04 February 2015

Thankful for Spiritually 'Well-Dressed' Men

Photo: picjumbo.com
May I request that you indulge me for just a few paragraphs? As those who have followed this blog for any significant amount of time know, it is a rare thing for me to offer up a moment of personal reflection. The reasons for this are simple: 1. If ever this blog were to become about me​, I would have to shut it down, and 2. Every good blogger knows that you should do everything you can to avoid showing emotion or any sign that you are human.

Okay, that last point is a bit in jest but just the same, I am not a terribly emotional person, at least not outwardly, so the moments that I even want to share a personal reflection with my largely unseen audience are rare. Further, what is about to follow is not actually all that personal. In a sense it is, but ultimately I hope it points the reader back to the goodness and grace of God, and elevates His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not long ago, in the weekly This 'n' That post, I linked to an article titled, "The Well Dressed Man," that discussed the attributes of Christian gentlemen. Several people commented to me personally about that article, and how much they appreciated it. Indeed, in today's world it seems nearly impossible to find men who understand the basics of manners and etiquette (is it really that laborious to hold open the door?), but the notion of a true Christian gentleman? Well, I'd venture to say that many men who profess Christ have no idea what that looks like.

As the article explains, being a true Christian gentleman goes beyond manners and door-holding and chivalry:
And then there are Christian gentlemen. These are men who are concerned to look good on the outside, but are more concerned to be handsome within. Externally, they are dressed well by the women in their life. Internally, they are dressed well by the Holy Spirit. And what are the characteristics of such well-dressed Christian gentlemen? Consider the attributes found in the first chapter of Titus:
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:5-9)
Using Titus 1:5-9, the author goes on to explain that the Christian gentleman strives to maintain a spotless reputation, remains faithful to his wife, exercises self-control, appreciates and understands authority, demonstrates meekness, is slow to anger, is "ambitiously content," hospitable, and is theologically sound. It is a tall order and yet, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, the regenerated man can not only aspire to such things, he can, in an ever-sanctifying way, attain to such things.

After reading this, I let this article kind of ruminate in my brain. I kept coming back to this notion of a Christian gentleman. When I initially linked to the article, I wrote that I was thankful for the Christian gentlemen in my life. I meant it. And then the other day, the impact of that reality hit me harder than expected and I was consumed with gratitude to the Lord.

It was no particular incident that generated this. No one swooped in to rescue me from a precarious situation. No one defended my honor in the face of ridicule or accusation. But as I reflected on the past few years, it struck me anew how the Lord has graciously cared for me by bringing true, godly, Christian gentlemen into my life.

Some of these men are older, some are younger. Some I see regularly, others I've never met in person. I am related to them all by blood—the blood of Christ. These men are my brothers. They are part of my true family. They have advised me, guided me, prayed for me, prayed with me, challenged me, encouraged me, laughed with me, laughed at me (it's okay, I can take it), cared for me, and watched over me. They have been providentially placed by God in my life to fill roles that, from the outside, appear vacant. They truly are God's gift to me. And I do not deserve such gifts.

What is even more endearing to consider is that, very likely, not one of these men has ever thought about his role in my particular life in such a way. These men act godly because they are godly, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit leads to a demeanor characterized by Christian gentleman-likeness. What I am seeing lived out in my life is a fruit of their salvation. What a humbling privilege to be a recipient of such grace.

And so, can you now see why I desired that this post point the reader to God and to Christ? And do you see how it accomplishes that?

I do not need to list the names of these men. I only need to say thank you—thank you to them, thank you to God for placing such gifts in my life, and thank you to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit for saving them and using them in my life.

What a joy it is to know so many spiritually well-dressed men.

Further Reading
Becoming Holy
Why Would We Not Give Him Thanks?
The Birth of a Church

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. As a Christian and pastor, this is what I strive to be. Not for myself. But for the glory of Christ. Also, knowing that I am representing Christ to my entire congregation and am held accountable. It is very difficult and impossible to do on our own strength. Crude humor and anger are both ubiquitous among Christian men. It seems to be an uphill battle. This is encouraging for all Christian men to read.

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