Have you ever been duped by fake fruit? The kind that’s perfectly situated in a big bowl on the kitchen table just asking for you to grab and take a big bite. It doesn’t take long after you pick it up to realize that plastic fruit isn’t really the kind you want to eat. Or what about those fast food commercials where the burgers are sizzling and steaming and the cheese melts beautifully? Have you ever seen the methods they use to make the food in commercials look so good? It’s called food styling, and I’ll just let you google it if you dare to be ruined forever on how you see that seemingly delicious food. Let’s just say I don’t really want a burger doused in food coloring. The point is, these are all imposters of the real foods we enjoy. We would never in a million years eat the fake foods.
So how do we as girls know how to truly find a man after God’s own heart in a world full of imposters? I believe the answer lies within the question. What is in that man’s heart will show in his character. In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to his disciple and close ministry partner, Timothy, and a young church in Ephesus that was in its early stages of ministry. After hearing about false teaching in the region, he gives practical advice about what true ministry for the church looks like. I believe this passage parallels perfectly what a true man of God should look like and the characteristics that should be non-negotiables for any girl.
Man of Mission
God’s command is to pray for all men. That word “all” is of paramount importance, and you see it a lot in this passage. Paul makes it clear that the gospel is available for all people. He even emphasizes prayer for kings and authority figures, which in our day can relate to our government leaders. That’s a pretty tall order considering who our options are. But that’s what our mission is.
A true man of God will have a heart for the things of God, no matter how difficult the task. A good question to ask is are you looking for a man who is “self-focused” or “others-focused?” I have two great examples of this in my dad and my grandad. I’ll get to my dad later on because he is in a league of his own, but in reference to being “others-focused,” I can’t think of a better example than my grandad. He is retired, but he probably spends more time serving others now than ever before. He always jokes that “you should never retire because you’ll work harder than when you had an actual job!” I actually think that it’s just a sign of his true character that he can’t stop working for others because it’s in his heart to serve like Jesus commands him to. It’s a natural overflow of his heart, as should it be for any man who is a true believer.
Man of Worship
Verses 1, 8
A man with a heart devoted to God is automatically led to worship Jesus first and foremost. I see some key words in this passage that reveal the importance of worship. Those are “thanksgiving” and “lifted hands.” An attitude of thanksgiving results from realizing who the One is who gives us good gifts. Lifted hands symbolizes an act of surrender to the One who is in control. If a man practices these things, he won’t be remotely interested in worshipping himself or the things of the world.
Worship puts all of our worldly desires into a heavenly perspective and helps us avoid the temptation to act on those desires. That is a rare quality in our world today but is of high importance for believers. Let me be frank for a moment. You cannot honor God in a relationship that does not honor and worship God. I’ve heard the excuse from girls a gazillion times that “he’s a really good guy!” He may look like that on the outside, but show me his heart and the things he worships and that will be the judge. A worshipper of God should be at the top of your list for qualities to look for in a man’s character.
Man of Prayer
The final point and main theme of this passage is that true believers are called to a life of prayer. This word is littered through this passage. Also take a look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says to “Pray without ceasing.” This may be perhaps one of the simplest, most straightforward commands on prayer. It is as important as the air we breathe. A man who prays consistently realizes the utmost importance of a relationship with God. He will seek guidance and help from God and won’t try to live life on his own. He also realizes the importance of the Holy Spirit. John 8:47a says, “He who is of God hears the words of God.” He wants God’s guidance before the world’s, and like I mentioned before, this is key in today’s world. Prayer also leads back to the first point of being mission-minded. John Piper says, “If we want the best for people, if we really love them, of first importance will be prayers on their behalf. The first thing you do for a person, if you love them, is to ask God to work for them.” Prayer leads to mission-mindedness and worship. It all comes full circle. A man’s heart will reveal all of this.
Now I realize many of you are still in middle or high school, and bless your hearts. Been there and done that, and it ain’t easy. Even though you’re probably not getting married anytime soon, it is so important to start to build now on what characteristics you’re looking for in a future mate. I’ll end with telling you about my dad, the best example of a godly man that I’ve been fortunate enough to witness. For as long as I can remember, I have automatically known what a heart of a man whole loves God looks like. He also taught me self-worth and loved me unconditionally from the first day he held me in his arms. And I can tell you that it all flows from his heart full of the love of God. I say all that to take a chance to brag on him but also to let you know that finding a man like that is not a lost cause! Some of you who maybe haven’t had a great father figure to show you, I’m here to tell you that godly men are out there. Don’t settle! Have high expectations and standards that give you no excuse to settle for anything less than a man after God’s own heart. I urge you to look for a man who prays, worships, and is mission- minded. That is true manhood.
Thank You for Your word today and the desire to dig deeper in it. I pray that we would first tune our hearts to seek after You, and in return look for others who do the same. I pray for the hearts of men around us. That their first desire would be to serve and follow you above all else. God, give us Your eyes to see the real men of God in a world full of imposters. May You be glorified through a generation of godly men and women with hearts dedicated to You.
Pray for Kings and All in High Positions by John Piper
Wild at Heart by John Eldridge