There seems to be a renaissance of manliness in our day. Even Walmart and other major retailers have started capitalizing on the new interest in beard oil, mustache wax, and work boots. Although I am moderately encouraged by these recent developments, there is still a great deal of confusion to slice through when it comes to manhood in our culture. More alarming, there seems to be confusion about godly manhood among Christian husbands.
Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with beards, flannels, bonfires, work boots, pocket knives, pickup trucks, or hatchet throwing. In fact, it might do some of us a lot of good to put our phones down and spend some time in the woods. Nevertheless, God’s Word is more concerned with character than charisma. If your wife is to feel safe and protected under your leadership, you need to lay hold of God’s grace with one hand and point to Paul’s qualifications for godly manhood with the other. A wise friend reminded me that many times our wives need to be protected from us— our sin, our anger, our laziness, and our indifference. Not every Christian man is called to be an elder in the church, but the character qualities that Paul lists for elders in 1 Timothy 3 should be pursued by every man who follows Christ:
- Above reproach (3:2): Can your wife trust you? Would she agree that you are fit to disciple another man? Is the overall trajectory of your life one of godliness?
- Husband of one wife (3:2): Are you truly a one-woman man? Does your wife own your heart? Or does your activity on the Internet reveal that you have many women (virtually) in your mind and heart?
- Sober-minded (3:2): Is prayer your default position? Do you seek God’s wisdom in Scripture before making a decision or offering a response?
- Self-controlled (3:2): Can you control your spending? Can you manage your health? Are you ruled by a destructive vice?
- Respectable (3:2): Is your walk with Christ (although imperfect) generally commendable? Is there consistency between your public and private lives?
- Hospitable (3:2): Do you regularly open your home to friends and neighbors? Do you consider your home a blessing to steward or a cave to hide in?
- Able to teach (3:2): Are you a Word-saturated man? Are you actively seeking ways to minister to and disciple other men?
- Not a drunkard (3:3): Are you free from the grip of alcohol? Do you know and respect your limit? Do you lay down your freedom to drink for the sake of others when necessary?
- Not violent but gentle (3:3): Are you known for being a bully? Do you sneer at the idea of being tender with your wife? Does your anger often get the better of you?
- Not quarrelsome (3:3): Are you a man who seeks and values peace? Or do you rather enjoy heated debates? Does strife seem to follow you wherever you go? If so, why?
- Not a lover of money (3:3): Are you consumed with a desire for material wealth? Does your lack of money cause great discontentment and dissatisfaction in your life and diminish your hope in God?
- Managing your household well (3: 4): Is your home generally marked by order and love? Do your children feel safe and nurtured under your care?
- Not a recent convert (3:6): Are you aware of areas of spiritual weakness in which you need (and desire) to grow? What positive steps are you taking to grow in your knowledge of Christ and his Word?
- Well thought of by non-Christians (3:7): Does your attitude at work and in your neighborhood commend or dishonor Christ?
Excerpted from Man Up, Kneel Down: Shepherding Your Wife Toward Greater Joy In Jesus by J. Aaron White.