5 undeniable traits of godly men

father's day manhood

If you’re a man who desires to honor the Lord in the midst of this generation, you have set your heart to do something counter-cultural.  One of the greatest needs of present-day culture is men who love Jesus, are completely devoted to their families, make a meaningful contribution to society through their labor, and promote and preserve righteousness in our nation.

Men who live like that, without wavering, are in short supply.  Our culture needs these men, but then often demeans them when they rise up.  Some people who have been entrusted with power and influence speak of godly manhood like it’s a negative thing.  Too many of our politicians, educators, and entertainers are actively teaching our children that the principles of manhood outlined in Scripture are negative and should be avoided.

By God’s grace, a remnant of godliness is being preserved even in the midst of great social pressure to the contrary.  All around us, there are men who understand their calling from God, and they will not bow to the societal influences that devalue their important role and contribution to healthy communities.

God’s word has great counsel for these men.  It paints a picture of the undeniable traits of godliness that should be evident among men who follow Jesus.  I’d like to highlight five of those traits.


I.  A godly man submits to the lordship of Jesus.

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9)

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”  (Luke 6:46)

Submission to authority isn’t easy for most people.  One of the biggest struggles humanity has wrestled with since the time of our earliest ancestors is the desire to be autonomous.  We want to make all the decisions and do our own thing.  We bristle against those who admonish or correct us.  The end result of this autonomy is our vain attempt to operate like we are God.

 God’s word reveals a much better option.  In His word, we’re instructed to honor Jesus as Lord.  We’re called to trust Jesus completely, and instead of bristling against His authority, we’re called to welcome it.  We’re given the privilege to allow Jesus to call the shots in our lives.  A godly man submits to the lordship of Jesus.

Submitting to the lordship of Jesus is more than just acknowledging His authority in a verbal sense.  True submission includes obedience.  Jesus Himself explained that there are many people who refer to Him as Lord yet refuse to do what He tells them.  As far as I can tell, if a person calls Jesus “Lord” but refuses to take direction from Him, they don’t really mean what they say.

When my children were young, I regularly spoke to them about the subject of leadership.  They observed how I handled my leadership roles, and I would often explain to them that the day was coming when they would likely find themselves serving in various forms of leadership as well.  Then I revealed to them a leadership secret that few people understand.  You can’t lead others well until you first understand and embrace what it means to be led.

 Jesus is the perfect leader, and as He leads you, He will teach you how to lead others.  But to gain that level of understanding, you need to submit to His lordship first.


II.  A godly man sees life differently.

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  (1 Cor. 2:16)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Rom. 12:2)

Most people are conformists.  They wait for someone else to take the lead, and then when enough people start copying that person, they eventually join the crowd.  This is how hairstyles and clothing styles come in and out of fashion.  Most people echo the opinions of others and the conventional wisdom of the day.  They don’t even realize they’re doing it.  If you dare express a view that bucks against commonly held beliefs, you’re likely to be criticized or ostracized.

 Something miraculous happens when you come to faith in Jesus.  In that moment, you’re given a new life and a new mind.  You begin to see things differently.  As the Holy Spirit counsels you and gives you insight through Scripture, you start seeing yourself, others, circumstances, and the priorities of this world in a new light.  We are blessed with the mind of Christ which allows us to see things through His eyes.  According to God’s word, godly men see things differently.

The conformists of this world who continually buy into the spiritual blindness they were born with, cannot see beyond it.  But through Christ, our minds are renewed and our desire to conform to the desires of this world lessens.  As those desires lessen, and as our understanding grows, the Holy Spirit enables us to discern the will of God for our lives.

 Godly men don’t buy into the confusion of this age.  They see like God sees.


III.  A godly man says “no” to temptation.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”  (Eph. 6:11)

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  (Heb. 2:18)

 The temptation to sin is a struggle that is common to us all.  Temptation comes at us from all angles.  Our own sinful nature is a source of temptation.  The people and the circumstances we interact with regularly can tempt us in a variety of ways as well.  Scripture also tells us that Satan schemes against us and tempts us to rebel against the Lord by indulging in all kinds of sinful desires.

 During the course of Jesus’ ministry, Satan attempted to cause Jesus to give in to temptation as well.  Each time Satan attempted this, Jesus responded to him by quoting Scripture (see:  Luke 4:1-13).  That’s a good approach for us to understand as well.  When we fill our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s word, we’re less likely to be deceived by Satan’s attempts to lead us into sin.

 Have you ever wondered what’s really at the root of our temptations?  There are certain sinful things that you very likely might find tempting, but why do those things tempt you?  They tempt you because you’re convinced they can satisfy a void in your life.  We mistakenly think giving into temptation will ease our pain, cure our loneliness, or soothe our anger, but what really happens when we give in to what tempts us?  We discover that nothing was fixed.  All we’ve done is make things worse by adding shame, regret, and possibly a new addiction to our list of struggles.

 A godly man learns to say no to temptation because he has found the solution for his pain, loneliness, and anger in Jesus.  Jesus alone is capable of meeting the greatest needs of our souls.  There is nothing in this world that can meet our deepest longings like Jesus.  Godly men are convinced of this fact.


IV.  A godly man is willing to lead and take the arrows. 

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  (Heb. 13:7)

 “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.”  (Psalm 3:5-6)

 Recently, I had dinner with a friend who just built a chicken coop.  His family made the decision to keep chickens and they’ve been enjoying the process so far.  They even have a rooster, which in some neighborhoods isn’t allowed because of the noise.  When I mentioned that to him, he said, “Having a rooster is great.  They’ll protect the hens from predators, even to the death.”

 I was curious about what he said, so I read up on it a little.  Here’s what I found.  “Roosters are very protective. They act as the guardian of their flock, making sure that everything is running smoothly. Since chickens have many predators, a rooster will constantly be alert, vigilantly watching the ground and sky. And they are great at their job.  If they spot something that seems off or worries them, they immediately sound the alarm and guide the hens and chicks into a safe place. If the predator gets too close, the rooster will not back down and hide, it will fight to the death. This is especially true if there are little chicks in the flock.”  (source: https://www.thehenhousecollection.com/blog/9-important-reasons-to-keep-a-rooster/)

 There’s a good lesson godly men can learn from roosters.  Godly men are willing to lead even when that places them in danger or under attack.  They operate with a clear conscience which leads to a healthy form of confidence.  They know the Lord is with them to empower them, defend them, go before them, and back them up.  They can sleep soundly even though they know there may be those who have set themselves against them because they trust in the Lord to defend them as He empowers them to defend those under their care and oversight.


V.  A godly man makes the lives of those who get close to him better.

“He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.” (Psalm 112:9) 

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,”  (Eph. 5:25)

 Have you ever met someone who seemed like a people magnet?  Wherever a people magnet goes, others follow.  Everyone seems to clamor to be near them.

 It has often been my experience that this is particularly true for godly men who walk with integrity and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in their character.  These are the kind of people we find easy to trust and feel safe around.  We’re given a great picture of this kind of man in Psalm 112.  That Psalm is one of my favorites because it speaks of the way a godly man should carry himself in this world while being an ongoing blessing to the people he interacts with.

 Ephesians 5 gives us a similar picture of godly men.  We’re told that their wives experience particular benefits while in their presence because godly men understand what it means to replicate the sacrificial love of Jesus.  On a daily basis, they learn what it means to put their wives first.  A godly man give himself up so he can serve his wife and elevate her needs above his own.  He does this in view of the sacrificial love Jesus showed the church when He gave Himself up for us on the cross.

 Jesus is the pinnacle of what it means to be a godly man.  People flocked to Him, and those who followed Him while also exercising sincere faith in Him experienced miraculous blessings.  The lives of those who got close to Him improved in every way, including; relationally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 Are you a godly man?  Can it be genuinely said that everyone who gets close to you is blessed because of the experience?  Is your example of Spirit-empowered godliness making the lives of those around you better?

 There are many things Scripture reveals to us about godly men, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight five undeniable truths that stand out to me.

1.  A godly man submits to the lordship of Jesus.

2.  A godly man sees life differently.

3.  A godly man says “no” to temptation.

4.  A godly man is willing to lead and take the arrows.

5.  A godly man makes the lives of those who get close to him better.

This world needs godly men who can offer a visible example of the heart of Jesus, and if you’re a man, this is God’s desire for your life.  Will you rise up to this challenge and offer our confused and starving culture a picture of what a godly man who follows Jesus really looks like?

© John Stange, 2024


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