By Chris Denning
This Sunday is Father’s Day (heads up for all you late planners) and we’re also starting a new series called How to Be a Man. Fortunately for all of you reading, I’m quite literally the manliest man of all manhood than mans have ever manned up to man about . . .
Ok, that’s dumb. But part of what we’re trying to do with this series is help to dispel the myth that there is a one-size-fits-all picture for what a man should be. Instead, we’re going to talk about how God defines manhood and some principles that can help guide us to be more godly men.
With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to start the conversation with some guidelines for being a man. And in this context, when I say man, I mean a godly man, or a man that is following God.
Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list or even a definitive list, just some guidelines that jumped to the front of my mind. Also, I’d love to hear YOUR THOUGHTS on guidelines to being a man in the comments for this post on Facebook.
Without further adieu, here’s 5 Guidelines to Be a Man:
1. Submit to God in ALL Things
This one seems like a no-brainer, but who knows now a days. To be a godly man, one must submit to God . . . in ALL things. It might be easy for you to submit to God when it comes to your spiritual life and maybe even on Sundays. But what about your money? Or in a situation where you can compromise your character?
As men, before we lead or take charge or do ANYTHING, we have to learn how to submit to God in all things. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did & continues to do, and he’s the son of God, so there’s that. Not only that, submission to God is the beginning of understanding and wisdom, so if we want to be wise, we need to start with submission.
2. Take Ownership in Your Circle
This next one is about learning how to take responsibility for yourself & those closest to you. More than that, it’s about taking ownership. Note that I didn’t say take control. Control & ownership are 2 different things. We can’t control everything, but you can take ownership of something without having complete control.
Taking ownership means that you’ve got a vested interest in the outcome or well-being. This might mean owning your wife’s needs during a crazy season, or owning a project at work, or maybe even owning those in need around you. Either way, seeing things through the eyes of an owner changes the way you interact with the world, and that’s what men of God do.
3. Express Strength Appropriately
Strength is a quality often associated with men. Don’t get me wrong, women are just as strong as men. All I’m saying is that strength is something that men need to understand and express appropriately. In the family unit, men are often a place where the family looks for stability and strength, much like the mother.
However, men (and women too) can misinterpret how to express strength. For instance, if you are too enthusiastic or oppressive with strength, it can be expressed as anger or machismo. Or maybe you undervalue the importance of expressing strength, and can be seen by your family as a passive or disinterested leader. Either way, men should understand how to express strength appropriately, that encourages and supports their family.
4. Express Humility & Gentleness Appropriately
Equally as important as strength, men need to understand how to express humility and gentleness, appropriately. This may seem off, but as a father of two young girls, I’m only just beginning to understand the importance of this.
I started to really understand the importance of humility as a husband. I married a strong woman who keep me honest, and I’m grateful that I have a partner who helps me to see how I need to pursue humility. Humility doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it, and I have to work at it all the time. But humility can save a marriage, if expressed appropriately.
Gentleness is also important for men to understand. It’s not about being that warrior 24/7, 100mph at all times. While that gear has it’s place and is important, try coming at your 2 yr old daughter with that kind of intensity when she is throwing her 400th tantrum of the day. Men should understand how to be gentle, in the right way, at the right time, with the appropriate people. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the spirit for a reason, because we need it.
5. Lead Your Family Well
Finally, men should understand how to lead their family well. This means knowing when to keep pushing for a goal. When to ease up and have fun. When to let your wife take the lead. How to motivate your family to meet a goal.
I think most importantly, a man needs to understand how to lead his family spiritually. Every family is different, so maybe you won’t be leading a nightly devotional before bed time. And that’s OK. You need to know YOUR family and ask the Holy Spirit to help you lead them well. Be proactive. Your kids WILL NOT disciple themselves. Lead your family well.