The Desire to be a Man in the image of God
There has been a good response to these articles. There are some serious issues surrounding men in our churches. Over the past few weeks we have looked at the need to be faithful men in our homes and faithful men in our churches. We are called to be the priest of our homes, making sure to teach the Word of God to our kids. We are the watchmen over our homes, the ones that are to protect our wives and children. We are to love our wives and support them as they journey through life for the Lord. We are to prepare our children to take our place when we move on to the next life. In this article I am going to talk about a few things that I felt led to expand on.
- Be Faithfulness – 1 Corinthians 4:2
Faithfulness is one of the most important traits in a man. The NIV puts it this way, “Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” The word steward can be translated manager. Man of God, you are a manager in your home. You are required to be faithful. When we hear the word faithful, one may automatically think of sex or being faithful to a wife. But we are required to be faithful in other areas as well. We need to be faithful at work; we should be working hard to provide for our families to set examples for our sons that men should be hard-working.
In 2 Thessalonians 3: 10, the apostle Paul tells the church at Thessalonica that one who does not work should not eat. We have an epidemic of men, even young men, on welfare in North America. We have men who have decided that the government should pay their bills, or even worse, that their parents should continue to support them well into their 20s and even the 30s. In our time, ‘young people’ are getting married older and older and putting off the responsibility of marriage and taking care of a family.
Men should be faithful in their churches. Church is not optional. In Hebrews 10:25 we are called to be faithful in assembling for worship. The word church is from a Greek word that means an assembly. The Lord tells us that, as we see the end of time approaching, church attendance will be more and more important. Men need to lead here and take their children to church with them. There should be no excuses. If you would go to work when you are sick, then go to church sick as well.
No sporting events should take the priority over the Lord’s house. Tell your children’s coaches that they will not be available on church days at all. In our home we do not allow our kids to get jobs that require them to work on Sundays, and my wife works only nights in the nursing home business. Anyone who lives in your home should be expected to attend church with you, no matter who they are. Get up, fix breakfast, dress the kids, walk the dog; do whatever it takes to lead and show your family that church is an essential like breathing and blood. It is a priority. Outside of being in a hospital or dead, there should not be an excuse to miss church. If you are on vacation, find a church or just have church before you go anywhere on a Sunday.
As a pastor it is important that my wife not feel that the church is my mistress. My marriage is first above all except to the Lord. There are wives who leave the ministry because they simply don’t like it. My first wife did; she was with me for 16+ years of marriage and 23 years all together; but one day she simply did not want to do this anymore, and she left. She still does not go to church much. But there are also marriages that fail because the wives feel cheated on with the churches we serve as pastors. Most urgencies are not as urgent as the caller makes them out to be, and can be monitored by text or phone. A death is a different situation, or a serious accident.
- Be Merciful
Godly men, remember their frail humanity. In Luke 18:13, the publican, a hated man, asked God to be merciful to him, a sinner. Never forget that we are just dust; God recalls that we are just that (Psalm 103:14). Lead as one who is vulnerable and not one who is invincible. Serve as one who is often tempted, and lead as one who requires a lot of mercy. Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful….” Be merciful to your family, and especially your children.
A godly man should not hold grudges against one’s spouse. There is a certain degree of tolerance in any long-term marriage. One must learn to not complain or point out the failures of one’s wife often. She is going to fail as are you. Let things go. We are not talking about grievous sins but preferences. Even if she were to commit sins, we need to be men of God who will forgive and move on for the sake of the marriage. I have learned that my teeth can be great gates for my words. Not everything I think needs to come out of my mouth. A wise man needs to be careful with his words (Proverbs 17:27). Godly men are careful with their words; they can do irreparable damage. James 3:5 tells us that the tongue can set things on fire. The tongue can hurt people; the tongue can do more damage than sticks and stones. Godly men, learn to be merciful with your words.
- Be Kind
Over the last few weeks, we have talked about being strong and being fighters. But we need to be kind to all that we can as well. Kind to our family first of all. It is amazing how much unkindness goes on in families. Siblings fighting, often egged on by family members; and there should be no nit-picking between spouses. Constant bickering will destroy your family, and your children will see it. Be kind to your wife and set the example for your daughters. They will marry men just like you. So, if you want your daughters to marry unkind men, be an unkind dad. Ask yourself this question: Would you let your daughter marry you? Would you give her your blessing?
Compliments are not the same as flattery; flattery has a motive, normally a bad one. But a Godly man pays genuine compliments to his wife and his children. In Genesis 12:12, Abraham is about to enter Egypt, and he warns Sarah that she is so beautiful that he is afraid that the men of Egypt will kill him for her. If you take the time to study the time line, you will see that Sarah is about 65 years old when Abraham say this about her. She is still his beauty.
Our wives should be our beauties to us long after the world’s definition of beauty is past. I have been saved for a long time; and over the years I have seen that there is a joy that keeps Godly women looking younger longer and maintains their beauty. A Godly man tells his wife that she is beautiful, with genuine compliments and with heartfelt admiration for what God has blessed him with. While there truly is physical beauty in youth, the truth is that my wife, after almost 10 years of marriage, is more beautiful to me than ever. Abraham’s wife was so beautiful to him at 65 that he feared for his life. Lastly, we men, me included, are good with the discipline but bad with the compliments when it comes to our children, especially our boys. We will compliment our daughters and not our boys.
Gents, my brothers, work at being Godly men. It is a lifelong journey, and you never arrive. There will always be more to learn and grow into.