In college, I had the unique privilege of serving in children’s ministry on Sunday nights. I was assigned a group of 2nd grade boys. The questions and comments that would come up during our small group times were always entertaining, but the transition from teaching time to small-group “discussions” was a challenge. Convincing 10 second grade boys to sit down after a 20 minute lesson isn’t easy.
Doug Wilson’s Future Men helped me think through this problem. The temptation was to pursue order for my sake rather than cultivating self-control for theirs. Boys who sit quietly with their hands folded are not necessarily godly. Wilson taught me the importance of identifying the positive attributes behind the actions.
So, when we would go from the lesson to the small group discussion, I would have them run laps while I put the chairs in a circle. Then, I’d issue my commands, “Boys, come find a chair! Claim it! Conquer and subdue it! Sit on it and hold it firmly to the ground! Don’t let it go! Don’t even let it get one leg off of the ground! Quickly now! Quickly!”
Instead of quenching their zeal, I was able to provide direction for it.
We must be careful not to criticize young men for their behavior without also identifying the good qualities behind their actions. Otherwise, we run the risk of condemning things like courage, steadfastness, and zeal. Men will need these, especially in their pursuit of godliness.
As you know, we have been looking at the 4 principles of a godly man – he worships, works, wars, and wins. We’ve already covered the first 2. A godly man worships God, valuing Him above everything else, and a godly man works hard serving others for the glory of God. Today we will look at war and its connection to godliness.
A godly man wars against anything that threatens the pursuit of godliness in his heart and in his home.
The primary battle in the Christian life is waged within the believer as the old nature is put to death and the new one is renewed day by day through the incremental process of sanctification. Though, in practice, we should always start with the sin in our own lives, for our purposes, we will start with the home.
In His Home
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say….” (Gen. 3:1)
This is as far as the conversation should have gone. Adam, created in God’s image, installed as His Vice-regent and steward of creation, should have protected his family from this attack. He should have dispelled the Enemy’s lies with God’s truth, but he didn’t, and the entire created order was upended.
Today, we face similar opposition. There are 4 things that threaten the pursuit of godliness in the home, and a godly man must war against them.
Satan – We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. There is a spiritual element which must be considered in the battle to pursue godliness in the home.
Others – Like a shepherd, you must protect your family from wolves who would lead the members of your family astray.
Themselves and you – These last 2 are closely linked and will be covered in the next section, but it’s worth noting here that everyone in the home is a sinner.
In His Heart
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom. 8:13)
A godly man wars against anything that threatens the pursuit of godliness in his heart.
We must war against personal sin.
We must war against spiritual apathy.
We must war against self-righteousness.
You will be able to identify a godly man by how seriously he considers his own sin, how humbly he receives counsel regarding it, and how fervently he seeks the destruction of it.
We war against sin in our home and in our hearts by reading the Bible and through prayer.
Below is a short video with practical insights from a godly man.
Photo Credit: Diana Stiles