How Do I Become A Real Man of God
by: Andrew Sloss
As many of you know I am currently coming down the homestretch in pursuit of my Master’s in Ministry Leadership. Just this this morning I was working on my thesis paper which is due in mid-March and looking forward to the day when I will be done with my classes. Although to be fair I am a nerd and love to learn. Being back in a classroom setting (even if it is just virtual) has been a lot of fun and something I have missed and will be missing again once June rolls around.
For my thesis paper I am researching how stereotypes and social stigmas might influence a man’s decision to attend or not attend church. You may not be aware but research has consistently shown a significant gap in church attendance between women and men dating back to the 1950’s. The gap has consistently stayed between 10%-15% over the last six decades and there are plenty of theories out there attempting to explain where this difference comes from.
I share all that simply to inform you that I have spent a great deal of time considering what it means to be a man who follows God and how that should look in my own life. Over the last 14 years of my life I have also spent a great deal of time reading, watching and listening from other Godly men about what it means to be a Godly man. Thus, at the start of this week I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on how to become a real man of God. Keep in mind we aren’t looking for perfection and we all fall short day in and day out in our relationships, including the one we have with God Almighty. That is what this blog is all about, being a better man today than you were tomorrow and being a better man tomorrow than you were today. Don’t beat yourself up on any of these points this is the goal to be shooting for so just stay focused and press on.
What does it mean to be a real man of God? First and foremost a real man understands that God’s purpose must permeate his entire life. When God’s purpose is so evident in a man’s life it will easily flow over (See Luke 6:38) into the lives of other people he comes into contact with. God desires to pour so much blessing, purpose and power into each of us that other people who be positively affected and decide they want that in their own lives. God gave men dominion and stewardship over the earth (See Genesis 1:26-31.)
This week I will be discussing 10 essentials for becoming a real man of God. All of them boil down to our God given purpose to be good stewards of all that He has entrusted us with. If you can be a good steward and teach other men to be good stewards you are well on your way to becoming the man of God you were supposed to be.
Essential #1 – A Need and Love For God and His Presence
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91:1-3
To be a real man of God means to continually pursue God and his presence. This is most easily done through worshiping God via music and prayer. There are constant demands on our time as men: work, family, friends, and social just to name a few. Making time every day to pursue our connection with God is of utmost importance if we are going to be able to find balance in our lives. As a real man of God your spiritual priorities should always take precedence over the others. In Luke 4 we see the Devil attempting to distract Jesus when he was alone and in the desert. In verse 8 Jesus replies “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
It can be very difficult at times to put God first. This isn’t meant to be an easy list of things to do. Then again being a real man isn’t something that is easy to accomplish. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many knuckleheads running around creating problems for the rest of us. Most of the time sitting down to kill some zombies on my PS3 is always more appealing than cracking open the Bible or playing some worship music. Yet I can notice a tangible difference in my life when I am not spending enough time in God’s presence. You just have to make time for God as your top priority.
Essential #2 – Spiritual Renewal
I have yet to encounter a man who doesn’t have some kind of grievous wound that has been inflicted upon him during his lifetime on this earth. Often times this wound has been caused by our own fathers, sometimes even intentionally. These wounds can cause us to misunderstand our purpose and to not realize our true worth as men in society. We become easily influenced by the images we see in movies, on television, the internet and even via social media. We allow these images to distort our images of manhood and what it means to be a man.
God is seeking spiritual renewal with each of us. He desires for us to seek Him out and get the full revelation of what it means to be a man in God’s image. God desires us to reflect his own image onto those people around us. Our confidence must come from God and not from ourselves, for that is a deception. By connecting with God and understanding the image He has for us as men it will allow us to ignore the fake images of manhood we see everyday around us.
A real man only wants to be what he was created to be. His desire is to truly be just like his Father. “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
#3 Dedicate Yourself to Developing Your Talents and Gifts
When we look closely at the life of Jesus one of the most prevalent themes running throughout his life is his desire to do the work of his Father. Here are just a few verses:
“Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started.” (John 4:34 MSG)
“I glorified you on earth, by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor, the very splendor I had in your presence before there was a world.” (John 17:4-5 MSG)
“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4 NIV)
Many men will twist these verses and use them as an excuse to spend long hours at work, away from their family. Jesus is not talking about the kind of work we are to be doing for the company who pays us a salary. Jesus is talking about the work God called him to do, which was to seek and save what was lost. Jesus was intent on doing the work of God the Father and to bring that work to completion. Any time your work comes before your family on a consistent basis you need to re-evaluate your priorities and make some changes, more on that later.
A real man of God is motivated to do the work of his heavenly Father, while along the way focusing on developing his talents and gifts. A real man has a vision for his life and he is diligent about fulfilling that vision. A man who steps out in faith and does his very best, yet makes mistakes is better than a man who doesn’t do anything. (See Matthew 25:14-30 NIV)
The purpose of our working lives isn’t just to work to pay the bills, to buy groceries or to be able to afford the new PS4 (although an argument could be made for the latter.) Rather, work is something that is supposed to bring fulfillment to men; it is a natural part of being a man. When God put Adam in the garden there was no supervisor or anyone offering Adam a paycheck. Adam worked in the garden because it brought him fulfillment.
I know we have all worked jobs we hated. You might even be reading this and hating your current job or career. I am not claiming you have to stay in a career you hate because it is God’s purpose for your life. The issue of being in a career or job we hate is a discussion for a different time. The point is that every man should feel a need to be productive while at work despite perhaps not liking his job. There have been plenty of jobs I had that I hated but I still felt good about being productive even when the work was tedious and mind crushingly boring. Just like the story in Matthew 25 God wants us to work in order to increase His kingdom on earth, regardless of how happy we are with the work. This is where renewing your mind (see Part 1) becomes so important when it comes to fulfilling our purpose.
#4 Marriage and Family Comes First
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:26-27 NIV)
Jesus is a family man. The Bible describes the Church (or its people) as Christ’s bride. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus is not our lover (that is something twisted the Church has made up over the last 50 years.) Jesus simply cares for his people like a man should care for his wife. All through the Bible we see Jesus stepping in and stepping up to defend his people (i.e. his wife and family) and taking the time away from his “work” in order to fulfill the purpose God had intended for him. Several times we see the disciples question why Jesus is stopping to help others, eat with tax collectors or to get involved in conversations with people the disciples felt were benefit him. Those individuals were Christ’s family and his “bride” and he made time for them a priority over anything else he was doing.
A real man puts his family and wife above his own selfish needs and desires. His primary concern should be for their safety and protection. He should never do anything that might put their safety (physical, spiritual, emotional or mental) in jeopardy. Women place a high value on feeling secure in their relationship with their husband in in the family unit. Sadly, many so-called “men” are constantly violating that security with their words and actions. They hide behind work and social events rather than head home and deal with a mistake they made over the weekend or a tough conversation they need to have about finances with their wives. Some men simply claim they are running out for cigarettes and never come home again.
Be a real man, defend your home. Protect your wife and children. Build boundaries in your life to ensure that you are putting them first.
#5 Commit to Learning, Following and Teaching God’s Word
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
In addition to protecting our families, a real man of God also must be diligent about protecting his own spirituality. We must constantly make sure we are spending time in His word or we will find our spiritual health in a rapid decline. It is only by spending time in God’s word that it can transform us and help us to become more Christ-like. To be a real man of God means to live a principled life based on God’s word. We cannot live that kind of life if we don’t know His word.
We must also be willing to teach what we have learned to our families. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) A life lived serving God is meant to expand the kingdom of God on earth. By knowing scriptures and renewing our mind it will allow God’s reach to grow in our world. Part of this process involves teaching our children and wives the word of God.
#6 Outwardly Demonstrate Your Faith in God
“Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)
As real men of God we should inspire others through our faith and actions. Jesus inspired those who followed him, that anything they can believe (i.e. moving mountains, healing the sick and raising the dead) is possible. Not only did Jesus believe it but he lived it, showed it and encouraged others to live the same way. As men of God we are called to encourage one another and our fellow man (i.e humans.)
A real man of God does not sit on the sidelines of life cheering on “the team.” We are called to live a life of action. I love how the Message Bible puts it:
“Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?” James 2:20
We must encourage one another. When your friend, co-worker or child wants to give up, it is your job (i.e. purpose) to encourage them to fight on and never quit. Even when someone has failed at a task, job or skill we must still encourage them to get back up and try again. Even in the darkest hour a real man of God will always believe there is a way out.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (I Corinthians 10:13)
One final point on this particular trait: sometimes being a man of faith means holding other men accountable even when you don’t want to. A real man of God isn’t afraid to be accountable and doesn’t mind being called out. It doesn’t mean he has to like it and he may even be mad at first for being called out, but in the end he understands when he acts like a knucklehead he should expect the real men in his life to call him out for it. Real men of God hold each other up to a high level of accountability and are not afraid of accountability. Likewise, a real man of God understands this and knows what happens and what to expect in situations when he isn’t living up to God’s standard.