What makes a man “Godly”? How does he demonstrate his love for God? By fulfilling the 2nd Commandment . . . “Love your neighbor as yourself,” it says in Mark 12:31. Who are your closest neighbors? Your wife and your kids.
What’s the first thing a husband and father does to demonstrate love for them?
Godly men don’t run off. They don’t commit suicide. They don’t run away. John Lynch defines love as “meeting needs.” Need No. 1 of your wife is security. The way you meet that need? It starts with being committed. Staying. Regardless. You work it out.
Scripture talks about “reliable men” (2 Timothy 2:2a) – A reliable man does what he says he’s going to do. You can count on him. He’s willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of others. He’s predictable and dependable. He stays.
Too many men are moving away from stuff instead of staying. We’re moving away via suicide . . . the ultimate act of selfishness. Suicide rates among men 35-64 years old increased by 28.4% from 1999-2010. We’re moving away from our wives, leaving for younger women and stupid dreams of youth reclaimed. We’re moving away from our communities, looking for escape into warmer climes, fancy clubhouses, and forever-golf. We’re moving away from aging gracefully, choosing protein shakes, personal trainers and plastic surgeons. We’re moving away from the “ecclesia” (gathering together as the body of Christ) choosing boat church, beach church, on-line church, or no church.
Love stays. Elder-type men stick with their Lord, the "wife of their youth," their kids, their families and with church. No matter what. You can’t teach or influence if you’re not there. You have to stay to be trusted. You can accumulate all the wisdom in the world but neither your kids, employees, nor mentees will tap into it until they trust you. And trust comes when you stay . . . when you spend time with and pay attention to those you care about.
I’ll never forget one of my mentees telling about how his dad would get up early to read his Bible and pray. He’d get down and kneel on the couch and when the son got up later in the morning, he’d look over the balcony rail and see the imprint of his dad’s face in the couch. He knew his dad had been there . . . he could see his face-print. Before dawn, praying for him. That’s a dad who stays.
Another mentee had quite a different experience. His memory is “Dad” announcing he didn’t love his mom any more and that he was moving out. He moved in with his girlfriend and deserted his family. Every single day, this thirty-something year old man deals with the damage his dad did to him when he decided not to stay.
If you’re thinking about leaving, don’t. Stay. If you’re there in body but not in spirit, stay . . . turn your heart to your family and get yourself together where it matters most. People are watching. Your kids are watching. Your grandchildren are watching. People inside and outside the faith are watching. Jesus too.
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