Manly or Godly?
I have never really considered myself a very “manly” individual, but not for a lack of trying. Growing up I hunted, lifted, weights, and worked on the ranch hoping to show my prowess as a mighty provider. Yet, as I got older I never felt like I was much of a man. It did not seem like I had the characteristics that make a boy a man.
When I got to college, other Christian men came around me and taught me the importance of God’s Word and encouraged me to search the Bible for answers. So I dug in deep! I found stories of great warriors and kings that inspired me and challenged me, but I also saw stories of women with great courage and strength that did the same. As I searched the Scripture, I noticed that there were few, if any, character qualities that God designated just for men. Both men and women are called to be strong, courageous, humble, kind, gentle, peaceful, and self-controlled. All Christians – no matter the gender – should persevere, fight for the faith, and run the race. In all my reading I never found a call to “manly” characteristics; instead, I found a much more challenging call.
God doesn’t call me to be like the great warriors of the past. God calls me to be like himself!
In 1 Peter 1:14-15, Peter wrote the following words to persecuted believers, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you are also to be holy in all your conduct.” You see, I found that God does not call me to be like the great warriors of the past. He calls me to be like him! Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to “train yourself for godliness.” His call on the character and conduct of Timothy is not to be manly, but rather to be godly. What a challenge!
Notice that these are not statements about who we are, but rather statements of what we are to become; who we are to train to be. If a man wants to be strong or fast, he trains. If he wants to be the best pitcher, hunter, mechanic, doctor, or teacher that he can be, he trains. None of those skill sets come naturally. Being godly does not come naturally, either. We must work at it. We must train for it.
But where do we train? To build muscles, we have gyms. To grow professionally, we have schools and conferences. To train in godliness, Christ gave us his church. The church is meant to be a place – a fellowship – for us to train in godly disciplines.
For this reason, the Ridgeview Men’s Group will be going through “Disciplines of a Godly Man“, by R. Kent Hughes. This book will challenge us to seek godliness in all aspects of our lives from purity to studying God’s word to leadership. Along with godly disciplines we will talk about the roles that the Scriptures give men to fulfill such as being a husband, son, father, friend, and leader in the church.
Join us, every Thursday at 6:30AM.