THE MEASURE OF A MAN


Title: The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of a Godly Man (Updated/Revised Edition).

Author: Dr. Gene A. Getz

Page Number: 252

Publishers:  Regal Books, from Gospel Light Ventura, California, USA.

Revised Copyright Date: 2004.

Type of Book: Trade Paperback.

General Subject Matter: Victorious Christian Living

ISBN: 0-8307-5495-3

Book Format & Organisation: The book is the standard 51/2 x 8 size. Its binding is perfect with a resultant superb stem, glossy lamination feel and look, and 100g paper, divided into twenty (20) chapters. It has a praise page, table of content, foreword written by famous author, John Maxwell, and endnotes.

Cover Design: The cover design is by David Griffing. It is a painting of a lush olive tree growing precariously on a steep rocky hill where it is exposed to the elements.

Special Features: There is a “Points of Action” or evaluation questionnaire at the end of every chapter of the book. The reader is encouraged to evaluate himself and sometimes by others in a group activity. There is also a “Set a Goal” subheading immediately after the Point of Action subheading where the reader is encouraged to write out goal(s) emanating from the study of the chapter in issue. There is also an endnote after the last chapter where the author list out the sources of his information in some of the chapters of the book.

Price: Not stated in the book.

Purpose:  The purpose of the book is to outline the attributes of a godly man and to teach men how to live according to God’s direction; faithfully, lovingly, and spiritually.

Chapter Review:  The Introduction of the book begins with inspiring testimonies of people who were blessed by the use of the book.

The first chapter of the book is titled, “Becoming a Faithful Man.” Herein, the attributes of a godly man are briefly outlined. The author begins with his dialogue with two men were recently became Christians and knew very little about the Bible. From their attestations as top managers in a steel mill, the qualities outlined by Paul to Timothy in Ephesus are proven to be pragmatic in the contemporary world (2 Timothy 3: 1-7).

Chapter 2, titled “Building a Good Reputation,” focuses on the need for a godly man to have a good reputation. What are people closest to you saying about you? How well do you know yourself? The author cites an instance where his eight-year-old daughter tearfully points out his shortcomings to him. The author stresses that men with a good reputation, like Timothy, are very necessary for the growth and organisation of the church. A word of caution – the author posits that it is sometimes difficult to judge a man’s spiritual maturity from the outside, whether he be a “still water” or “bubbly brook.”

Chapter 3, titled, “Maintaining Moral Purity.” In this chapter, the author begins by exploring the social dynamics of different cultures that encourage profane lifestyles and unbridled sexuality. He points out that Paul, the apostle, had to share the good news of Christ to a pagan Rome that was steeped in immorality. The author is confident that God’s truth penetrates culture. The author asserts that there’s a big difference between lust and temptation and goes on to give practical steps to moral purity.

Chapter 4 is titled “Living a Balanced Life.” In this chapter, the author expounds on why a godly man should exhibit emotional and spiritual maturity. According to the author, a godly man should realise that the world is not his real home and therefore, he should never live in fear and insecurity. A balanced man is a temperate man who is also a man of faith, hope and love.

Chapter 5 is a chapter that is themed on prudence. Simply titled, “Demonstrating Wisdom,” this chapter list the attributes of prudence and how to recognise it. It is the middle life of acknowledging God’s grace in our lives and staying humble. The author distinguishes between meekness and weakness, using Apostle Paul as an example. The author asserts that one way of learning prudence is to have a role model and he further recounts the humbling experience of how his undergraduate son told him that he (the author) was his role model. The author concludes that be prudent and temperate does not imply perfection, devoid of mistakes.

Chapter 6 is titled “Making God’s Truth Attractive.” This chapter focuses on living our lives in a way that the world around us will be attracted to our faith. It is interesting how the author uses a story involving himself to illustrate how hard work and neatness were necessary for winning the friendship of his neighbourhood. The author asserts that a respectable man is a man who lives in such a way so that his whole life (business, social and church life) adorns the teaching of the Bible.

Chapter 7 is titled “Sharing Our Resources.” It commences with the touching story of murdered missionaries in Ecuador and how the sister of one of the murdered missionaries reached out to the very tribe that killed her brother. It is a chapter that focuses on practising hospitality without complaint, as a hallmark of Christian maturity.

Chapter 8 is titled “Communicating Sensitively.” In this chapter, the author commences with a story to buttress the point he seeks to make. According to the author, a man who can teach is a person who is not in bondage to himself.

Chapter 9 is titled “Being Moderate in All Things.” This is a controversial chapter of this book as the author attests to, by the case of the mother of an alcoholic man who read the first edition of the book and eventually tore it up because she believed it contained false teachings. The author asserts that in Paul’s reference to wine in his letter to Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3: 3; Titus 1: 7), Paul was stating that a mature man of God could partake in wine but should not be “addicted to wine.” The central theme herein is avoiding overindulgences of all kinds (overdrinking, overeating, smoking, etc.) to maintain our witness for Christ effectively.

Chapter 10 is titled “Overcoming Self-Centeredness.” As with many chapters of the book, the author begins this chapter with a personal story of how he had to live a self-centred roommate during his college days and the confrontation that ensued as he tried to cope with the latter’s selfish ways. The author affirms that a Christian man who is self-centred, self-pleasing and self-oriented does not have a good reputation. The author delves into the psychology of self-centredness and its consequences in marriage and the parent-child relationship.

Chapter 11 is titled, “Handling Anger Appropriately.” In this chapter, the author states that anger is normal and to deny anger can lead to serious psychological, spiritual and even physical problems. He illustrates this point by a reference to his father who suppressed anger and as a result, had a “passive-aggressive” behaviour whenever he was angry. The author goes ahead to list instances of when anger will become sinful, and how to avoid sinful anger.

Chapter 12 is titled “Avoiding Destructive Behaviours.” The author commences this chapter with a story of a murder and how the crime was eventually linked to the husband of the deceased who deeply involved in church leadership as an elder. The author posits that when sin entered the world, humanity inherited an incredible capacity for violence. The author points out that a matured man of God should never be violent. The author goes on to list instances of violence in the Bible like Cain and Abel, Moses and David. Furthermore, he mentions the violence perpetrated by Nazi Germany against millions of Jews. The author points out that man, in his fallen state, has the potential of replicating the deeds of notorious leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam Hussein and Adolf Eichmann. The writer goes on to explore the root causes of violence in the society.

Chapter 13 is titled, “Treating Others Fairly.” In this chapter, the author introduces Mr. Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and a Christian, as an epitome of a man who treats others fairly, drawing from instances of his interpersonal relationship with the athletes he coached in his team. The author also refers to Apostle Paul as an example. The author stresses that Christians should understand mercy as he points out the rewards of being gentle and meek.

“Being a Peacemaker,” is the title of Chapter 14. Herein, the author commences with the introduction of one contentious and argumentative Eddie who was poorly evaluated by brethren in church after his nomination for the post of an elder. Eddie had to prayerfully ask for God’s help to be gentle and peaceful to his family and the church. The author analyses the contentiousness continuum and referring to instances in the Bible like the Paul and Barnabas argument, and Paul’s confrontation with Peter, as clear indicators of humanity rather than the rightness or wrongness of the stance taken by the characters in issue. It is the author’s assertion that it is not wrong to disagree or to challenge incorrect thinking or inappropriate behaviour. The author reviews the flawed nature of humanity and the need for unity in the Body of Christ as Jesus prayed for in John 17: 20-23. The author in this chapter goes on to enumerate the root causes of contention and points out the need to confess it as a sin and seek God’s forgiveness.

Chapter 15 is titled, “Learning Generosity.”  Herein, the author confesses that he imbued the virtue of generosity in a secular workshop and from his wife. He opines that giving should be the very nature of Christians as it is also an opportunity to witness for Christ.  The author asserts that apart from Himself as a subject, God says more about how Christians are supposed to utilise their material possessions. The author also referred to statistics that indicates that most American Christians do have God on their budgets. The author is quick to point out that God is a source of wealth and that material possession does not necessarily bring joy.

Chapter 16 is titled, “Fathering God’s Way.” In this chapter, the author points out the nexus between the image of an earthly father and its influence on the perception of God as our father. The author mentions that the goal of every Christian man should be to have a well-ordered household, referring to 1 Timothy 3: 4 and Titus 1: 6. The author is quick to clarify some serious misunderstanding that could emanate from the afore-cited scriptures.

Chapter 17 is titled, “Loving God Wholeheartedly.” In this chapter, the author employs the natural sciences to illustrate his point. He states that just as the law of aerodynamics can overcoming the law of gravity by lifting a plane of 500 tonnes above the earth, so can a new birth in Christ which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, overcome the law of sin and death. The author states that loving what is good is a mark of Christian maturity, as against loving self, money and pleasure(2 Timothy 3: 1-4).  The author asserts that it is impossible to function as mature men without self-respect and a good self-image. The author resorts to the Bible find the key to balance.

Chapter 18 is titled, “Being Just and Upright.” In this chapter, the author shares an experience he had when he counselled a prodigal former minister of God who was in a state of abyss. From this narration, the author emphasises the need for a matured Christian to be just, upright and caring for his brethren in need. The author defines a just man as the man who is righteous and upright in all of his relationships. The author explores the concept of justices and fairness and explains why every Christian man should be a just.

Chapter 19, the penultimate chapter of the book, is titled “Living a Holy Life.” The author begins this chapter with a tale from Guatemala, where people crawled on their hands and knees to achieve holiness. The author argues, based on the Bible that holiness can never be obtained by engaging in religious rituals. It is interesting and noteworthy that the author points out that perfectionism in this life will only be achieved at the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 51-53). The author states that to believe otherwise would result in perennial guilt or self-deception. The author explores religious practices like asceticism, self-denial and legalism in man’s quest to achieve holiness, and their shortcomings.  Finally, the author explores the concept of holiness from the Biblical perspective and the role of the Holy Spirit in helping the Christian achieve this.

The final chapter of this titled, “Becoming a Disciplined Man.” In this closing chapter, the author resorts to the athletic metaphor employed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25. He also brings in his experience with training with his daughter who was about to compete in a marathon. The author emphasises that discipline should transcend the tripartite man. The author suggests ways of maintaining physical, psychological and spiritual health while fixing our eyes on Jesus. The author identifies Satan as the real competitor of Christians, the seriousness of the Christian race and the need to hold onto the finishing line of the marathon to receive our reward.

Evaluation: When I bought this book from a Christian bookshop near my office, I immediately decided to find out more about the author since he was relatively unknown to me and his profile at the back of the book was quite modest and brief.  On typing the title of the book into a search engine on the internet, the results that first came were, “The Measure of a Man” by Sidney Poitier.  I began to think that I had purchased a second-rate book that had perhaps, feigned the title of its original and superior namesake. However, after reading through this book, it is simply the truth to assess the author’s work as outstanding.  It almost reminds me of the first time I read “The Purpose Driven Life,” by Rick Warren.

Secondly, the attributes analysed in this book is not just for men. It’s worth the read for godly women who want to understand better the men that God has placed in their lives. More so, the virtues outlined are unisexual, and the women would do well learning from this classic.

The Measure of a Man is one book that should not be missing from your catalogue!

 

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