When I asked a former female colleague if she had since married, she quipped, “No la! All the nice guys are either taken or gay.” The sad truth is, she’s not the only one lamenting. Extend that to the Christian community and it’s not just nice guys the women are looking for; it’s godly ones!
In my recent conversations with many single Christian young ladies, this has become one common and major concern as they wait upon the Lord for the right guy… godly men have become a rare commodity these days! Not that these are holding out for Mr Perfect but it seems such a challenge to find Christian men who love the Lord and desire to walk in His ways. Over time, this criterion of godliness is quickly revised and reduced to a more attainable one – as long as he is a believer, never mind that he hasn’t even stepped into a church over the last 10 years.
Am I exaggerating? I think not. Just talk to the many women who have married men like that. Or drop in to any Women’s Ministry or ladies’ cell group and you hear the same plight and prayer: “Please pray for my husband to come to church.” “I’m believing for God to zap him one day.” “Oh, in Jesus’ name, set him on fire, O Lord!” For some others, it is a lot more desperate when their Christian men fail to assume biblical headship in the marriage and the family. How I have seen and heard these women cry out to the Lord for strength and the preservation of their own sanity to go through each day.
How have we reached such a state? What have we missed? And what are we doing about it? In my humble opinion, I feel we need to address three extremely critical points:
Firstly, we don’t even know what a godly man looks like, much less be one! All we hear over and over again, is that men are to be leaders but no one tells us how or what we should be looking out for. Add to that the deluge of Hollywood and media counterfeit-male images and you can imagine the mess and confusion we have. And so, we see John Wayne’s alongside Rambo’s, and more recently, the metrosexual man and the K-Pop pretty boy! Sadly, the Church really has not addressed this issue adequately. Let’s be honest … when was the last time we heard a sermon about biblical manhood over the pulpit? Hardly, if ever. Instead, we reserve it for the mandatory (token?) pre-marital counselling course. Too late! The Church needs to begin again to address every Christian man, married and single, young and not so young.
Secondly, after teaching it, we need to get men to be accountable to one another. Think about this: Isn’t it odd that the Men’s Ministry is often not the first ministry in a church? We are usually more concerned about the women, the youths, the children, the aged, the poor. But what about the men? These are the leaders of the households! No wonder our families are breaking down! There needs to be a concerted effort to bring Christian men together. I know this sounds like an impossibility but hey, what happened to, “With God, all things are possible!”? If Jesus can impact the lives of 12 guys who later turned the world upside down, are we not to expect the same and more? Perhaps, we need more men like Jesus? Well, phrased differently, perhaps we need more to be changed into the image of Jesus that these can lead and impact like He did. Yet, how are we to do it if we don’t first teach it (see the first point) and then hold each other accountable through serious, discipling relationships?
Thirdly, as the first two points are put in place, we can then grow to be godly role models that we may rightly raise our children and youths. I read of, revere and respect men of God who lived righteous, holy and godly lives many years ago. Inspiring as these are, I wonder if we are today not able to find similar giants in our midst? Do we always have to time travel just to have a glimpse of what a godly man looks like? How wonderful if we can see Christlikeness in husbands and fathers today. In the absence of these first-hand, real life, godly men, our young boys and young men are being shaped by the world. They may grow up to be nice Christians guys; children and youth ministry trained even. But godly men? Over time, these are the ones who will ask for our daughters’ hands in marriage. Shudder!
I write not as one who has arrived, but as one who would have short-changed my wife and children if not for the amazing, saving grace of Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, like all my brothers-in-Christ, I too, am a work-in-progress. That said, the state and condition of Christian men today serves as a stark reminder for me, challenging and provoking me as I consider the impact of my godliness, or lack of, on my wife, and as we raise our sons and daughters.
For sure, as there is need for godly men, there is also an equal urgent need for godly women. This, I will address in the next post, “In Search of Godly Women”.