Things for Christian Men to Think About (Tim Challies)

by Paul Tautges | November 1, 2022 7:34 am

*Tim Challies graciously gave me permission to share the following article with you, which I think is so well said and helpful to all Christian men, young and hold. Please read it and share with others.

Pause for a few moments to consider the fact that God is a Father and you are his child. Now think about how many times God has obviously chastised or disciplined you for your sin versus how many times he has extended mercy and grace and given you time to correct your sinful behavior. How often in life has God clearly afflicted you with some kind of negative consequence for your sin? How often have you been certain that he has providentially intervened with some kind of pain in order to change your bad behavior? My guess is your answer would be something like, “Not all that often, considering how sinful I am.” Having pondered that, contemplate the way you parent your children and whether you reflect a good measure of God’s patience and long-suffering. Is your fatherhood modeled on God’s?

The society around you wants you to believe that men cannot have friendships with other men that are significant and meaningful and emotionally intimate—but that do not involve sex or any desire for it. Society casts doubt on Jonathan and David and on Frodo and Sam and on everyone between, as if love between men cannot be utterly true and also utterly pure. Don’t buy the lie. Friendships with other men are precious and good and bring glory to God. You will be a better man for baring your heart before a friend and allowing him to really know you as you are. You will be a better husband and father and church member. So pursue friendships and relational intimacy with other men. You’ll be glad you did.

And on the topic of friendship, why not make it your goal in friendship to make your friends better? There are lots of relationships that can leave us the same or even make us worse. But the most precious relationships are the ones that make us better by providing an example of godliness, by speaking truth to us, and by challenging or even rebuking us when necessary. Be the kind of friend who is committed to leveling up your friends—and your wife and your children and the other people around you. You’ll probably find they do the same to you. And be aware that the way to do this is first and foremost for you to grow in godliness, because you cannot expect of them what you are not willing to do yourself. Make people around you better by being better yourself.

Much of the pain men bring upon themselves is a result of their sense of entitlement when it comes to sexual satisfaction. For that reason, one of the best and godliest things you can do is determine you will not experience illicit sexual pleasure as an expression of that sense of entitlement. In other words, you will not masturbate. If you make that commitment and work backward from there, you may just find that your desire to look at pornography is diminished. You may find you are more careful with what you watch on Netflix or what your eyes alight on when you are round and about. You might find you put better measures in place to guard what you see and experience. After all, why get all worked up when you have committed not to satisfy yourself? Determine that if God has provided you a wife (or until such time as God has provided you a wife), you will experience no sexual pleasure apart from her and that 100 percent of your sexual desire and “energy” will be directed to her and her alone. Holding to that commitment will be one of the best things you ever do (even if it’s also one of the most difficult).

Most churches need more leaders, not fewer. Most churches have too few elders to provide the level of spiritual care they would like to. And, generally speaking, all that separates an elder from a non-elder is character and calling. Elders are men who have dedicated themselves to pursuing godly character and who have the desire to serve in that capacity. So what is keeping you from being at least qualified to be an elder? If it is character, you ought to repent and commit yourself to spiritual growth, for elders have no different character requirements than any Christian—they are merely the ones who exemplify what the Bible calls us all to be. If it is desire, then why don’t you make it a matter of prayer and see if God will give you that desire? Because almost every church is eager for more men, not fewer.

No relationship in the world is as precious and pure as the relationship between a father and his daughter. So treat your daughter as the precious princess she is. Be kind to her and patient with her and so very gentle. Yes, you will need to address her sin and you will need to chastise or discipline her at times—that is bound up in your fatherhood, and she will ultimately respect you for it. But that must always be done with great love and tenderness. Instead of trying to force her allegiance, woo her to yourself and win her heart. Nothing will win her heart more than patiently listening to her and consistently drawing her out. Picture yourself dancing with her at her wedding, picture the way she looks at you in that moment, and then consider: What will it take to be that father to that daughter? What will it take to have your daughter regard you in that way? Work backward from there.

There may come a time in your life when you experience a great loss or great tragedy that impacts one of the spheres in which you are called to be a leader—your family, your church, your business. In that moment you need to ponder this fact: It is often when you are most broken that you are most needed. It is in the midst of your deepest tragedy that your leadership will be most necessary and, ultimately, most important. In that moment, you will need to cry out for God’s wisdom and strength and then lead—lead through the dark valley, lead through the broken heart, lead through terrible uncertainty. Don’t allow yourself to drop out of the race, to become useless to those who need you and rely upon you. The God who called you to lead is the God who will equip and enable you. You can do this!

Your wife is God’s daughter. And in much the same way you may someday entrust your daughter to a man, God has entrusted his daughter to you—to your love, your care, your protection. This should evoke gratitude in your heart, for God has provided you with a gift that is extremely precious to him. This should also provoke serious self-examination to consider if you are treating your wife in the way God would wish for his daughter to be treated. Does she know that you love her, like her, and accept her? Does she know that you truly treasure her? Does she know that you will protect her, even (and perhaps especially) from your own sin? Do you thank God for providing so precious a gift?

It is a great tribute to a man when his family knows him for his commitment to the Bible, to prayer, and to the local church. Gifts and vacations and inheritances are all well and good, but there is no better legacy you can leave to your children than being a man who truly loves the Lord and has lived for his glory. This legacy is inextricably bound to a long dedication to Scripture, to prayer, and to consistent commitment to the local church. Be known for these.

Learn to embrace the complementarity between men and women as a feature rather than a bug of our humanity—even when that complementarity seems difficult or annoying. There is a sense inside each of us that our wives would be easier to love and would bring us more joy if they were just a bit more like us. This sense can be prominent when it comes to any number of differences—in how we experience joys and griefs, in how we process emotions, in how often we express sexual interest and the ways in which we may express it, and so on. Yet the differences between the sexes is a feature of our humanity and God has made no errors in creating us as he did. Submit yourself to his purpose and know that if your wife was changed in the ways you wish she would, it would be to your detriment more than your benefit.

*This article was originally published here.[1]

  1. published here.:

Source URL: