None of us are born being the man God wants us to be. None of us. No matter who we are, we need to grow into that man, develop that man, and nurture that man. It will not happen by accident. The truth is, all of us are born with a sinful, selfish, human nature that leads us to self-destructive habits and broken neglected relationships.
When we are born again, having placed our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation, we become a new creation. It is possible for us because of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the divine nature that has been given to us, to grow in genuine Christ-likeness, to become a godly man, a loving man, and a consistently good man, a good husband, and a good father.
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THIS:
YOU MUST BE DEDICATED, INTENTIONAL, AND COMMITTED, OR IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
What I so often see today among Christians is a spirit of genuine laziness cloaked in the theological robe of a “just let go and let God” mentality. It’s a mindset that excuses their need for self-discipline, dedication, and intentional, deliberate effort.
I want you men reading this today to know this: Every single one of you can become the man, the father, and the husband God wants you to be. Every single one of you can succeed, you can grow, you can change, you can see genuine progress and fruit in your life. But, you must be dedicated, intentional, and committed to growing into that man and being that man. If you are, God can and will do tremendous things in your life, in your marriage, and in your family.
I will share with you in this edition how you become that man and use simple, real-life illustrations from my own life as I too have had to rigorously apply myself to consistently become the man God wants me to be.
Here are 3 simple truths to keep in mind:
Proverbs 12:24 (LB) “Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and never succeed.”
Galatians 6:7 (LB) “Don’t be misled. You can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow.”
1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) “Train yourself to be godly.”
These scriptures (and I could add many more) clearly indicate and state the obvious. We must dedicate ourselves, be intentional in specific and practical ways, and be committed to applying discipline and action to our lives, or nothing will change.
Here is one great insight and secret:
START WITH A SMALL STEP, DEDICATE YOURSELF TO IT, BE INTENTIONAL AND COMMITTED TO DOING IT. YOU WILL SEE SUCCESS.
I knew as a young man that it was essential for my Christian growth and my walk with God to pray. I knew the Bible made that very clear. I knew God said He would answer prayer. I knew it would grow me closer to God, and I grasped that the action of prayer itself would make me a much more sensitive, deeply spiritual, wise, effective, and understanding man. The reality was it was easier to read about prayer, talk about the Bible, and in fact, do almost anything but pray! I also knew that I needed to move my body more as I was getting fatter, more lethargic, and unhealthy.
I decided to dedicate myself to prayer. I made an intentional plan and I committed myself to it. I bought a watch with a timer. I went out to a park where I could be alone and I started with a 10-minute prayer walk. I timed it every time. After approx. a month, I increased it to 20 minutes and did that consistently, daily, for another month. At the end of that second month, I increased my prayer time to 30 minutes per day as I walked at the park.
After some time, I decided I needed to pray and walk for an hour as that would get me in 3 miles a day, which was my walking goal, and would also be my prayer goal. That has been my habit now for many, many, many years. In fact, just that small action step all those years ago has brought me to this: over the last 43 years, I have prayer walked now over 30,000 miles. That is once around planet earth, which is 24,859 miles, and thousands of more miles!
The truth is, anyone can do this. Prayer has changed me. Talking with God, pouring out my heart to God, praying over all my family members, praying over every need and situation in my life has been transformative, and it has without a doubt helped me become the man, husband, and father that I am today. I have also seen tremendous, amazing answers to my prayers!
As a young husband, I began to realize my mouth was dangerous, and it did a lot of damage and hurt in my marriage. My mouth, of course, is connected to my emotions. I needed a lot of growth. I needed to make progress in this matter or I was going to ruin my marriage, and I was never, ever going to be able to become a pastor.
I took out my Living Proverbs and I read through it highlighting every single verse on the tongue, or the mouth, on our words or speech. I used a specific color so I could find them very quickly as I went through my Bible. I did this in the New Testament also, especially James’ teaching on the tongue.
I wept in prayer over this area of my life, I begged God to help me, to change me, to make me a man whose words would build others up. I begged God to help me control my speech, and that God would help me learn to SHUT MY MOUTH! I would even, at times, in my relationship with Kathy, reach up and hold my jaw closed with my hand to keep my words from spewing out. My friends, this was tremendously difficult for me and took great effort, great work, and intentionality. Little by little God began to change me. God helped me to use my words more wisely. God helped me control my emotions much more, especially as I learned to dump them on God instead of on my precious wife. I bathed my life, my speech, and my marriage in prayer. I asked God over and over again to help me grow and change. I learned to sow kindness and encouraging words into my marriage and family life. I intentionally looked for ways to do this, and still to this day, consistently look for ways to do this on a daily basis.
I knew that Jesus taught us that the greatest of all will be the servant of all. I knew Jesus’ standard for leadership was servanthood. I saw this in Jesus as I read my Bible and I wanted to see it in my own life as a man, a husband, and a father. The truth is, all of us love to be served. This is one reason so many people love to eat at restaurants. They love someone waiting on them and doing the cooking for them. The challenge for us men is to learn to take the self-initiative and serve those around us.
I have developed a habit of seeing myself as the servant of other people, especially those I live with. My wife and children. They need my service. Praying over them is serving them. Looking out for them is serving them. Taking care of them is serving them. Providing for them is serving them. Guiding and training them is serving them. These are all vital things, that as fathers and husbands, we need to do.
However, I believed there was one other thing that I saw as critically important. I wanted my kids to be able to witness me serving in some way. I wanted them to see that nothing was beneath me, that I was willing to serve in any way because I believe Jesus’ words, “the greatest among you, will be the servant of all.”
For many, many, many years now, I have intentionally done one thing a day to serve my wife and family. Men, I can’t tell you how really easy this is and how it will impact those you live with. Each day, I do one thing around the house, or yard, or with the car.
We have a stainless steel sink. Around the garbage disposal opening, it gets discolored over time and the rubber gets gummy. I went up to the cupboard, where I keep a plastic bag with cleaning stuff in it. I got the soft scrub, put on my gloves, got the brush out of the bag, and in 5 minutes, cleaned the sink, nice and clean. Walla! Done!
Whether Kathy notices or not, I make it a goal to do one thing each day. The day before that, I took her van, washed all the mud off at the car wash, filled it with gas, drove it home, and dried it off. The day before that, I grabbed the big extension pole duster I have and went through the house dusting the light fixtures off, the corner of the ceilings, the pictures up high on the wall, etc. Took me all of about 15 minutes to do it all. Then I grabbed the dust clothes, those microfiber ones, and quickly dusted off the furniture, etc. That took another ten minutes. The week before that, I grabbed the vacuum, put on my super gorilla grip gloves as it helps me push the vacuum easier and more efficiently, and vacuumed the house. Took me 25 minutes.
Men, I could go on and on, but I am telling you, it really works. Just 1 thing a day.Could be as simple as taking out the trash. It blesses my wife and family, they see their dad’s servanthood, and it makes a deep and lasting impression on their lives. It also gives greater power and weight to you as a father when you also ask your kids to join you in some way serving around the house.
Men, I want to urge you in these matters. Dedicate yourselves, be intentional in the ways you want to grow, then make a commitment and make it happen. God will richly reward your efforts.
I believe this series would greatly motivate you, encourage you, and offer practical ways for you to grow and become the man God wants you to be.
Please give it a listen.