If you’ve been around me lately, you know that God has been really hammering me about being a godly man. Honestly, it feels as if He has relentlessly been putting convicting materials around me about what He wants from men, specifically. Whether it be from the Word of God, movies, interviews, or articles, everything I see seems to be pointing to this overwhelming need for men to be men of God. I am aware, more than ever, of our culture here in the 21 st century and its lack of emphasis on raising up true
men. Instead, we are (as a whole) suppressing true manhood, calling it “toxic”, and the results are many of the males 50 and under do not know what it truly means to be a man.
I have been looking in the churches, and this is such a problem now that no one even blinks twice about the reality that it is common, extremely common, for there to be more women than men in attendance. Men seem to have been given a slide, an unholy grace to skip church because of work, or even worse, for pleasure. Men go to games, go fishing, etc. instead of making time for God. Just as prevalent, is the idea that “we can go out on Saturday night and have a good time, and still go to church on Sunday
morning” even though experience dictates that Saturday night has Sunday morning affects that prevent church attendance… even if you aren’t drinking or partying, just staying up late on Saturday night is going to result in an inability to wake up on time. Too many of today’s men don’t have their priorities in the right place.
Our culture today is so upside down that it promotes boys staying boys emotionally, instead of emphasizing the role of men. The longer I pastor, the more I realize the gravity of the injustice that is being done to young males. We just want to play, and have an intense desire to not carry any responsibility, constantly hoping for someone else to step up so we don’t have to. We neglect responsibility, and dare I say we actually run from it… it truly grieves me to admit it, to face this truth. On Wednesdays nights, here at the church, we have been reading from the book of Amos, and as I have been
studying it, I have found a subtle, yet constant theme of God calling the men out for their lack of leadership and not meeting their purpose. When a culture develops to this place, a place where we are currently, it is headed down a very short road to destruction.
There is so much to address, it’s hard to form a plan on how to approach it. Before we can even get to what God desires or the how to get there, we need to address the problems specifically (I need to preface this with a confession that most of this has been hard for me to wrestle with, since it applies to me just as much as it would to anyone else). This culture we are in is just like the one in Israel at the time of Amos. In Amos 3-6 (specifically, I am thinking of 6:4), where it talks about men avoiding responsibilities, letting others lead, putting off the requirements of the day and choosing to be idle, by
laying around and lounging all day on their couches (yes, it literally says that one of the problems that caused Israel to be destroyed was the fact that men “lie on beds… and lounge on your couches”).
The first problem with men to address is IDLENESS, because I find many of our young men don’t work. Let me be clear, I’m not necessarily talking about making money. I am very aware that you can potentially make a lot of money today without ever leaving home. That isn’t the problem. The problem is we don’t leave our homes. We stay inside with no real human interaction, only talking through devices, whether they are cell phones or headphones. God gave man the job of working the earth, sweating, breaking ground, taking care of nature, pruning trees, planting fields, running government, protecting people, serving people, etc. These things cannot be done in the living room, or on your cell phone. God made us to be in nature, and as uncomfortable as that can be, we need to make time for it. By the way, every man knows how they feel after a long day outside, cutting brush, mowing grass, weed eating, or anything else you can think of that involves a hard day’s work in the back yard. For me, I feel absolutely exhausted, yet overwhelmingly accomplished. It surely beats any day sitting at a desk, typing out blogs or curriculum. Also, I must add how amazing it is to have another guy around to do it with you. We all know how special fellowship is, but when men are being men, doing manly things, the fellowship takes on a whole new level.
The second problem I see in our culture, which is preventing men from becoming truly godly men is there is not a true sense of OWNERSHIP. Every male I know over 60 seems to have an identity most of the younger men lack. They know who they are, what they can offer, and are readily available to meet the needs around them. They don’t wait to see who will step up, they just see a need and fill it. Sadly, many of our younger men see the same needs and hope someone else will step up before they have to, even though they may be the best person for the job. I must admit, I am being very general at the moment, but I’m doing that intentionally in order to grab as many readers as possible. Often times, I will have a young man see a need and approach me ready to volunteer. As I encourage them and tell them what all needs to be done, what I have experienced is I can actually see them realize what they are getting into and already retreating, not wanting to commit and take ownership. They say things like, “I’m not sure how much I can do, but I’m willing to do… (usually about half of the load).” I appreciate that, because if they didn’t do half, that means I am typically left to do all of it, so if they do half, they are helping me out. But the truth is, if I asked one of our older men to do it, they would do it all, and typically do it better and faster than our younger men, because they own their work. In short, men these days seem to have the thought process of , “I don’t need to because someone else will do it.”
Another issue with men today is we don’t think things apply to us. So often, I find that guys have an excuse for everything. We have a million ways to get out of any responsibility, and even worse if we can’t get out of it reasonably, we just don’t show up at all. Way too often, I find that guys just skip out on something they signed up for, with no explanation at all. They just disappear for a few days, and when they come back they try to act as if nothing happened, as if everything is great. The reality is this behavior
comes at a great cost, as it has proven to be true that these guys never change, and only get worse when it comes to commitment and responsibility.
The next indictment against the men of today is the video game culture they carry. I’m not sure if video games are a bad thing in and of themselves, but the culture of gaming is a serious problem. The reason for this is because it has become a constant desire for an escape from reality. Instead of being the men we are called to be, we are enthralled with pretending to be heroes. It’s the works of men without the character or responsibilities required, and its consequences are outrageously destructive. Guys today are constantly dreaming about being somewhere else, anywhere else, always wanting to get away, go on vacation, avoiding responsibilities, not wanting to work, dreaming about quitting their job and just enjoying life without work. Even if we do work, it’s only in order to save enough money so we won’t have to work. We don’t want to work anymore. Work is dreaded, and the escape from our realities is a constant desire. This goes against everything God has designed and created us for. Now I know some of you might be thinking something like, “Geeze, are you saying wanting a vacation is bad?” NO. There is a huge difference from needing a break or using vacation to reset, versus hating work and having the heart posture that detests life while entertaining the thought of, “If only I had a better job (or past, or life, etc) then I wouldn’t have to do this, and I could be happy.” Escape from reality is not what godly men do, it’s what boys do.
So that’s my indictment and case against men today.
So what does God want from us?
God desires for men to be leaders. Leaders are people who encourage others when no one else can. Leaders build up everyone around them, and see the value of pouring themselves out for the benefit of the next guy. Godly men are also providers, not just in monetary means, but in all ways. They provide hope, energy, focus, and help just as much as anything else. Godly men are protectors, too. They are courageous- not fearless, but bold and filled with courage. They overcome their fears, tackling them with
full force. Godly men are guides through life. And just as important (and probably most lacking in men) is that godly men must be affectionate.
When I think of the men who fought in WWII, that is exactly what they did. They led from the front, encouraging each other, building each other, and pouring themselves out for each other. They provided hope, energy, and focus while helping each other to stand, even when they were wounded or exhausted from weeks of fighting. They protected each other. They were surrounded by fears, but never gave in. Their love for each other pushed them forward. After the war, these men were guides for everyone for the next 50 to 70 years. The culture they built was the strongest time in American history. And again, these men were affectionate men. I am reminded of a letter I read of a man who died on D-Day (June 6, 1944), who wrote to his wife, “Soon, I will land in Europe with the greatest group of men ever assembled. Strangely, I am not consumed with fear, although it is definitely with me. No, I instead am consumed with the greatest desire I have ever had to simply hold you in my arms again. I love you always,…” Lt. Meehan is clearly a man I aspire to be like. You can see his courage, leadership qualities, and affections clearly in this short letter. He doesn’t shrink back from his responsibilities. It is heartbreaking to know his boots never hit the ground, as his plane was destroyed and he was one of the first men to die.
It is important for men to pursue righteousness. And I’m not talking about a light, fluffy, idea of righteousness. I know God has made us righteous, but that is no excuse for us to then relax and defend our sins saying, “But God made me righteous! I can’t be unrighteous!” Yes, that is all very true, but at the same time, if you really know and understand what it means to be made righteous by God, you would honor that, becoming the best version of yourself you could possibly be, with the understanding that you are always working towards being MORE. Keep your righteousness practical, with God and man. Obviously, godly men must pursue godliness, but what does that mean? I believe it impossible to be godly without being a true worshipper of God. You must live a life of worship. I’m not talking about singing all the time, or only singing Christian songs, but I am talking about your life. A true worshipper loves God with all they have, not just in word or deed. Love that doesn’t involve sacrifice of some kind is only an emotional idea. Most important, a worshipper of God, a lover of God, a man pursuing godliness MUST destroy all sin around him. Sin cannot be tolerated. No one who calls themselves a true man can tolerate sin in their life, or even around them, especially a man of God. Unfortunately, too many “men of God” don’t just tolerate sin around them, they encourage and allow it.
A godly man must also be a man of faith. I think it goes without saying that a man of faith lives by faith, but even more I’m referring to the fact that godly men are always desperate for a move of God, don’t you agree? Can you imagine a man of God saying, “It’d be nice if God moved and did something awesome, but either way, we will be fine”? It’s utterly ridiculous, and we know it. However, too many men aren’t desperate for God to move. The only move of God they want is to be rescued from this life (which means
they are wanting to be rescued from their responsibilities. A godly man will also LOVE, and by that I referring more to the fact that too many guys today are constantly bickering, impatient, and wanting to fight. That is what children do. Men don’t bicker. The men of WWII didn’t complain when they didn’t agree with what was being done. They knew when to be quiet, just as much as when to speak. When a WWII veteran entered a room, you knew it because they carried a presence that was respected and honored by all. Bickering, complaining, being impatient, and fighting are not what godly men do.
Godly men must be steadfast, never wavering and always able to persevere. They understand their role as men is to lead from the front, not to stand in the back and hide. They are always active, because they know that idleness is a problem. Today, we think these people are crazy, like something is wrong with them. They can’t sit still, always working, always finding something to do. The reality is, our culture has slid so far back from where God wants us that we think this is a bad characteristic, and the reason
why is their lack of idleness bothers us because it convicts us. Godly men are also gentle. I know, I know, gentle isn’t the word you think of when thinking of David and his mighty men, or Paul, or a WWII veteran… But think about it. What does it mean to be gentle? Is gentleness the same as being soft? No. Gentleness is best described as “Strength under control.” Men should be extremely dangerous, able to clear a room, but must have the ability to control themselves. That is what my grandfather had, and so many of the older men I was surrounded by as a child. The presence they carried that we all recognized
was actually their gentleness. They were able to think during trials. They were slow to react, quick to think, slow to speak, quick to listen. They weren’t busting at the seams, ready to explode, and they didn’t need to be treated with kid gloves. They were gentle. We didn’t have to tread lightly around them. Godly men, true men are gentle.
Lastly, and maybe the most profound thing I can pinpoint as a quality of the men God is looking for is that men should Pursue Holiness before preaching holiness. Our lives and actions speak way louder than our words.
It is truly time for us to become the men God desires. This isn’t toxic masculinity. This is godly masculinity. And God is waiting for us… Bless you
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