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What does the Bible say about being a godly man?

Men and women are spiritually, morally, and intellectually equal (Genesis 1:27)—but men and women are not identical. God gave both sexes unique gifts and abilities. These uniquenesses are part of how each person can live out their individual, one-of-a-kind experiences.

Of course, those differences don’t just apply to our positive traits; men and women also react differently to various temptations. Living out our Christian faith comes with unique facets depending on whether we’re seeking to be godly men or godly women. But one thing that remains the same, regardless of gender, is that we’re all meant to find salvation by grace (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Since our article on being a godly woman already took “the ABC(DE)s,” we can summarize principles for being a godly man with “the LMNOPs,” as follows:

L: Life’s Work

A godly man understands that he is part of God’s plan, and his part is as important as anyone else's. He has a specific, divinely-assigned role to play (Hebrews 12:1-2). That role is defined by God’s will and His Word—not by fads, culture, personal urges, or peer pressure (Romans 12:2). Part of that calling is self-control (Galatians 5:24) and consistent effort (Proverbs 14:23; 1 Corinthians 9:24).

Knowing he has a purpose also means embracing the unique skills he’s been given and seeking to use them according to God’s plans (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4). A godly man protects and uplifts others (Mark 10:42-45), loves others the way Christ does (2 Corinthians 5:9), and prioritizes His obedience to God over everything else (Romans 6:1-4, 11).

M: Masculinity

Modern culture frequently sneers at some guys as if they were “defective girls” or excuses sinful violence and aggression as “boys being boys.” Often men are told to avoid doing anything perceived as “too feminine.” Or they may be shamed for expressing any trait perceived as “too masculine.”

A godly man rises above stereotypes (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 10:29-31) and celebrates his God-given passions and interests—even if they’re not shared by other men. At the same time, a godly man rejects acts of violence (Romans 12:18-21) and attitudes that disrespect women and femininity (Ephesians 5:2-5).

Godly men don’t fall for the lies that “real" men sleep around (Ephesians 5:33), never have to admit fault (1 John 1:9), and never show emotion (John 11:35). They strive to be godly leaders (1 Timothy 4:1-2), wise yet bold risk-takers (Ephesians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 16:13), steady providers (1 Timothy 5:8) or protectors (Psalm 144:1)—even when culture scorns those impulses. Godliness, for both men and women, comes from submitting to God’s standards for love and behavior—not those of the world.

N: (Not) Numbness

No, numbness and apathy are not good things, but they are behaviors the world often encourages or even pushes on men. Along with issues like sex, hobbies, and personal interests, a godly man acknowledges his emotions and emotional responses and submits them to God. The godly man guards his mind by focusing on God’s truth (Philippians 1:9-10; 2 Corinthians 10:5). He resists impulses to hold onto grudges (Colossians 3:12-13) or bitterness (Ephesians 4:26, 31-32). A godly man seeks to control his temper, instead of letting his circumstances control him (1 Timothy 1:7).

Likewise, a “real" man, a godly man, is not cowardly, fearful, or judgmental about his emotions or anyone else's. He accepts that God gave us emotions for a reason and that there are appropriate ways to use them. A Christlike perspective on emotions allows for proper expressions of joy, happiness, and laughter (Romans 12:15), as well as righteous anger and outrage (Ephesians 4:26; John 2:13-17), just as much as sorrow, grief, and tears (John 11:35; 2 Corinthians 7:10).

O: Opposite Sex

The godly man accepts that attraction and sexuality are part of how he was designed by God. Like any other aspect of his life, however, a godly man knows that there are right and wrong ways (and times) to act on those urges. A godly man respects women as fellow image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:27; 2:23) and treats them like sisters in Christ with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:2). He pursues relationships with a goal of lifelong commitment (1 Corinthians 7:2)—not temporary pleasure. If married, he loves his wife the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).

The godly man avoids sins like premarital sex, lustful masturbation, and viewing pornography (Ephesians 5:3). He knows there is forgiveness for those sins (Hebrews 4:15-16) but does not use that forgiveness as an excuse to act impulsively toward sinful temptations (Romans 6:1-2).

At the same time, a godly man accepts that dating, romance, and sexuality are not for everyone. He understands that being single is not a punishment, curse, or personal flaw. God’s plan can include periods of singleness or even a single life—neither is more holy than the other (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:8-11).

P: Perspective

Everything a godly man thinks, does, or says is tied to a godly perspective. In short, this means he knows that everything about him, in him, and around him ultimately belongs to God. Other people are not the godly man’s judge, and he doesn’t let things like peer pressure define his life.

At the same time, godliness means not letting emotions and urges take control. A godly man knows that Christ is the ultimate example and the ultimate reward (Philippians 1:21). He seeks to please God and obey God, rather than pleasing himself or pandering to ungodly demands from others (Galatians 5:22-25).

No, none of this sounds easy...

None of these things are easy or simple or without their own questions and struggles. That’s all part of accepting what it means to be a godly man. However, keep in mind that absolute perfection is literally impossible. We cannot and will not be perfect while we live on this earth. What we can and must do is submit to God and the Holy Spirit. That allows Him to do the work of making us more like Him (Luke 10:27). That starts with becoming born again and committing to living a godly life, then everything else follows from there.

Support from other men is crucial, especially in the early years of life and into young adulthood (Proverbs 11:14). Older Christian men have learned—sometimes the hard way—how to navigate these difficult issues. It’s important for believers to support each other. It’s important to seek that support. Speaking with parents, pastors, friends, and teachers is a great way to apply these principles of godliness.

Examples of godly men in the Bible, like David, Solomon, Joseph, Abraham, Peter, and Paul are proof that godliness is possible. They’re also proof that sin can trip up anyone, so we need to seek accountability and honesty—with ourselves, with others, and with God.

Following God’s design doesn't necessarily lead to the easiest or even the most "fun" life. But it will be the “best” for you—both in this life and the next—and it will be well worth it.

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TL;DR

A godly man understands that he's part of God’s plan and knows he has a specific, divinely-assigned role to play (Hebrews 12:1-2). He rises above stereotypes (Romans 12:2) and celebrates his God-given passions and interests—even if they’re not shared by other men. He rejects violence (Romans 12:18-21) and attitudes that disrespect women (Ephesians 5:2-5). The godly man guards his mind by focusing on God’s truth (Philippians 1:9-10). He is not fearful or judgmental about emotions and accepts that God gave us emotions for a reason and that there are appropriate ways to use them. The godly man knows there is forgiveness for sexual sins (Hebrews 4:15-16) but does not use that forgiveness as an excuse to submit to temptations (Romans 6:1-2). A godly man seeks accountability and wisdom from God (James 1:5) and others (Proverbs 11:14). Following God’s design doesn't necessarily lead to the easiest or even the most "fun" life. But it will be the “best” for you—both in this life and the next—and it will be well worth it.

By: Jeff Laird

Jeff is a staff writer with Got Questions Ministries and used to be a mechanical engineer. When he's not accidentally setting things on fire in his workshop, or petting strange dogs, he loves helping people better understand God’s Word and how it applies to our lives. Jeff's calling is to untangle the "big picture" of Christian faith, making it easier to understand.

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