In Living Like a King, Richard Rohlin will be examining the kings of Israel and Judah during the Divided Kingdom period. He’ll look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, and from them we’ll learn together what kind of men we ought – or ought not – to be.
We’ve already spent several posts looking at the damaging consequences of masculinity out of control. What I’d like to do in today’s post is focus on the other side – the opposite. If masculinity out of control is all about self-exaltation and self-importance, then as men we need to be focused on developing the opposite traits. The Biblical example is carefully spelled out for us in Psalm 15, where David gives us a list of the characteristics of the Worshipful Man. Specifically, is the kind of man who is able to stand before God in service and worship.
I think it’s important to note that a godly man is not necessarily a man who possesses great self-control. While that is certainly a by-product of maturity (since it is one of the fruits of the spirit), there are many self-controlled, self-possessed men who do not lead godly, god-honoring lives. At the root of every human dysfunction – at the heart of all of our problems as a species – is the sin, the crime, of selfishness and self-worship.
So by definition, the opposite – the model toward which we must work – is that of cultivating a worshipful spirit. It is an attitude that is concerned with pleasing and focusing on Jesus Christ. Psalm 15 spells it out for us:
A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; …in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. – (Psa 15:1-5)
The worshipful man:
- Lives blamelessly – He lives in such a way that he, like Jesus, can only be accused falsely. No one will believe a bad report about him at church or at work. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have enemies – good men always will. But what it does mean is that his life and testimony will survive the scrutiny of the world.
- Speaks the truth to himself and others – Because the worshipful man is not self-focused, it is easy for him to be honest about his shortcomings and failures. Most men lie to others because they first lie to themselves about who they are or what they deserve. The worshipful man doesn’t need to protect his ego, and thus doesn’t need to lie.
- Speaks grace – This doesn’t mean that he only ever says “nice” things, since nice words can very often be graceless. But it does mean that his words are used to build up the body, not tear it down. And it means that they do not “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:39).
- Does not take up a reproach – He doesn’t meddle. He doesn’t get involved in problems where he is neither the cause nor the solution. Proverbs 26:17 says that only a fool takes up a reproach, since it’s very much like grabbing a Rottweiler by the ears.
- Does not “lift up his soul” to what is false – To “lift up your soul” means to go to something as your source of joy (Psalm 86:4). This lies at the very heart of worship, since the thing from which you derive your greatest joy will be the thing to which you devote your greatest worship. The worshipful man takes joy in Christ and boasts in it alone.
- Keeps his promises – The worshipful man keeps his word, even when it is painful or hard to do so.
- Emulates godly men instead of fools – You can always tell a man’s character by those he emulates. If he strives and desires to be like godly men and emulates their characteristics, then that is the kind of man he will become. If his dreams and ambitions are self-serving or worldly, then that is also a pretty good indication of what it really is he worships.
- Is not greedy – Since the Worshipful Man is worshiping Christ, he isn’t consumed by a desire for material gain.
- Has integrity – You can’t buy him. You can’t bully him. You can’t make him break his word. But what you can do is trust him – trust him to be the same man when you’re not looking. The worshipful man is ultimately trustworthy because his character is consistent regardless of his setting.