What makes a young man Godly? In the movie, Gladiator, there is this one line that captivates my heart. Maximus, played by Russell Crown, declares that “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”
It’s a great line, and if you are a guy, regardless of how old you are, most likely this line resonated with you too. It is a deep longing of the heart in every man, to make our mark on the word. We want to be able to say, “We came, we saw, we conquered.” That’s why we grow up imitating our heroes from myths and legends, old stories and new. We hope that one day we would be able to be exactly like them. You see, God has placed a quest for significance in every man. If we pursue significance in the temporal, our significance will be temporary. If we pursue significance in the eternal, our significance will be forever. You can either discipline yourself to make a difference in this world for eternity, or you can do what is easy and spend eternity thinking of all the things you could have done in this world.
So how will you go down in history? What will people say of you after you leave? Even more importantly, what will be said of you in eternity? Perhaps you did not have a father who was a great example, but you have a heavenly father, and you are a son of the almighty God. You have a chance to change the course of your family’s ways. You can either continue in brokenness, or you can become the godly man that will change the course of history and impact eternity. Jesus was the firstborn son of God, and he changed the world forever. We are called to be like Jesus in Romans 8:29 we are told that,” For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
But how do we know if we are becoming more like Christ? Daily, this is a question that is on the mind of so many young men. The very fact that you are interested and are trying tells me that the Holy Spirit is already working in your life. That’s why Apostle Paul says, “… work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:12-13.
That’s why I want to give you some characteristics of those who are godly young men, in hopes that you would be able to see how far along you have come and what else you can do every day to become more like Jesus, the greatest man who has ever lived. He is the definition of the men we are to be.
Godly young men submit to God and resist the devil to make him flee.
You were never meant to fight the enemy alone. The enemy is a master of deception; he is described as, “a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” in 1 Peter 5:8. That is not someone you want to mess with in your strength. You are no match for Lucifer. However, he has met his adversary and Lucifer was crushed at the cross. By submitting your life to Jesus Christ, you are claiming Jesus’ sacrifice; and you can resist the enemy based on the victory Jesus achieved for us on the cross.
Godly young men are strong, but also humble and gentle.
We are men, and we are called to be the strong protectors of our families. We are to restore those whose lives have fallen apart. We are to build others up and protect the weak when we see injustice. In James 4:6, it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So walk humbly before God. Use your strengths to restore, build and protect. Be strong and powerful yet be gentle and caring with people God has entrusted you with.
Godly young men run away from lust and sexual sin.
In Proverbs 7:7 we see a young man who is said to have a lack of discernment and no sense, he is lead away captive by a prostitute who will end up ruining his life. We find that in 1 Corinthians 6: 18 we are told to “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his body.” Sex was given as a gift to be enjoyed in marriage between a husband and a wife, and any misuse of it is a sin. This also includes pornography. If you have a problem with Pornography, I wrote on how to be set free from it here.
When godly young men stumble, they know that only God’s grace brings true joy.
It is not your rule keeping that pleases God, but encountering and accepting His grace. Only genuine grace produces genuine joy. Hence, after all human religious devices and self-righteous intention fail to deliver the joy promised, we realize only true grace can produce true joy. Historically, the grace of God has brought hope in the most desperate of situations, set souls free from the darkest of dungeons, and softened the hearts of the hardest of criminals. If however, the grace we claim to have is hopeless, freedom-less, and has failed to make us more loving or more Christ-like; then the logical conclusion is that we have never encountered true grace. But on the contrary if we have settled for a counterfeit grace, then a counterfeit grace produces a counterfeit joy. So I encourage you to remember God’s grace towards you every day, especially in those moments when you fail and sin. The grace of God who has saved you, is also able to sustain you and by encountering God’s grace, joy will also follow.
Godly young men have constant communication with Him through word and prayer.
God gave us the great privilege and honor to partner up with Him in redeeming the past, changing the future, and making history by His word through prayer. You can accomplish more in five minutes of prayer than in several years of self-discipline and hard work. Use your time wisely and ask the all-powerful God to intervene in your daily struggles, for He is always ready to help, you just have to ask. We are told in the scripture to wait upon the Lord, in Isaiah 40:30-31,“Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord, will gain new strength; they will run and not get tired; they will walk and not become weary.” So I encourage you to learn to seek God’s will in everything you do.
Godly young men honor God in their thinking.
You might not have control over how you feel, but you have control what kind of things you think about. Your thoughts will become actions, your actions will become your habits, your habits will determine your character, and your character will determine who you will become. So change your life by changing your thinking. Apostle Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind,” Romans 12:2.
How do we renew? He instructs us further in Philippians 4:10, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Godly young men Pursue Holiness, to be different in the same way God is different.
Holiness is to be set apart to be different from anyone else. We are told to be Holy because God is Holy, in other words, we are told to be like God. In the modern culture to be different is to get tattoos and piercings. While that might make them different, it does not always mean more useful for God’s purpose. Just because everyone is getting high and partying it up, does not mean you have to.
Godly young men give honor to those whom honor is due.
We live in a culture where people trip over one another be the first who says that one clever, sarcastic remark or come-back. There are no shortages of backhanded comments and cleverly disguised roast sessions. However we are called to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” Philippians 2:3. That is why I encourage you to be a young man who gives honor to whom ever honor is due. After all, there is not much gain in losing friends just to win arguments. So create an attitude of honor in everything you do and in time you will see an attitude of favor surrounding you. Honor your parents, elders, and respect your peers. Pause, before you make any remark or comment and ask yourself, Is this honorable? Is this respectful? Does this build up or tear others down?
Godly young men keep their promises and earn trust by doing exactly what they said will do.
Our words don’t mean much anymore. We make a commitment to someone, and if it becomes inconvenient for us to do what we said, we send a text message excusing ourselves and telling them that we cannot make it. But every broken promise erodes at our trustworthiness and people no longer believe us. We have to resort to extreme words to prove our trustworthiness. The old saying still rings true, though, “Trust is not given it is earned.” So I encourage you to be a trustworthy young man by keeping your word regardless of how big or small the commitment is.
Godly young men are teachable; they learn from others mistakes and life experiences.
There is a wrong attitude that says that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from it. What if the mistake we made ends up with us being in prison our whole lives, is it still ok to make that mistake? You see there are mistakes that should never be made, and we do not have to learn by making them. That’s why I hope you understand the value of learning from other people’s mistakes. It’s a lot cheaper and much more beneficial. You don’t have to go through brokenness to learn from your mistakes. We have the privilege of living in the twenty-first century and have a great history of people who we can learn from. We are told in Ecclesiastes 4:13, “A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.” Wise people are teachable, so be a wise young man, take instructions and learn from others.
Godly young men seek out godly friendships who will encourage them and build them up.
I can never stress enough the importance of godly friendships. Be intentional about who you hang out with. For the people you hang out with will influence your decisions and shape your character. In Proverbs 13:20 we are told that “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Now pay attention to the two things mentioned, it makes sense that that if we hang with the wise we will become wise, however what is surprising is that it does not say that those who hang out with the fools become fools, but rather they will suffer harm. In other words if you hang out with bad friends they will get you in trouble. You will suffer harm and not always because of your own mistakes. So I encourage you to be intentional about your friendships and seek out guys who are Godly and are men of virtuous character. Those kinds of friends will shape you to be who God has called you to be. Because if you hang out with the wise you will be sharpened like it is mentioned in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Godly young men are being discipled and disciple others.
I hear a constant complain that there are not enough pastors or role model for the young people to “follow as they follow after Christ.” To be honest, I did not have one either, but I set it in my mind that I will become the person I hoped to have as a mentor when I was young. Good mentors are hard to come by because they are usually busy, but if you are intentional, you will find someone who will mentor you and keep you accountable in your walk with Christ. It could be a parent, pastor, or an older godly friend. Furthermore, find a younger friend who you can help and become the mentor you wish you had when you were a kid. One day the only thing that will remain is your relationship with God and your relationship with other people. The best way to be discipled and to disciple others is to be part of a church. You can read more about the church Here. So invest in people because it will last for eternity. I wrote more on investing for eternity here
Godly young men pursue godly spouses and treat them right.
Pursuing girls that are ungodly will destroy your life, just read Proverbs 7 in its entirety and you will see. Rather pursue girls who are godly and spiritually mature, but keep in mind that one of the most irresponsible and cowardly things a man can do is to waken a young woman’s love without actually loving her. That’s why when you do date, I encourage you to always make your intentions clear. You do not have to marry the first girl that you date, but you should be honest about your intentions towards her. Furthermore, do not take what is not yours. Would you be ok with some guy taking advantage of your future wife? Would you be fine with him manipulating her emotion just to sleep with her? So why would you do that to a girl if you are not in a covenant relationship, namely marriage? Remember that true love waits if you truly love a girl you will pay the price to be with her. Remember, God is a witness to your every move you might just move on, but every heart you break or relationship you abuse you are setting yourself up to be disciplined by God. So I encourage you to let your love for your future spouse lead by example. Read 1Cor.13 and put all of it into practice every day. Let that passage guide your pursuit of her.
Godly young men offer their bodies as a living sacrifice.
Your health will decline as you get older. Give God the best of your life’s years. You might think you will always be as strong as you currently are, but the painful reality is that our bodies are constantly changing, not always for the better. Before you know it you start referring to your knees as the good one and the bad one. So I encourage you to stay healthy by living an active and balanced lifestyle. Eat right, exercise, and sleep enough. Furthermore, be aware in overindulging in entertainment. Watching a show, playing a video game or enjoying a football game on TV with friends might be great, but if all you talk about and do is that, then you have a problem, and it’s keeping you from who you were called to be by God. You are using your mind, strength and body to become an ambassador for marketing Netflix, Xbox, and NFL not the kingdom of God. So take care of your physical health and offer your mind and physical body to become the vessel through which God brings hope to a broken world.