As a man, how will you be remembered at the end of your life? How will you be described? Will it be humble and honest—a good man? How about, a godly man?
Let’s face it, ever-changing social values make it tough to be a man in this world. I’m not talking about being just any man.
Sadly, the man I am talking about has always been scarce. He’s a man of honor, integrity and commitment. He’s a man who centers his life on the ways of his Creator. He’s a godly man.
What is a godly man? What does it take to become one? Here are some important characteristics of a godly man.
1. A godly man must be kind.
After my dad’s death, over and over, people would say, “Your dad was a kind man.” And it was true! I loved and admired that quality in my dad. Yet, in such an unkind world, could I have that same quality? Could I be a kind man as he was?
The answer is—yes!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added throughout).
Kindness is a quality of God that every godly man must have. It is a fruit of God’s Spirit—an aspect of a converted man.
But to whom do we need to be kind? Our closest friends? Our family? Well, being kind to them isn’t too difficult for most of us. But the truth is, God is kind to everyone.
Jesus said, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Luke 6:35).
According to Psychology Today, “Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength.”
Sadly, kindness in the 21st century seems to be slipping through our fingers.
In a piece published in The Guardian, Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, states, “As a society, we appear to have lost the instinct for kindness and the willingness to extend the hand of friendship.” This statement is sad, yet true.
The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, is credited with saying, “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people.”
The apostle Paul got right to the point. He said, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
- Don’t know how to be kind, or want biblical help to learn to be more kind? For more information, please see our article “The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness.” And for an explanation of the broader topic of conversion, please read our free, downloadable booklet Change Your Life.
2. A godly man must think like Christ.
In December 1999 Time magazine named Albert Einstein “Person of the Century.” The article states, “The touchstones of the era—the Bomb, the Big Bang, quantum physics and electronics—all bear his imprint.”
He was as brilliant as his hair was messy!
Albert Einstein, however, was not alone. Mental giants like Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking also had gifted minds. So, this begs the question: What if you could harness their intellectual firepower? What if you could think like them? Whose mind would you pick?
But beyond IQ, there are more profound issues.
A godly man desires spiritual knowledge, wisdom and understanding—things that academia cannot teach and IQ alone cannot grasp.
A godly man wants to think like his Creator. A godly man strives to think like Jesus Christ!
You may be thinking to yourself, How can a man think like Jesus Christ? It seems as if it’s not possible! Well, with God, anything is possible.
One time when Jesus’ disciples were amazed at what they heard, “Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26).
Paul said something extraordinary in his first letter to the congregation in Corinth. He said that if you have the gift of God’s Spirit in you, you can begin to discern spiritual things! “But he who is spiritual judges all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15).
He quickly followed up with an astounding claim: “But we have the mind of Christ” (verse 16).
Paul was clear. With the gift of God’s Spirit, it is possible to think like Christ! Is this too good to be true? No! Paul confirms this incredible blessing in another passage: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). How remarkable!
- Through the power of God’s Spirit, a godly man can think like Christ! For more information on how to receive the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, please read our articles “Holy Spirit: What Is God’s Spirit?” and “Reading the Mind of God.”
3. Godly men draw strength from God.
Imagine you’ve been away, traveling on business. Nearing home, you’re happy to get back into familiar territory. Yet, off in the distance, something doesn’t look right. Is your mind playing tricks on you? Is that smoke you see?
You begin to panic! Picking up speed, you move toward your home, only to have your worst fears confirmed. Your house is a total loss. Where it once proudly stood is nothing but charred rubble and debris!
There are many qualities that make a man godly. Being kind, striving to have the mind of Christ and going directly to God for strength are good places to start.Your mind immediately goes to your family. Your wife—your kids! Where are they? Did they die in the fire? Were they kidnapped? Your mind whirls out of control. Overcome with grief, you are locked up in despair. Eventually, even your strength to cry escapes you.
Dazed and hopeless, you collapse near the smoldering heap that once was your home.
This story describes the horrific scene David and his men encountered as they returned to the city of Ziklag. Their families and all of their possessions were gone!
David and his men were overcome with emotion. “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep” (1 Samuel 30:4).
These combat-hardened soldiers who had seen the horrors of the battlefield cried until they couldn’t cry anymore.
Their strength was gone.
No doubt they asked themselves, How did this happen? Then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, David’s men turned on him. This band of brothers who had fought by his side now blamed him for this tragedy.
David was in trouble! They even talked of killing him.
Tormented and filled with anguish, David found himself alone. There was nowhere else to turn, no one to offer him words of encouragement and strength. Except One!
“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (verse 6).
This was not the first time David had asked God for help. He regularly called on God for strength. He was no stranger to staring down his fears.
David, the youngest of his brothers, did not lack confidence that God would deliver him in battle. After all, God had done it many times before.
For example, David’s chances of defeating the giant Goliath had been slim to none. The contest was not even close!
Undeterred, David courageously turned to God for strength. David said, “‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” (1 Samuel 17:37).
- David—a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)—continually turned to God for strength. Likewise, a godly man must turn to God for strength! Please read our article “Depending on God.”
Set your standards high
Desiring to be a godly man is an admirable goal. Yet our adversary, Satan the devil, will stop at nothing to derail your efforts.
However, there is no need to fear. As James, the half-brother of Jesus, tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
There are many qualities that make a man godly. Being kind, striving to have the mind of Christ and going directly to God for strength are good places to start.
Paul said to Timothy, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
To be a godly man—this is God’s desire for you!
Study more about this subject in these articles and blog posts:
- Role of Men.
- Biblical Masculinity: Becoming a Man After God’s Own Heart.
- 3 Characteristics That Define a Real Man.
- What Happened to Masculinity?
- Jesus Christ: The True Model for Biblical Masculinity.