A few thoughts on biblical manhood and womanhood
The lack of single Christian men and women really behaving biblically as men and women has been extremely heavy on my heart lately. I definitely know I am not the only one who feels this way as I have had many a conversation on this very topic recently. While I have written specifically towards girls on singleness and godly womanhood in the past months, I have steered clear of really saying much directly to guys. I never want to come across as bitter Betty or overstep my bounds. However, Scripture talks about the body encouraging one another (Eph. 4:29, I Thess. 5:11, Heb. 3:13) and I think that means we are all to encourage one another even across the sexes. (Of course, I am not implying that a married or single woman should meet privately with a man married to another woman to encourage him. There is discernment and wisdom that comes when we are told to encourage one another.) I think it can be very healthy and beneficial for men and women to encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. The apostle Paul received a lot of encouragement and teaching from women who really helped shape him into a godly man. So, I would like to offer some encouraging, yet challenging, words to you single men. Don’t worry, I have a few things to say to the ladies, too.
*Disclaimer: I in no way want to come across as bashing men or putting them down. Please know I do this with a heart that really does want to sharpen and encourage men. Also, I in no way am trying to selfishly benefit from this. I have become pretty confident recently that the Lord has intended me to be single right now, so please do not see me as selfishly motivated in this.*
I was reading a post earlier by my good friend, Courtney, on modesty in light of the fall. You can read the full post here. She wrote this line in it, “There is a time and a place for enjoying the wife of your youth.” (This comes from Proverbs 5.) It really got me to thinking how common it is now days for men to delay marriage and having a family later and later in life. Adolescence truly has become prolonged in men. Scripture is full of exhortation and encouragement for men to marry- Gen 2:24; Prov 5, 31; Song of Solomon; Matt 19:5; I Cor 7:10,11. (There are a lot more, but it would fill up this whole post if I listed all of them.) Many of you may think it’s odd I chose Proverbs 31, but really this was written from a father to a son on what to look for when finding a godly wife. So, you single men, that passage is first and foremost for you. David Platt recently spoke about this in one of his sermons. You can listen to an excerpt here.
With all of this exhortation in Scripture for men to take godly wives and start a family I am quite perplexed why so many Christian men right now are continually prolonging adolescence and putting marriage off as something they will get to way down the road. Men, are you truly studying the word and praying for the Lord to reveal truth to you? Are you looking at everything God has said about what it means to be a godly man or are you passing over some of the things you will get to later or that make you uncomfortable? I encourage you to really dig into the Bible and seek what it truly means to be a godly, wise, and mature man. I truly believe if Christian men were soaking up Scripture and studying it to the fullest, they would be much more excited about marriage and desire to grow in wisdom and maturity. Let me say here, I understand that some men are called to singleness. The Lord does have purpose for some men that requires them to remain single. However, I know this is used A LOT as an excuse by guys who like their freedom and don’t want to be tied down. Men, here are a couple of questions to ask yourselves. 1- Am I single because the Lord has called me to be single in order to focus on a specific ministry that requires singleness? or 2- Am I single because I really like my freedom and being able to do whatever I want whenever I want? I truly believe a lot of single men have a misconception of what freedom is. What if true freedom really isn’t being able to do whatever you want whenever you want? What if true freedom comes when you completely live your life for Christ and seek to be the godly man He has called you to be? What if true freedom comes when you decide to give up your selfish way of living in order to provide, protect, and love a wife and children? What if true freedom comes when you are able to share with your children the things you so enjoy doing in order that they may share with their kids and so on? What if true freedom comes with leaving a legacy that can be passed down through the generations? You don’t have to be single to experience freedom. In fact, I would say you are missing out on really experiencing true freedom as a godly man.
Now, I know there are some single men that do desire to get married and are seeking a godly woman to take as a wife. I understand things can be extremely difficult and frustrating for you during this singleness. Please do not give up hope. Continue to seek and pursue until the Lord does bring along an amazing woman for you. Even through the heart ache and rejections, don’t stop seeking. Of course, I am not telling you to chase down every single girl you see. Pray for wisdom and direction from the Lord, first and foremost. But, also don’t be afraid to step out in faith and take a risk when you see a godly woman and want to get to know her better.
For those of you single men that maybe have been prolonging marriage for less than biblical reasons, please seek the Lord on this. Maybe you need to repent of any sinful reason why you have decided against marriage. Maybe you need to pray for wisdom from the Lord and a heart that desires to be a godly husband and father. Maybe you need to meet with a godly and wise man that can encourage and hold you accountable. Also, know that there a countless women praying for your hearts and for you to be the godly men the Lord has called you to be. For myself, there are several men I try to pray for regularly in order that the Lord really may begin to work in their lives. Not all of us single women are against you. A lot of us really are for you and want God’s best for you.
Now, I would like to say some things to you single women. I think we have definitely been disregarding Scripture when it comes to biblical womanhood. The behavior I see across the church in women has become very disheartening. We are also called to study Scripture and seek what it means to be godly women. The immodesty in women in dress and speech has run rampant, not just in the world, but also in the church. Women, we are to be the picture of modesty (Prov 11:22, 31:30; I Tim 2:9,10; I Peter 3:3,4). Please know that dressing immodestly is not honoring to God or the men around us. Our bodies are a temple and we are to treat them as such (I Cor 6:19-20). We are also to be mindful of not creating stumbling blocks for men. We should be carrying ourselves in such a way that is encouraging and uplifting to them.
Many women use the excuse that it’s not our responsibility when it comes to lust and sinfulness in men. Let me just say that this is an immature and un-Christlike response. Yes, men are held accountable for their actions and the sin in their hearts. But, we are also called to encourage and help one another. If you are dressing and speaking immodestly, you’re adding fuel to the fire and disregarding God’s word. Also, if you want to catch the attention of a godly and wise man, dressing inappropriately is not the way to do it. Sure, you may get a lot of attention, but I can guarantee you it won’t be of godly men that will make extraordinary husbands. Let us seek the Lord on what it truly means to be godly women. Let us change our behavior and speech to be in line with who God has called us to be as women. We have such a precious and high calling as women and so I exhort each one of you to really seek out wisdom and godliness. And, let us seek to encourage the men around us in word and deed.
Even though I have been greatly discouraged by the lack of godliness in Christian men and women, I also have great hope in the Lord restoring us to His original plan for us as godly men and women. I pray that we will stop listening to the culture around us and starting living for the God we claim to know and love. May our complete faith and trust be put in Him and may we stop letting other idols get in our way of truly living for him. We have been bought with a price. Now let’s really start acting like it. Let’s really start letting the Lord really work in our lives and shape us into who He wants us to be.
Please know that I realize I am not perfect. There a lot of things I still need to learn about becoming a godly woman. I ask each of you reading this to hold me accountable to that. If you see something in me that goes against what I have said or, more importantly, what God has said, I implore you to tell me right away! I do not want to be hypocritical or living in a way that is not most glorifying to God. So, I give you permission to encourage and rebuke me when I am straying from who God has called me to be. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but we all need to exhort and encourage and rebuke and love one another in order for us to all be a healthy and holy body of Christ.
As always, may everything we do, in word and deed, be glorifying to God!!