What does it mean to be a man of God or a Godly man? It probably depends on who you ask and their unique perception. Some would say that being a man of God doesn't sound like very much fun, while others would consider a man of this caliber to be utterly weak.
I have personally lived as a "split-rail" Christian for most of my adult life. I was open about my faith when asked and "tried" to live according to God's word each day. But in reality, I had separated God from my life. I went about my day-to-day business using God when I needed Him and leaving Him out when not convenient. This dichotomy of existence caused internal issues within me that rose to the surface as both the inability to control my temper, frustration and bitterness.
I went on like this for many years thinking that nary a thing was wrong with me. Ultimately, I was forced to examine my life through self-introspection. You see, time after time I was either partially right or completely right in a given situation. But because of the way I handled it, I was typically 100% wrong. Sounds confusing, right? Yet the frustration and hurt of constant conflict had worn me down. And when I was wrong I was wrong but then had the added fuel that I added to the fire.
So two years ago, I committed myself to focusing on what it would take to become a true man of God. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. It has been a hard, tough road to get to where I am at today. But I can honestly say that I wish I had taken these steps 20 years ago. And I know that my family and friends probably wish I had as well!
So how did I start trying to be a man of God? And why is that so important today?
First let's address the concerns I had about becoming a man of God. These thoughts keep me at bay for years and hindsight they are weak but at the time they were mountains.
My first thought was that it was going to be quite embarrassing to tell my wife that I hadn't been the man of God I was supposed to be. This was a HUGE stumbling block for me — even though we had established a good relationship. My pride was strong. And if I showed weakness, I wouldn't be a man's man.
Looking back, that was a weak excuse. There's no other way to put it. My wife is my partner, a relationship established by God. And the more she knows, sees, and understands about me, the stronger a relationship we can and will have.
Do NOT let pride keep you from doing what you know is right!
My second thought was that giving control to God didn't sound like much fun, have you had that thought? Putting God in front of myself and then my wife in front of me didn't sound like a very good deal. If you do the math, that meant that I was coming in third in my own life. Doesn't sound good, does it?
As a man, I've come to realize that I am naturally an arrogant, prideful, and self-centered person who can easily ONLY care about himself. But what did this get me? A miserable life. And nothing more. Are you currently in that situation?
To overcome these natural human tendencies, you must be confident enough to admit these faults, singlehandedly own them, and vow to work hard to allow God to adjust your human, manly mindset.
My third thought was that it was going to be difficult to keep up the self-discipline to read my Bible daily, develop a prayerful life, and to work to apply God's principles in my daily life. These all were legitimate fears and worries that required both honesty and humbleness to overcome.
Over time, reading the Bible daily and learning about God has become an enjoyable task. It's comforting to know you can talk and pray with God about anything at any time. And it's been life changing to apply God's principles to my earthly life. Not dealing with life's challenges and disappointments by myself has truly changed all aspects of my life.
In full disclosure, I struggled for many years with turning full control of my life over to God. Now that didn't mean that I was consciously rebelling. In fact, I truly wanted to be a man of God. But the thought of getting there was just too much! I didn't know how to get from A to B. I didn't have the steps to make the whole process seem less overwhelming. I had convinced myself that the life I had was exactly the life I wanted! So why change? The problem lied in the fact that my life had become devoid of patience and filled with bitterness, anxiety, a short temper, stress, and all of the other wonderful adjectives related to life without God.
What does being a man of God mean to me today?
Life is still full of hardships, bumps in the road, and everything else that comes with life. None of that has changed. Nor will it ever change. But something has transformed: how I handle the issues of life.
The 3-Step Plan to Becoming a Man of God
First, turn everything over to God. Stop trying to be in control of everything. You're not. And once you admit that and become OK with that, then you'll start to notice a turn in your life. When stress, anxiety, and hardships come, I now turn them over unequivocally to God. I know that He has a bigger and better plan for my life — a plan that I can't even imagine! And sometimes it doesn't always work the first time and persistence may be required of me. I may have to turn the same issue over to Him numerous times throughout a given day, and that's OK.
Second, an apology can be one of the most healing phrases in human relationships — even more so than saying, "I love you." My relationships are no longer damaged because of a short temper and bitterness. And when I do make a mistake, I now find it both difficult and easy to turn toward that person and I say, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake," or "I shouldn't have said that or done that," and "I hope you can forgive me."
Third, putting God and my wife in front of me has proven to be the only way to live. This order of importance has provided me with more bounty than I could have ever imagined. I know that it goes against human nature to put someone else ahead of you. But I promise that if you do, the results will shock you! Your reward will be tenfold.
So, in essence, what is a man of God? He is a man who has decided to let God control his life by applying God's word to his everyday activities, by obeying God's lawful commands in all of his doings, and by serving God and showing the love of Christ to others through both words and actions. It's the only way. And it's so easy to discover.
I pray that this article blesses you, and I pray that you start your daily journey to give God control of your life.
Start today. You've got nothing to lose and so much to gain!