This is going to be a very personal post. Thirty years ago today, I married the man God had planned for me. I had just about given up that there could be such a man, having learned from my mistakes in other relationships that I would not settle for less than I deserved. I will admit that I didn't truly know my Lord at that time in my life. I mean, I knew He was real, and I had internalized all the basic Church knowledge of Him; but I didn't know Him as my Savior. But He was knocking on the door of my heart, and I was on the verge of answering His call on my life.
Nearly simultaneously, my future husband entered my life. A genuine friendship would be established before any thoughts of romance or marriage surfaced. By that time, I was seeking God, and I instinctively knew that this young man was going to be a good and Godly man. His faith was rock solid, and we both wanted a deeper and committed relationship with God. We may have been taking baby steps, but we were on our way!
But that's when God got ahold of us and began to show us that "traditional" and "conventional" was not the path He had planned for us. And that's when He began transforming my husband from an exemplary man into a Godly man. Let me try to explain what that looked like...
I can remember deciding that the one real way to get to know who my God is, was to read His Word. I began a diligent study of the Bible and wondered why, when my husband grew up in the Church more than I did, that he didn't have a hunger to read and study the Bible, too. I asked him that question once, and although he couldn't really give me an answer, it wasn't long before I noticed him beginning his own study, and in a manner that told me he was sincere. Although initially following our own individual paths, we soon began pursuing our Lord diligently, conscientiously, and together. And that's when my husband began his journey as a Godly man.
He took the lead and assumed his Biblical role as head of our home. He began challenging his own belief system, and where it was incompatible with the Bible, he wasn't afraid to dig in to try and discover God's will in the matter, rather than man's interpretation. He was not passive in questioning church doctrine, nor was he too prideful or stubborn. Through "iron sharpening iron", he was open to changing his opinion; all he wanted was God's Truth.
And, of course, a Godly man is not afraid to speak out. It is my husband's sincere belief that to be silent in covering up sin, is a sin in itself. And when the Holy Spirit began convicting us that our beloved church of 20 years was compromising in their duties as God's instrument on earth, he was courageous in speaking up and demanding accountability. He was beginning to live out his fear of God, rather than fearing his reputation among men.
As anyone who has stood up to centuries of Church Doctrine knows, it can be a lonely position. But my husband has stood strong in defense of God's Word and has not backed down when attacked, criticized, challenged, or ostracized. A Godly man knows that his path may be a solitary one; yet he is willing to undergo abuse for the sake of the Truth -- even from fellow Believers.
But perhaps one of the things I admire and respect most about this man who has shared my life for 30 years is that he has made it his goal to live a truly righteous and humble life. He has battled those things in his spirit and soul that he knows separates him from his God. He is diligent in his confession and repentance of those sins, and views his service to others for the Kingdom of God as his priority in life. The business of earning a living, and meeting the obligations of his life here on earth will be taken care of by the God whom He seeks first. I must admit that he often shames me how easily he puts his trust and confidence in God.
Relationships in a Godly man's life are lived according to Biblical instruction; as a husband, he loves his wife as God loves His church; as a father, he does not provoke his children to anger, but brings them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
A Godly man has integrity; nearly a lost concept in today's world of selfish manipulation and compromise. But a man's character, conscience, and deep intimacy with God are hallmarks of a man who has the courage to keep his word and stand up for his convictions.
A Godly man recognizes that the vocation he has chosen is an opportunity to glorify his God. I am proud to say that my husband's creativeness and talent speak volumes of the discipline and honor he bestows on each painting he creates. He has always said that it is his job to get up each morning and paint the best he can, and the Lord will take care of providing everything else.
I know there are some who will say that a Godly man is a man who enjoys good standing in a Church; a man who gives of his time, talent and treasure for the Lord. But I don't see where the Bible instructs a man to be in a church building every Sunday as part of his commission for Christ. My husband lives by the Scripture that says where two or more are gathered, the Lord is there -- and he never forsakes the assembling together with other Christians to study, worship, and build relationship with his Savior. Every day is an opportunity to meet with the Lord, every open door is an opportunity to fellowship with Believers and nonbelievers alike; all for the sake of telling others of the glorious salvation through Christ!
Those are the characteristics of a Godly man ... and I'm more than blessed to see them in the person of the man I married 30 years ago today. He has given me his love, support, and encouragement. He has made me laugh when I wanted to express anger; and his pure and humble love of my Lord and Savior has made me cry. His honesty has given me the precious gift of trusting him; his strength has made me feel secure; and his compassion for others has allowed me to see his pure heart. We have grown a lot in the last 30 years -- from two individuals who barely knew the Lord to a couple who has grown, as one, into a new creation. I know we are not unique or better than the millions of other couples the Lord has brought together unto His service. I just know how incredibly blessed we are, and I do not take it for granted. But I am excited to begin the 31st year together with this incredible man who has taught me the meaning of unselfish devotion and never-ending love. Happy Anniversary, to the best husband God could have given me! And thank you, Father God, for the blessing of this divine union of spirits and flesh!
Song of Songs 5:16 This is my beloved. This is my friend...