I don’t know about you. But this is not a topic I think about much. Nor is this something I talk about with my guy friends.

Guys don’t just get together and say: “Hey, let’s talk about being a man.” It’s like one of those things we all assume every man knows.

Maybe we are just too scared to ask. Or we are trying to figure it out ourselves.

Back when I was still single, there was a band called The Philosopher Kings that had a song titled “I Am the Man.”

And yes, the song is as chauvinistic as it sounds.

The singer walks down the street in a flamboyant suit in the music video. Women drool over him as he sings: “I am the man! I am the man! I am the man!”

Is this what manhood is all about?

In this article, I will share that a godly man chooses Jesus first, is courageous in courtship and belongs to a community.

The 3Cs of a godly man

1. Chooses Jesus above all

Before Wai Jia came into my life, I was on fire for Jesus; I wanted to do missions by helping the poor. 

At my church, there were a few girls whom I could have pursued, but I didn’t because they were not interested in missions.

They weren’t bad Christians. I was just prioritising God’s calling on my life above pursuing a relationship. 

When I told God I would be content to stay single for the rest of my life to serve Him, it wasn’t a vow of celibacy. It was simply acknowledging that I put Him first.

So when I first found out about Wai Jia, I pursued her because she had a big heart for the poor. I even jokingly asked her to be my “ministry partner”.

I also remember that night when I sat on the bench next to Wai Jia. As we were talking about getting married, I told her that she would always be in second place in my life.

What? Shouldn’t she be first place in my heart? No, because Jesus is first.

In Luke 14:26, Jesus said if we are to follow Him, we must hate our father, mother and wife. 

Many commentaries will explain that this verse does not refer to literal hate.

Instead, when we compare our love for Jesus to our love in other relationships, the latter pales in comparison.

When the man pursues and follows Jesus, the man will lead the relationship spiritually.

This is great assurance because I admit there are times when I don’t know how to lead. But when I sit before the Lord, He gives me guidance and direction. 

As godly men, our job is to seek Him first and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

2. Courageous in courtship

Of all the crazy things I’ve done in my life, from backpacking in Australia alone to doing an Ironman Triathlon, there is nothing that gets my heart pumping than courtship. 

Will she like me?
What if she likes someone else?
What do I say?

When we think of courage, we think of doing something adventurous like climbing a mountain or skydiving.

But the courage I am referring to is the one we need when pursuing a relationship that glorifies God.

When Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land, God told him three times to be courageous (Joshua 1:6, 7, and 9). Why? It takes courage to follow God even when no one else is doing it.

Even though the Israelites saw the 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, they still worshipped idols and desired to return to Egypt to be enslaved. Joshua needed the courage to withstand their pressure and follow God’s ways.

How does this apply to pursuing a relationship that glorifies God? Everything.

When pursuing a relationship, we all put our best foot forward. We may even follow the mantra “fake it till’ we make it”.

But part of being courageous is to be truthful.

When Wai Jia and I first met, I shared about my addiction to alcohol and struggles with pornography when I was in university before I knew Jesus.

If I were to win her heart, I didn’t need to say those things. Or worse, I could say something that would pull on her heart strings to like me.

So why did I share this shameful past? Because I wanted her to know who she was getting herself involved with.

Was there a risk she would not be interested in me after knowing my past? Of course, but that was the risk I was willing to take to be truthful.

Now, I’m not saying you must share all the sins you’ve committed on your first date. But I believe the girl should know who you are and not just someone you pretend to be.

Getting into a relationship is easy. Honouring God while pursuing a relationship is hard.

It also takes courage when the relationship becomes too physically intimate.

Despite all the temptation inside of you to keep going, you take the initiative to back off so that both of you will not commit sexual sin.  

Or you might even need to end the relationship because you realise it is not glorifying to God. It takes a lot of courage to say “no”.

Lastly, it takes tremendous courage if you are older, still single and refuse to date a non-Christian.

Getting into a relationship is easy. Honouring God while pursuing a relationship is hard.

3. Community sharpens him

No one is ever an island, and there is no such thing as a self-made man (or woman) in the Bible.

It is not a weakness to share your struggles with someone. We can’t do it on our own.

Yet we are told to be strong and independent. In the eyes of the world, to show vulnerability implies you are weak.

So, what do guys do? We suppress our emotions and keep telling ourselves we can do it alone. Heck, I do that most of the time.

Proverbs 27:17 hit the nail on the head:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

A godly man is comfortable finding another man to journey life together.

Here, I’m referring to the community where you can be honest and vulnerable with your struggles, doubts and hurts.

I’m thankful for many godly men along the way that helped me grow. They not only offered encouragement, but also became examples of how I should live my life.

As I struggled with rejection, hurt and shame before meeting Wai Jia, an uncle from church became my close friend. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, he was always there.

Because he was two life stages ahead of me, his maturity kept me emotionally stable. Also, by visiting his home, I saw how a Christian family should function with love and care.

I also had a few brothers in Christ whom I could share my struggles with, especially when it was about courtships. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. 

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul wrote to the church of Corinth to imitate him just as he imitated Christ. We need to find the Pauls in our lives that we can imitate. 

Dare to be a godly man

Biblical manhood takes manhood up a notch.

It forces us to ask hard questions about whether we are following Jesus first, whether we are daring to lead courageously, and whether we are willing to be vulnerable by fellowshipping with other men.

If you are single right now, you will be the head of a household one day. And to get there, it starts with letting Jesus be the one leading your life.

These days, I don’t want to be “the man” as painted by the world anymore. I’d instead follow the Man who makes all things new.

Would you follow Him with me?

This article is part of series that Wai Jia and her husband, Cliff, are writing to share their views on singlehood, dating and marriage. You can catch up on the other articles below.

  1. What does it mean to put God first when it comes to your choices in courtship?
  2. Is there a specific area of dating that God is calling you to be courageous in?
  3. Do you have mentors and peers whom you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with? How are they challenging you to do better?