"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."---Colossians 3:12-17(NKJV)
Initially, when I was doing some praying about some women I know who are trying to basically drag their boyfriends down the wedding aisle (whether literally, manipulatively or desperately-LOL) and I heard the Spirit tell me that I needed to do a spouse series, I thought that it was going to be on what a wife needs to be. Then the Spirit was like, "You have a pretty big blog talking about all of that. If these women knew what a husband's role *really is*, that it's not just to keep them company when they're lonely or be a warm body in their bed, perhaps they would see that they are not married because they are not ready and a part of the reason why they are not ready is because they have no real idea of what a husband's role in their lives is *truthfully* supposed to be. If they did, they would see men much differently, their standards would shift, and they'd loosen up that death grip on those guys that they call their boyfriends so that they could be more covenant-focused than relationship-driven."
Yeah. Well. ;-)
So, here we are. At the beginning of what I'm thinking will be a seven-part mini-series.
When I asked the Spirit where we should begin, he led me to the word "character":
Character: the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing; one such feature or trait; characteristic; qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity; reputation
Now before we even get into what the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), says about character, let's just look at the dictionary definitions. A man of character is to be honest, courageous and he needs to have integrity.
Honest: honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; upright and fair; showing uprightness and fairness;
gained or obtained fairly; sincere; frank; genuine or unadulterated
OK, let me pause here for a moment. So, those of you who are still struggling with ending the sexual part of your relationship, you see that an *honest* man (and woman for that matter) obtains things *fairly* and lives and *unadulterated* life (Hebrews 13:4), right? It was a *long and hard road* (by my choosing, by the way) for me to get to a place of *really accepting* that if a man is not faithful to God, if he doesn't honor his own Creator's laws about how to treat me, then he's probably not going to be the most faithful to me, either. After all, a man who has a problem with honoring authority is definitely not the kind of man that we should rush to submit to (Ephesians 5:22-24).
Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery; the heart as the source of emotion
I really dig that second definition because while it doesn't take a lot of courage to have sex with a woman, it does take insurmountable amounts of courage to *love* her because we can see in just how God loved us enough to send us his Son (John 3:16), that *real love* does enable a person to face difficulty, danger and pain without fear. Why? Because of this verse: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." (I John 4:18-NKJV) I think I shared before that I am easing out of calling men in my past "past loves" because as I'm learning more about what love *really is*, they were more like men that I cared about and had sex with (which caused me to think it was love at times) who taught me some really valuable lessons. That said, when it came to my first "not God's best lesson" (LOL), he did a lot of running. Right when I thought he would commit, he'd disappear...literally for months and sometimes years at a time. Because he is the person who I gave my "conscious virginity" to (he was the one who I had sex with after being molested), I kept thinking that he just needed me to encourage him (i.e., urge him on), but as the Word shows us, when a person is motivated by the enemy of love, which is fear, they tend to live a tormented life. Torment is mental suffering. Torment is excessive worry or annoyance. Torment is agony and misery. When a person is in that kind of state, while you can *model* love to them, you really cannot do much more than that. God really has to get involved to do some spiritual heart surgery (Ezekiel 36:26) *to open them up* and my first lesson didn't even have a strong relationship with God; that made the odds of us succeeding just that much more difficult, if not close to impossible. A man who is "scared" to fully serve God (and a lot of men are) will be "afraid" to totally love you. That's a guarantee.
Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; the quality of being unimpaired
I remember one time when I was talking to God about what he expects of a husband and wife and I said, "That's some really high standards" to which he replied, "Maybe now you'll see how so many people who are getting married have absolutely no business doing it. Marital covenant reflects the Godhead and we *do* exist by some really high standards. If you are going to claim to be the likeness of us, you have to have integrity." God doesn't expect perfection, but he does expect that we *honor* his moral and ethical principles and that we constantly work towards being whole individuals. A person of integrity shows up to work on time. A person of integrity doesn't cheat on his taxes. A person of integrity says what he means and means what he says. A person of integrity operates with a *sound* mind (2 Timothy 1:7). A person of integrity is going to tell *you* "no" when you want to have sex with him (outside of marriage). A person of integrity reads the Word and follows it to the best of his ability. A person of integrity takes his single life just as seriously as you should.
Reputation: the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the public generally; repute; a favorable and publicly recognized name or standing for merit, achievement, reliability, etc.; good name
OK, on the reputation tip, this has a bit of a twist because honestly, people can be pretty fickle, lack discernment and therefore they sometimes cannot properly speak on what it means to *really* be someone who is worthy of having a good reputation. However, I will say this. There's one guy I know in particular who has a pretty good name when it comes to things that he does in the community, but as it relates to how he treats women, his name is basically mud. He's carnal. He's selfish. He's not reliable. The list goes on. Plus, if you add on the saying, "If you want to see a man's character, look at his friends"...well, that just really causes him to lose some points (LOL). A big part of living with discernment (Proverbs 2) and operating from a place of common sense (Proverbs 2:6-8 & 8:12-21-Message) is looking outside of what you want something to be and inside to what it *really is* (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message). Pay attention to his family. Pay attention to his friends. What are people's facial expressions when his name comes up? What does *God* tell you when you ask about him? Is he reliable? All of these factors play a role in a man's reputation.
And then there's the lead Scripture for today. Now, while we could definitely break down all of those words and make each of them be their own blog, I am led to simply share the definitions and *encourage you* to pray about how they are to manifest, via a man, in your own life:
Mercy: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS COMPASSIONATE AND BENEVOLENT.
Kind: indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; mild; gentle; clement; loving; affectionate
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS CONSIDERATE AND HELPFUL, GENTLE AND AFFECTIONATE.
Humble: not proud or arrogant; modest; courteously respectful; conscious of one's failings
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT ARROGANT, HE IS RESPECTFUL AND HE CAN ADMIT WHEN HE'S WRONG.
Meek: humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others; long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature
A MAN OF CHARACTER DOES NOT HAVE A SHORT TEMPER AND CAN SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY.
Longsuffering: enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently
A MAN OF CHARACTER CAN ENDURE HARD TIMES...*WELL*.
Forgive: to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve; to cease to feel resentment against
A MAN OF CHARACTER PARDONS OFFENSES AND DOESN'T HOLD GRUDGES.
Love: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."---I Corinthians 13:4-8(NKJV)
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT TRYING TO *MAKE* LOVE BUT *BE* LOVE.
Peace: the state existing during the absence of war; a state of harmony between people or groups; freedom from strife; law and order within a state; absence of violence or other disturbance; absence of mental anxiety; a state of stillness, silence, or serenity; to become reconciled with
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT VIOLENT OR ANXIOUS. HE KNOWS THERE'S A TIME TO "BE STILL AND KNOW" (PSALM 46:10) AND HE RESPECTS AND HONORS THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION (2 CORINTHIANS 5:12-21).
Thankful: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative
A MAN OF CHARACTER SAYS "THANK YOU" AND IS APPRECIATIVE (WITHOUT ANY PROMPTING).
"But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him."---I John 3:17-19(NKJV)
A MAN OF CHARACTER IS *SENSITIVE* TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AND IS NOT SATISFIED WITH SIMPLY TALKING ABOUT LOVE. A MAN OF CHARACTER *ACTS IT OUT*.
A lengthy list? Indeed. Yet, it's the foundation that all good husbands are "built" upon and so if you're in a relationship, know that the kind of "love house" that the Lord builds has this at its core (Psalm 127:1). And yes, it certainly doesn't hurt to run down it to see what areas you could use some fine-tuning in as well (I know that it opened up my own eyes to a couple of things).
I'll be back with Part 2 later within the week. For now, stay humble and prayerful. Seek wisdom (James 1:5) and be willing to do *just* what God tells you to with what is revealed. A good husband's not hard to find when you seek God on the kind of man that you are to be looking towards.