When I was a young wife with three small boys, I came across a little book of poetry written by a woman with many years of wifely experience. The poetry was mediocre, and the book didn’t survive the many moves of our earlier married life, but one word picture stood out to me from my first reading, and still comes back to me today.
The author described her years of marriage as “watching her husband grow up into his halo.”
Now I know what she meant.
A real man believes and acts on God’s opinion over man’s opinion. This presupposes that he is familiar with God’s opinion, and that he is absolutely unconcerned about the opinions of man.
A real man not only takes responsibility for himself and his family, he also does not shy away from God’s commands to take personal, non-optional, sacrificial responsibility for the voiceless and helpless.
A real man doesn’t just set a godly vision for his family, he recognizes that he himself bears the weight of responsibility for the success or failure of that vision.
A real man doesn’t just work hard. Any machine can work hard. A real man works hard for what is eternally lasting, out of his desire to bring glory to his God. A real man works hard to care for those who are weaker and more needy than himself and not to ensure his own comfort or entertainment.
A real man doesn’t whine and complain about difficulties in his life. He accepts them as tools in God’s hand. He understands that no discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful, but that later it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
A real man loves and welcomes children and does not resent them as impediments to securing his own best interests. His children are not an interruption to his work, his children are his work.
A real man has eyes to see what is most worth seeing, and does not waste his God-given energy on worthlessness, or worse.
A real man never looks down on weakness, need, or unloveliness. He recognizes that God has given him an extra measure of strength in order to fill in the gap for those who have an extra measure of need.
A real man does not seek to be served, but to serve, and to give his life in place of those God has called him to serve.
A real man’s courage rises with danger. He does not allow fear to stop him from following Jesus into places where he cannot see far down the path.
A real man has learned that his greatest strength lies in releasing the illusion that he has final control over his own life, and in remaining open to God’s guidance, no matter what.
A real man has first-hand experience of the faithfulness of God to His beloved children when we obey His call to us to step out of the boat and walk on the water.
Because he is a real man, my husband will read this and be aware of his areas of weakness and failure. A real man does not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but thinks of himself with sober judgment.
That doesn’t change the fact that I am grateful He has allowed me to be the companion of a man who lives with courageous faith and sacrificial love. A real man who is growing up into his halo.