The Bible is a handbook for anyone who desires to be a godly man or woman. God created man and woman after His own image (Genesis 1:27), and part of being in His image is that we are to reflect His character. However, sin marred that image in us and distorted that character (Romans 5:12). God’s choice of Abraham to be the father of a new nation (Genesis 17:5–8) was made, in part, to establish a people group through which He could once again see His character reflected (Leviticus 26:11–12). Reflecting the heart, wisdom, and nature of God is the goal of everyone who seeks to be a godly man or woman.
The first step in becoming a godly man is to surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Anyone can learn rules, follow laws, and judge themselves harshly. Many false religions require that of their subjects. But we cannot become godly without the Holy Spirit empowering us to do so (Acts 1:8). Godliness is more than external behaviors; it is the continual seeking after God’s heart (Isaiah 55:6–7). The term godly refers to having an inward devotion for God that is outwardly displayed. So a godly man is one who has received Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for His own sin and has accepted the righteousness purchased for him there (2 Corinthians 5:21). By faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, the godly man has declared Jesus the Lord of his life, and his heart is set toward obedience (Romans 10:9–10).
With God’s Spirit inside him (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), the godly man is able to understand the deep things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9–10). He begins to see life differently. Life is no longer about pleasing himself but about pleasing his Lord (Romans 13:12–14; Hebrews 12:28). The godly man knows he will still stumble as he strives toward holiness (James 3:2), but his goal is to be holy as His Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He learns early that his fleshly attempts at holiness only result in pride and failure. The godly man learns that, as he surrenders his will to the Holy Spirit and relies upon Him for strength to overcome temptation, he can withstand more temptation and accomplish greater eternal goals than he ever thought possible (Philippians 4:13).
A godly man is one who has died to his flesh (Galatians 5:24). This does not mean he no longer faces temptation. It means that, when he is tempted, the decision about whether to give in has already been made. He relies on the power of the Holy Spirit to help him say “no” to his flesh and “yes” to the Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:16). As he regularly opposes sin, he finds that his spirit grows stronger and temptation becomes easier to resist (Hebrews 10:23).
The godly man:
• repents when he sins (1 John 1:9)
• considers himself dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:1–4, 11)
• seeks to remain humble rather than exalt himself (Proverbs 27:2)
• is a servant rather than demanding that he be served (Mark 10:45)
• leads by example (1 Timothy 4:12)
• (if married) loves his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25)
• lives in sexual purity, honoring God with his body (1 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 12:1–2)
• seeks to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Act 13:52; Galatians 5:25)
• desires to please the Lord more than himself (2 Corinthians 5:9)
• bears fruit for the kingdom of God (John 15:5–8)
A godly man is not a perfect man. We will never reach perfection until we are in the physical presence of Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2). But the godly man embraces his manhood and knows that Jesus, not the world, has set the standard for what it means to be a real man. So he strives daily to model his life after Jesus. He does not excuse the sins and weaknesses he finds in himself but continually surrenders those areas to God and asks for His help in overcoming them (Romans 6:11–14). Regardless of physical appearance, social status, or economic standing, any man can be a godly man if he loves God with all his heart and seeks to obey Him in every area of his life (Luke 10:27; Galatians 2:20).