What does a godly man look like? If you look to mainstream culture, you would come back with no answers. Let’s face it, our culture has no clue what it means to be a real man. Our views of biblical manhood have been relegated to the margins of mainstream culture. In fact, masculinity has become the scapegoat for all the injustices in the world. But I diverge. Rant over.
Anyway. Being married to my beautiful bride has challenged me to learn more about what Scripture has to say about biblical manhood. A marriage under God will challenge you in ways you could never have imagined when you were once single. When my wife and I went through our marital problems years ago, I found God demanding more of me. He wanted me to be the husband my wife needed….and deserved.
Biblically speaking, as men, we have a positive role model in Joseph, husband of Mary, and earthy father of Jesus. Joseph is a perfect example of how a man of God should act and behave. Embedded within the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph demonstrates 4 marks of a godly man.
A Godly Man…
Shows his wife sacrificial respect
One of the easiest ways to kill a marriage is to show your spouse no respect. When we disrespect our wives, we are acting selfishly. As men, we are instructed to put aside our own selfish desires and respect our wives. We are called to not only show sacrificial love but also, show respect towards our wives. If we first seek to fulfill our own needs rather than our wives, this will likely cause issues within the marriage. What are some ways you are showing a lack of respect towards your spouse? Are you acting sacrificially towards your wife?
Joseph demonstrated this type of sacrificial respect towards his wife Mary, mother of Jesus. In Matthew 1:19, “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, Joseph would have logically thought she was pregnant by another man, in other words, she committed adultery.
Under Mosiac Law, adultery was punishable with death by stoning. But Joseph was a righteous man and so he did not want to expose Mary to public shame, so he planned on divorcing her quietly. Joseph acted in a very righteous way by showing Mary respect, something we husbands should be showing towards our wives.
Is a spiritual leader
A man of God leads his household spiritually. What is spiritual leadership? John Piper defines this as “knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there in reliance on God’s power.”
In Matthew 1:24, Joseph demonstrated what it means to be a spiritual leader. “And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife.” A man of God can lead his wife and his children where God wants them to be. This includes leading his family to find their individual purpose and identity in God and guiding them along in their spiritual growth. A man leads his family in their walk with Jesus.
In the early 1970s, Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel lead a series of studies on delayed gratification known as the ‘marshmallow test’ In these tests, researchers put a marshmallow in front of a child, tell him/her that he/she can have another one if he/she waited 15 more minutes without eating the first one.
If the child waited 15 minutes, they could walk away with 2 marshmallows. What child wouldn’t want two marshmallows instead of one? Apparently, if a child passed the test and demonstrated the willpower to wait, this signaled future success.
As Christian men, self-control is more than demonstrating the willpower to not eat the tempting marshmallow in front of us. Self-control is having control over one’s own behavior, impulses, mind, and emotions. A man of God places himself under the control and power of God.
In Matthew 1:24-25, Joseph demonstrated this type of self-control. “And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son, and he called His name Jesus.”
At the center of self-control, is the heart. What is in our heart controls how we act, what we think, and how we behave. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). We must place our hearts under the control of God. I know for me, this is an area I struggle in the must.
Protects his family
It may not be politically correct to say this, but as men, we are gifted with having more physical strength than women. These gifts mean, God has given us the responsibility for the physical security of our family. Your wife needs you to make her feel that you will protect her when it comes to any physical threat.
This means when it comes down to is, are you willing to risk your life for her physical safety? As men, we must be willing to take a bullet in exchange for our life to protect our family. If one night you hear a strange noise downstairs, you must be willing to protect your family with your Louisville Slugger if a burglar is in the house.
In Matthew 2:13-15, Joseph demonstrated this willingness to protect his family.
“Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and to the Child and his mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
We live in a society that is very much inwardly focused. We tend to act more selfishly rather than selflessly. In other words, we lack a servant attitude. We rather ‘be’ served than ‘to’ serve. I’m not saying I’m a perfect husband, that would be a blatant lie. At times, I can act quite selfishly in my marriage. But then God will remind me of my husbandly duties.
Joseph, the righteous man that he was, is a model example of a man of God. He shows us husbands that we must show respect toward our wives, be a spiritual leader of our family, have self-control and protect our family. A ‘true’ man of God put others’ needs ahead of his own.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.