The end goal of the Christian life is to become the man God wants us to be. But do we really know how to be a godly man? We do this by allowing his vision, mission, purposes, and goals to shape our lives. One way we can lead men to this is through discipline. A discipline, or in our case “spiritual discipline,” is a training activity that helps to shape and mold character over an extended period of time that accelerates and focuses the process. Spiritual discipline is the “strict training” that Paul was talking about 1 Corinthians 9:25.
This post was originally published in a series by Vince Miller. Vince is an author, speaker, and founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry that provides bible studies aimed at building better men at www.beresolute.org.
5 disciplines for how to be a godly man
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.”—1 Corinthians 9:25
Do you know how to be a godly man? Here are five disciplines to start:
#1 Pray to God.
“Beginning Awkward Conversations With An Unseen God”
Prayer is a fundamental discipline, and men need to learn to build prayer routines into the daily patterns of their lives. Prayer is merely talking with God. The primary problem is all the pressing issues that keep us from praying and developing a pattern of prayer. Daily we face demands that compete for our time. Because of this, men go days, weeks, and even months devoid of prayer, trusting only in human effort rather than also trusting in God through prayer. This can leave us feeling physically exhausted and spiritually depleted. Since so many other things compete with this priority, we need to be reminded of its priority and encourage men to strive to make time.
One of the best methods for getting you moving into regular prayer is the A.C.T.S. Method. This acronym stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Practice using this method with this one-page downloadable guide.
#2 Know the Word.
“Discover the Greatest Book Ever Written, Printed, and Sold”
People want the truth, and I believe they’re on a search for it. As Christians, we believe truth originates from God alone. God’s Word is the revelation of the truth, and Jesus is the physical representation of truth. But we cannot know the truth if we don’t know how to spend time in the Word. We must know how to read and study the Bible; it’s the greatest gift we will ever give a man. And it’s the primary way we hear from God. The following are a few pointers on how to get started.
First, just start reading. Our prayers for fathers and husbands should be that they start reading the Bible. I know its power to change lives. I recommend starting in the New Testament with the Gospel of John with a Bible App for your phone. Make sure and choose an easy-to-read version like the New International Version (NIV) a few minutes each day. One of the great apps I point men to is the YouVersion Bible. Manhood Journey has several Bible reading plans just for dads. Start with this one called 10 Challenges Every Dad Must Conquer.
Second, go to the next level by learning how to study the Bible. This is a little more involved and requires more effort, but it’s the greatest gift you could ever give yourself or another man. I would use the Inductive Bible Study Method. This method teaches men how to observe, interpret, and apply God’s Word correctly. While it’s great to learn from a pastor and discover how they observe, interpret, and apply the Bible, every man should learn how to discover the truths in God’s Word for themselves.
#3 Belong to a brotherhood.
“The Brotherhood We Need We Avoid”
Men need relationships with other men. Most men not only fail to develop meaningful relationships with other men, but they also lack adding in the spiritual component that must undergird it. Men prefer to go life alone for several reasons—time is valuable, relationships take work, chemistry is challenging, and autonomy is easier. But the biggest reason I believe men don’t establish spiritual connections with other men is that they have never experienced one before. Having never had one, they don’t know how to do it, and because of this, they have never experienced the benefit. All this leads to men defaulting to superficial male relationships that focus on trivial matters. They press the easy button.
A vital part of how to be a better husband and father is being involved in one-on-one relationships or small groups mature faster than those who do not. This environment is a place where the previous three disciplines can be sharpened and experienced. Men need to be in a Christian community, and not just the occasional weekend gathering. Smaller gatherings regularly are where men can discover some things about themselves and others. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen in isolation; it occurs in a community, and men need other men. When men link arms, great things happen.
#4 Seek accountability.
“Christian Men Have The Wrong Idea About Accountability”
Accountability with another man is perhaps the leading indicator of spiritual success in a man’s life. Brothers in accountable relationships make a great man of God. Jonathan made David better. Barnabas made Paul better. Paul made Timothy better. Jesus made the Twelve better. And it wasn’t just happenstance and acquaintance; it was intentional brotherhood with substantial doses of accountability.
Spiritual accountability is perhaps one of the most misunderstood practices in male spiritual relationships. I believe this is because when men hear the word “accountability” in a religious context, they immediately assume a negative connotation. Men mostly hear about a need for accountability when issues of sin arise. Therefore accountability means that we need help because we can’t overcome our financial problems, sexual addictions, or marital problems. This understanding is unfortunate because it has given accountability a bad name and leaves out all the spiritual potential of accountability in brotherhood. The good father understands and seeks accountability.
#5 Serve in personal ministry.
“Get Off the Bench and Into the Game.”
Christian men who are accelerating their spiritual growth are involved in personal ministry. Personal ministry includes things like leading a small group, mentoring other men, teaching a class, organizing a mission trip experience, serving on a board of a non-profit, or conducting a study in a workplace environment. I get excited when men do this because now they are moving from being discipled to discipling others. They are finding unique ways to use their gifts, passions, and talents for kingdom benefits.
Some men need to take this step. Too often men wait too long before taking this step. And I think men sometimes need a little push on this one since they prefer to disqualify themselves for lack of knowledge and because of personal sin. They need another man to say, “Get off the bench and into the game.”
This post was originally published here.
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