Biblical manhood (pursuing godliness while retaining masculinity) is missing in the church, and the need for more godly men is necessary for the transformation of churches and families.
We need men to lead, protect and provide both physically and spiritually.
In 1 Timothy chapter 6, Paul instructs those who minister. He warns them of false teachers and then gives six virtues that men of God should pursue:
You man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:10b NASB
The imperative “pursue” is also a present tense command. Every day we must follow after the above-mentioned virtues that flow from our union with Christ. So, holiness is not just about abstaining from certain actions; it is about pursuing God, like a deer panting for water (Psalm 42:1). Do not just say no to sin; say yes to God.
1. Follow After Righteousness
Righteousness means to possess a right relationship with God and people. Paul is not talking about imputed righteousness (the righteousness we receive at our justification). He is talking about practical righteousness.
Even though the Christian has the imputed righteousness of Christ, he is commanded to seek after the practical righteousness that comes through crucifying the flesh nature and walking according to his redeemed spirit nature. The Scriptures describe this as putting off the old man and putting on the new man, or walking according to the spirit and not according to the flesh.
Every Christian gets to heaven because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. This same Christian will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ according to his success in walking before God in truth, in righteousness and in uprightness of heart. It is a grave mistake for the Christian to settle for the imputed righteousness of Christ and to fail to seek after the practical righteousness of God.
The Imputed Righteousness of Christ is an absolute righteousness, whereas the Practical Righteousness of God is a relative righteousness. Every Christian has the imputed righteousness, but he must seek after the practical righteousness. Imputed righteousness gets one into heaven, but practical righteousness gets one into the kingdom of heaven. Heaven is a place for Christians, but the kingdom of heaven is a position of authority, which is a reward for faithful Christians. Every Christian enters into heaven, but faithful Christians enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The following verses in the Sermon on the Mount are speaking of the practical righteousness of believers:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. – Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:20
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12
The following Scripture passage confirms that the inheritance in the kingdom of God is a reward for faithfulness in performing acts and deeds of practical righteousness in the power of the Holy Spirit:
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – Colossians 3:22-24
The following Scripture confirms that Christians who are poor in the things of this world, rich in faith and love the Lord are the ones that will receive the inheritance of the kingdom:
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? – James 2:5
Those Christians that are rich in faith and love the Lord are the ones that abound in practical righteousness. All Christians have the imputed righteousness that qualifies one for heaven, but many do not abound in practical righteousness; a prerequisite for entrance into the kingdom of God. WORKS DO COUNT AND ARE IMPORTANT!!!
2. Follow After Godliness
This virtue is closely related to righteousness. Godliness begins with a worshiping heart. Men of God love God and serve Him with a reverent fear.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. – Hebrews 12:28 NKJV
Consequently, men of God do not play around with sin; they kill sin. Again, the preacher must first pursue holiness before preaching it. John Flavel said, “Brethren, it is easier to declaim against a thousand sins of others than to mortify one sin in ourselves.” Make sure you are a clean vessel. M’Cheyne’s words are challenging:
Do not forget the culture of the inner man—I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God’s sword, His instrument—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success
It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy man is an awful weapon in the hand of God.
Godliness as an Attitude
As an attitude, godliness is the quality of the inner person that recognizes from the various evidences, that the all-powerful Creator exits, and therefore actively seeks to develop a spiritual relationship with Him.
Godliness, as an attitude, permeates all the Christian virtues, as it is the motivating factor behind our growth as Christians. We do not and cannot grow as Christians without first having the desire to be more spiritual, which is the attitude of godliness
Godliness as Duty
Godliness also has its fruits. There must be the “doing” of what pleases God. We must be careful, though, not to mistake the actions of some as actions of godliness. Morality alone is not godliness as it may not be motivated by piety and reverence for God. Displays of “spirituality” or “religion” also may not be actions motivated by the desire to please God. Often I hear of Christians who are envious of some in the denominational world because “they” seem to be more spiritual and religious. Many in the denominational world do claim godliness and spirituality as their own. They “appear” godly (proudly wearing crosses, WWJD bracelets, etc.); they “speak” godly (“Praise the Lord!” “Having a personal relationship with Jesus,” etc.), and their lives seem to exemplify godliness (morality, doing good deeds). But, the scriptures would say they practice a “form of godliness” (2 Tim. 3:5), and not true godliness!
In the New Testament godliness is a product of following the truth. This is an important point! Godliness is always a result of obeying the truth. Where there is no obedience of the truth there can be no true godliness or spirituality!
The Fruits of Godliness
Instead of a false “form of godliness,” there are true fruits of godliness that would manifest themselves.
A godly person seeks God on His terms. Whenever one obeys God’s terms of forgiveness they are acting godly.
A godly person worships God “in spirit and in truth”. Whenever one follows God’s will on how to worship Him, then one is being godly. Worship is our attempt to give something of ourselves to God. Worship is our inner piety expressing itself to God in praise through our physical bodies.
A godly person shows respect and reverence for God by studying and obeying His Word. Oftentimes we are told that our response to God’s word is directly related to our relationship with God. A godly person is one who acts properly, reacts properly, and leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he/she is a child of God. God is seen in this person from the inside out and from the outside in.
No wonder godliness is a part of the spiritual combination that is important for Christians to cultivate. We simply cannot be faithful children of God without godliness.
Think of a person you consider godly. What are they like?
3. Follow After Faith
The man of God must trust God. We live by faith. MacArthur said, “To live a life of faith … is to live in a state of relaxed desperation. The man of God is desperate, because of the tremendous weight of responsibility his ministry entails, yet he is relaxed because of his confidence in the sovereignty of God.”
Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason— a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.
The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles’ wings, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting. It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith— a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. “Abraham believed God…”
He went out, not knowing where he was going. – Hebrews 11:8
4. Follow After Love
Instead of the youthful displays of bickering, impatience and contentiousness, the man of God must love. Obviously, you have to care sincerely for people if you are going to lead them. Of course, there are times when you want to strike a blow, but you must refrain and remember the love that God had for you when you were unlovely. Present yourself as an example of genuine love for the body of Christ. Love people enough to wash their feet and love them enough to tell them the truth. Demonstrate a deep concern for the poor and the unreached peoples of the world, as well.
When you begin to truly love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbors as yourself, you will begin to see men as God sees them — as individuals of great worth, as those for whom Christ died. As a result, we shall be motivated by the same love which constrained the apostle Paul who said, “Everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen.”
Love, God’s kind of love, causes the Great Commission to become a personal responsibility and privilege. When non-Christians observe believers not only saying that they love one another, but also proving it by their actions, they, like their first-century counterparts, will marvel at “how they love one another” and will be drawn to receive and worship our Savior with us.
How exciting it is to have such a dynamic, joyful force available to us! You need not guess, nor hope, nor wish. You can claim this love right now, on the basis of God’s command to love and His promise to answer whenever you pray for anything according to His will.
How does loving motivate you to engage in contributing to the fulfillment of the Great Commission?
5. Follow After Steadfastness
The man of God endures to the end. The word means “to bear up under, or remain under.” The weight of being a Man of God is demanding, but by the Spirit’s help we must persevere. Remember that the goal of our walk is a lifetime of faithfulness, not sporadic faithfulness. Obviously, there are times in which we fall down, and by God’s grace, get up again. However, we should take the long view. Pursue longevity. Do not get carried away with big events that last for a weekend. Focus on the finish line, like Jesus who endured until it was finished.
Paul wrote in these scripture that we should aim for steadfastness.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. 11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:10-11
Greed leads to all kind of evil: marriage problems, robbery, blowups in partnership. To master greed, you must control it at it’s roots. Get rid of the desire to be rich.
In this scripture we see that steadfastness works together with the scriptures.
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:4-6
James writes also that we will be tested, and rather than throw a pity party when it happens or get depressed or angry or whatever, he says we should be joyful!
2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
What trials and testing lead you to steadfastness?
6. Follow After Gentleness
In Paul’s requirements for the pastor, he noted that the overseer should display gentleness not violence.
He must not be a drinker or quarrelsome, but he must be gentle and kind and not be one who loves money. – 1 Timothy 3:3 TLB
How would you explain gentleness?
This idea of being gentle carries the idea of strength under control. It does not mean “weakness.” So, when you’re about to head to bible study, have a quite time, or pray for somebody; and some one contacts you about something of the world. Remember Jesus who coupled strength and authority with humility and meekness. He is the picture of godliness.
In 2 Corinthians 10:1, Paul appeals to them by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Then he goes on to talk about the weapons we fight with that are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to tear down strongholds. We are not carried away by rage, personal vindictiveness, greed, or pride as we seek victories for Christ. But with the gentleness of Christ we can triumph powerfully.
In Galatians 6:1, Paul tells us that if a man is trapped in some sin, those who are spiritual should restore him gently. Problems arise where even the best of us may slip up, just as one might slip on an icy or dangerous path. If we are truly filled with the Spirit we will show gentleness, not hardness, not condemnation, as we try to restore such a person.
In Ephesians 4:2, where Paul is urging us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, he calls on us to be “completely humble and gentle.”8 We are to be free from self-exaltation and fully submitted to the will of God both in our relation to Him and in our relationships with others.
Gentleness is never a false modesty, a self-depreciation, or a spineless refusal to stand for anything. Gentleness is never a cowardly retreat from reality, which substitutes a passive selfishness for real gentleness and avoids trouble in ways that allow even greater trouble to develop. Neither is it a false humility that refuses to recognize God has given us talents and abilities or that refuses to use them for His glory.
The Bible says Moses excelled in the meekness that is gentleness. God gave him a high position. It is hard for the natural man to be gentle toward those who attack him, especially if they attack his official rank and honor. But Moses did not try to defend himself. Gentleness includes the idea that we do not care about what happens to our honor as much as what happens to God’s honor and what happens to others.
Can you share a time when you showed the meekness/gentleness of Christ in a situation?
In our daily lives we cannot help coming into situations that bring conflicts with people. It is easy for us in the natural to react with violence or anger, especially if we feel insecure in our position. But when we accept the reality of who we are in Christ and trust the Holy Spirit to help us, we can be gentle, whatever conflicts may arise.
Jesus showed true gentleness both in the midst of conflict and in the midst of popularity. His healings and miracles often brought the crowds to a high pitch of enthusiasm. But He refused to let them make Him the kind of king they wanted. He reminded them of the passage in Isaiah 42:1–4, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.”
Jesus knew who He was, but He was gentle and humble — quite a contrast to the lying teachers who today exalt themselves by noisy demonstrations and who too often begin to think of themselves as above the requirements of holiness and justice.
Jesus’ awareness of His power enabled Him to be gentle to those in need. The broken reed He would not crush but would fully restore. The flickering wick of a lamp He would not put out but would cause it to burn brightly again. His gentleness works. It brings forth righteousness, and it will bring forth justice in the earth, He gently takes the sinner and makes him whole.
“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.” Thank you, Lord, also that you saved me for a purpose. Thank you, Lord, for the experiences that teach us how to fulfill your purpose with humble gentleness.
May we cultivate that fruit of the Spirit which gives all the glory to God and shows a gentleness that is powerful and demonstrates the high, holy, faithful love of God!