Being the Man
Most of us have read Ephesians 5:21-30 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body. and Colossians 3:18-21 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Instead of focusing on these popular verses about marriage, let’s look at the qualifications for a man to be an elder, bishop, or deacon. These verses describe what it means to be a godly man; they aptly apply to God’s expectations for men as fathers and husbands.
Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)……Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 1 Timothy 3:2-5, 8-9)
Men, are you thinking that these expectations are just a little more than you can handle? Take heart you don’t have to accomplish all this instantaneously. Just as a child to school day after day, week after week, and year after year to acquire the knowledge necessary to live a productive life, so every man go to God must day after day, week after week year after year to obtain the power and desire to be a godly husband and father. If you faithfully seek Him with all your heart, He will help you become the man you can be.
This passage from 1 Timothy 3 calls for men to be “above reproach” (v.2). The King James Version uses the word “blameless.” God wants men to admit their shortcomings instead of concealing them, to be led by the Spirit at every moment, and to repair any damaged family relationships through humility, repentance, and prayer God wants men to live at peace. His Word says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12.14). A blameless man will pursue peace, especially with his family.
God desires men to be emotionally balanced in their family relationships—to be “temperate, self controlled” (1 Tim.3.2). Godly men do not live lives of extremes—one minute being anger and the next completely clam. They live on an even keel, like rocks in the midst of life’s storms they are a refuge for their families and provide courage, strength, and support. They seldom stray from the straight and narrow path; they keep their ship and its passenger’s safe as they maneuver through the rocky shoals of life.
They are also “able to teach” (v.2). God wants men to be spiritual leaders in their families. Their first course of action is to live and teach by example. They must practice what they preach and do what they say they’re going to do. If they fail this basic test of leadership, the entire family structure will implode, leaving chaos and emotional wounds. Jesus Christ must Teacher. They must daily feed on spiritual truths from the Word of God.
If you ask the average Christian woman what she wants in a husband, she will tell you she wants a husband who loves the Lord and shows it by living his family unconditionally. Remember, men, you will teach your family more about God by what you do at home than all the other activities you are involved in –no matter how religious they are.
Deuteronomy 11 reminds us, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
No matter what time of day it is, God wants men to be teaching their families about God. Morning, noon and night—day in, day out—at home or away, in the car or on the couch, we are to be teaching God’s ways. For the Christian, vacation or retirement from the faith is not an option.
1 Timothy 3 also calls for men not to be “violent but gentle” (v.3) The gentle, loving hands of a godly man can do more healing than a roomful of doctors. Families need to experience God’s love through their husbands and fathers. God wants men to be compassionate, able to place themselves in another’s shoes, willing to walk the extra mile whenever the need arises.
Jesus Christ is the gentle Lamb of God who calls people to “be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). Godly men need to practice this trait of our Lord; in return, God blesses their families with stability and peace in spite of life’s changing circumstances.
Men filled with the Holy Spirit know how to handle family fights. They how to confront issues fairly. They know how to defuse family situations before they blow up, and they know when to raise the white flag when surrender necessary. Fighting and quarrels will happen in families; it’s a matter of how you fight and in what spirit you fight.
I remember talking to a couple years ago. I asked them how often they fought. The husband proudly told me that they never fought. Never? Boy, I was impressed! I wondered what I was doing wrong. I thought maybe I wasn’t being the proper Christian husband or maybe my wife wasn’t being the proper Christian wife. What a shock I received the following year when I heard that this “perfect” couple was getting a divorce! I found out that they seldom communicated, and when they did, one demanded his or her way while the other hid in a self-imposed shell of pity and anger. No, they didn’t fight in the traditional sense. Their war was hidden in their emotional bunkers of the heart. When the real shooting began, the marriage quickly vaporized into a string of skirmishes that ended with both sides losing.
A godly man is “sincere” (1 Tim.3:8) or as the New King Version states it, “not double-tongued.” He speaks truth, not lies; compliments, not insults. A man’s words are often a barometer of his spiritual condition.
Proverbs 10:19-21 says, When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
God wants men to speak in a measured way and use words wisely. I’m not saying that husbands should limit how much they talk to their families. Rather, they should think before they speak and pray for God’s Spirit to be evident in their conversations. In the heat of the moment, don’t give in to lusts of the flesh and say something you will regret later. A man whose heart is connected to God will have words like fresh water, words that feed and nourish the ears and hearts of those who hear him speak. This kind of family man will help his family grow spiritually, bringing them into a closer walk with God.
Man, a godly husband is not perfect, but he tries to be. Many men lost in church today are inadvertently leading their families down the same thorn-infested path they are following. God will hold the man responsible for leading his family astray. Men the buck stops with you!