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Stop telling me how to be better. Tell me to live like I’m new.

“This stuff seems so easy to remember and do.”  That was what a friend of mine said during a men’s time before church a couple Sundays ago.  He, of course, is single (which is not a crime, mind you).  He was referring to what we had just learned from a sermon on DVD about being a godly husband.  I was sitting to his left and a tad behind his periphery.  As he went on, I was shaking my head.

One of our pastors, who leads the time, was smiling. He said, “James is saying, ‘NO WAY.'”  “You have no idea,” I said with a smile.

My friend went on: “Oh, I know. I realize it’s probably really difficult.  I’m just saying.”

Probably? I’m just saying…

Our little men’s group knows that being a godly husband is infinitely more than just dos and don’ts.  I’m reminded of that as I read The Masculine Mandate, by Rick Phillips.  It’s not your average book for Christian men. It’s more than that. It’s not chapter after chapter of stuff for a guy to do in order to be a better man, husband, and father. It’s a book with theology and wisdom about how to become what Christ has created men to be. It’s a book about being a redeemed man, husband, and father.  I’m tired of being told how to be better by some author who thinks he has the secret to a great marriage. Honestly, I just want to be challenged to live like I’m new — because that’s what I am.

I don’t have the book in front of me now, otherwise I’d quote Rick and stop rambling. Hopefully I’ll have time to review it when I’m finished.  But for now, I can say one thing — and I’m sure most Christian husbands would agree: I am continually aware of my inadequacies as a husband.  What’s encouraging is that life and marriage are not sprints. No, they are long marathons. I need a lot of grace to do this right, and what a joy that God gives grace beyond measure.

Before I sign off, I want to say something to my wife (I hope she reads this…I might have to tell her):

Carly, I want to say, in front of all five people who read this blog, that other than Jesus, nothing delights me more in this world than you. I apologize for not always showing that with my words, my actions, and my desires. Thank you for your grace, your forgiveness, and your patience as I become the man God has already made me to be. It’s a marathon, darling, and there’s no one else in this world I’d rather run it with than you.  I love you.

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