other men.
We need men who follow Christ. The church needs men. Families need men. Men need men.
Let us strive to be the men God has called us to be in Christ.