4 Qualities of a Man that God can Use
Learning how to be a Godly man is caught more than it is taught. Boys watch their fathers. Teenagers observe men they admire. Young men see how other guys get ahead and succeed at work. I will not list all the boy scout qualities of a man, but the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 is an excellent example of a man God used for a great purpose.
1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. (Acts 10:1-2)
1st Qualities of a Man – Devout
Cornelius was a success. As a centurion, he was in charge of at least 100 other Roman soldiers (i.e., century means 100). As part of the Italian regiment, Cornelius was in an elite part of the Roman army, much like the Marines.
To be a leader of men, you have to be trustworthy or devout. As a centurion, you need to be a man of your word and take responsibility. Devout is an old-fashioned word that is defined as being totally committed to a cause or belief. The original Greek word for devout,eulabḗs, actually means “taking hold of something good.” Men realize there is nothing better than accepting God’s love and plan for your life. Take hold of it, and don’t let go!
2nd Qualities of a Man – Respectful
Cornelius was a God-fearing man and respected the power of Almighty God. I think reverence is another word that is appropriate to describe Cornelius’ attitude towards God. As a centurion, Cornelius understood being under the authority of a general and obeying commands. Men, you and God cannot be in “command” at the same time. Billy Graham used to say that only one can be on the seat of Lordship in your life. Cornelius was a strong leader but knew that he first respected and revered God’s leading first.
3rd Qualities of a Man – Generous
Cornelius was a family man. In verse two, we read that Cornelius gave generously to those who were in need. You may think this verse is about giving to the poor, but it has another level of meaning to me. As a father of two, I learned early on that my days of being selfish were gone. I had a bigger purpose, which was to be generous with my time and affection with my family.
There is nothing more valuable than time. We cannot buy more of it. We are running out of it every day. A Godly man knows his family needs him to be generous. My oldest brother Bruce told me that when he was starting up his own business, he spent 60-70 hours a week working. Finally, Bruce’s wife pulled his aside and said, “We want the best of you, not the tired leftover version.” Generosity starts at home and goes deep into the character of a Godly man.
4th Qualities – Prays Regularly
3 One day at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon, who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” Acts 10:3-6
Cornelius was praying at 3 pm one afternoon, as was his custom when an angel of the Lord appeared to him. Cornelius has prayed every day for years, and this is the first time an angel appeared. A godly man prays every day because it helps him whether or not an angel shows up. Because he has all the qualities of a man God can use, Cornelius is given an assignment – send his men to invite Peter, who is in Joppa, to come to Cornelius’ home in Caesarea.
In Joppa, Peter, the leader of the disciples, is having a spiritual crisis. Peter is hesitant about accepting non-Jewish people, with all their food choices and customs, into the church. After a vision from God showing all creatures, Peter meets the men sent by Cornelius and accepts the invitation. Peter arrives in Caesarea and immediately shares the story of Jesus with Cornelius and his family. They all rejoice in hearing the good news, believe in Jesus, and are baptized.
Cornelius’s story still inspires men today to know that their character, qualities as men, and faith can be used by God to bless others and especially those they love most.
- To take hold of something good and be devoted to God, what are a few things that need to change in your life?
- What are the ways you show respect to God in your daily life? Write down a few words that you regularly use that are disrespectful to God and others.
Write down three people who need you to be generous with your time and attention this next week?
- Praying is about consistently seeking God. What two times of the day are best for you to regularly pray? Challenge yourself to talk and listen equally during your time of prayer.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com