During the 2018 Mens Retreat we considered what it looks like to grow into a godlier version of ourselves. Consider how you can take the next step with each of these five marks of maturity.
1. Lead Yourself
A mature man is someone who first leads himself. He takes responsibility for his own faith and directs it somewhere. He doesn’t just react to life, doing the bare minimum at work, endlessly scrolling feeds, sitting passively through sermons; he takes ownership of his discipleship. He forms habits that nurture love for Christ. He does not excuse himself from Paul’s charge: “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness…for godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).
2. Lead Your Family
A mature man leads his family in celebration of every good thing. He does not settle for dutiful provision for the family. Out of his delight in God, he brings delight to those around him. He celebrates every created thing as good. He does not let food and sex rule him, but rather keeps them in their proper place. He celebrates every good thing by giving generously of his own time, money, and words to bless his church, friends, and family with what God has given: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Ti 4:4–5).
3. Lead Repent
A mature man leads by repenting first. He does not sit, sulking, waiting for others to make amends but runs quickly to God to implore forgiveness and change of heart. He does not insist on being right but on enjoying Christ’s righteousness, and flings self-defense to the wind. A mature man stirs up a culture of repentance around him, drawing others into the mighty grace of God. He commends Christ to all, especially his wife. He lives with her in an understanding way, knowing what hurts her and what helps her, and chooses to shower her with not with judgment but with love: “husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet 3:7).
4. Lead Your Church
A mature man leads by serving his church. The Biblical family is wide; the nuclear family is narrow. The nuclear family is temporal, but the Church family is eternal. A mature man widens the circle of family to honor his conversion, saved into an enduring spiritual family as a light to the world. He recognizes single and family life can become an island to themselves and labors to know, serve, and love the family of God. He prioritizes worship, community, and mission with the people of God. He joins the church looking to bless others, not simply receive: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev 1:4-5).
5. Let God Lead You
A mature man is led by God himself. His aim is complete submission to God. Like the Methodists, he seeks “holiness in heart and action.” A mature man wants, above all, to do the will of God in all times and all places. He is a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led man. He seeks the Spirit’s wisdom and direction in all things in order to glorify God at all times. All the while, he rests not in what others think about him, but what God thinks about him. He allows God to lead him in self-perception and service while enjoying the grace of God: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8:13-14).