If you are a single woman, chances are you’ve felt discouraged or frustrated by the state of modern masculinity. In this encouraging episode, Leslie offers hope-filled, biblical answers to two common questions that Christian single women ask: “Do godly men really exist anymore?” and “How do I know if a man is truly Christ-focused and marriage-ready?” Using candid real-life examples and practical insights, Leslie shares helpful principles for guarding your heart, protecting your feminine mystery, and testing a man’s true character.
Leslie Ludy: Hi everyone, it’s Leslie Ludy, host of the Set Apart Girl Podcast: Biblical Encouragement for Women of All Ages. Today in our relationship series we’re going to be talking about how to test a man’s true character. So for you single women out there, this is a great episode for you to listen to as far as determining if a man is truly worthy of your heart.
So two questions that single women are asking a lot today are, first, do godly men really exist? Because it’s very easy to look around this world and become discouraged and disheartened and think, We can have these great fairy tale ideals of these Christ-focused, honorable men, but what if I don’t see any in my own life? Should I actually still hold onto that hope that there are men like that out there? A lot of women are settling for less than God’s best for their lives because simply they don’t believe that godly men really exist — that honorable, Christ-focused men are out there. They think, Well, I’d rather avoid being alone for the rest of my life, and be with someone who is less than ideal because of my loneliness. But I want to answer that question, do godly men really exist?
The second question that single women are asking a lot is the question: how do I know if a guy is truly godly? Say you do meet a man, and you think that he might be marriage material, how do you really know if he is the real deal? In this episode we’re going to go into those two questions in detail.
Question No. 1: Do Godly Men Really Exist?
Leslie Ludy: So the first question: do godly men really exist? Yes, they do! And I will say that Eric and I have travelled around the world in the past 20 years, and we’ve been very surprised and encouraged to find so many amazing, godly, Christ-centered men that God is raising up in this generation.
The reason that a lot of times single women do not see them often in daily life is because they aren’t found in the typical places that guys go to hang out and look for girls. Usually they’re not going to be in singles’ groups and on the prowl for women. They’re not going to be out on a Friday night looking for a good time. Where godly men can be found is oftentimes behind the scenes. Usually they’re in the prayer closet. They’re witnessing to the unsaved. Maybe they’re on the mission field. They’re serving at home. They’re being faithful in the small things that God has given them to do. They are building the Kingdom of God. So if you’re not seeing godly men don’t be discouraged because they do exist, but they’re not usually front and center trying to get a woman’s attention.
One thing that you’ll discover is that as you build your life around Christ and around God’s priorities, more and more you will begin to see godly, Christ-focused men. As you begin to spend your time on the very same things — in prayer, and evangelism, serving on the mission field, and building the Kingdom of God— you will naturally be drawn toward other godly Christians, including young single men, who are on that same path.
I remember when I was a young woman in my mid-teens, my mid-to-late teens, I had been in a public school, and I had really not seen any truly, godly men. I had seen guys who called themselves Christians and went to youth group and professed Christianity, but it really wasn’t until my life was completely centered around Christ’s priorities that I began to meet men of true godly character — men who didn’t just say that they valued God and had a relationship with Christ, but men who’s lives were truly different, and didn’t reflect the value systems of this world. As I began to center my life around Christ, I developed some really precious friendships with some brothers in Christ who were on that same path and it was so encouraging for me to realize that godly men did exist, and it was as I built my life around God’s priorities for my life that I began to find them.
Question No. 2: How Do You Test a Man’s Character?
Leslie Ludy: So testing a man’s true character. How do you know if a guy is truly godly, rather than just saying he’s a believer? There are a lot of deceptive men out there today who can masquerade as strong Christians, but if you really get down to the brass tacks of who they are in the inner life, they are not truly centered around Jesus Christ.
Now of course we’re not waiting for perfection. We’re not looking for a man who is perfectly reflective of Jesus Christ in every single area of his life every moment of every day because we probably will not find that this side of heaven. But what’s important is the aim, the focus, and the direction of his life. Is Jesus Christ truly his greatest desire, his All in all, his focus for his life? Here are some ways that you can observe a man and test his true character to find out whether he really is building his life around God’s priorities.
1. Observe His Interactions With Others
Leslie Ludy: First of all, how does he treat his family members? Oftentimes we overlook this as a step for determining who a man really is, but if you can look at the way he treats his mother, his siblings, his sister … does he treat them with honor, with respect, with sensitivity? Or does he make fun of them and disregard them? How does he treat people who can’t elevate his popularity status? And how does he act when people can’t see him — when he doesn’t even realize that other people are watching him? Guys can very easily put on a good show, and even get up on stage with their guitar and lead worship, but what about when it’s time to clear tables, or stack chairs, or wash dishes, or things that are not as appreciated and applauded? Is he willing to do those things? Spend time observing how a man treats his family members, how he treats the people who really can’t help him gain anything in this life. How does he act in the mundane tasks — the tasks that aren’t going to bring him a lot of human glory and applause? Is he truly more consumed with Christ than anything else?
I’ll never forget one time, before Eric and I were married, we were on a missions trip, and we were leading this vacation Bible school with a large group of other Christians. I remember around lunch time I was with some of the women. We were making about 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for these inner city children, and Eric and some of the other young men were entertaining the kids and playing games with them.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a little boy trip and fall, and start crying. Then I watched Eric go over to him and encourage him, tend to his needs, minister to him, and show sensitivity to him. In that situation he had no idea I was watching him. He had no idea anyone was watching him, but it gave me a little glimpse into the gentleness, and tenderness, and outward-focusedness that God was cultivating in his life.
2. Test the Level of His Commitment to Christ
Leslie Ludy: I saw in Eric, as I observed his life, that he was more interested in talking about Jesus than about anything else. Anytime I was in a conversation with him the subject would always come back to that. Now, it didn’t mean that he wouldn’t talk about other things, but he was more excited about Jesus, and the things of God, and his relationship with Christ than anything else in his life. And that excitement was actually contagious! It inspired me to grow deeper in my relationship with God, and that is really a key testing point as well.
If you are wondering whether a man is truly built around Jesus Christ, when you are spending time with him are you inspired and motivated to grow in your own relationship with Christ? Or do you feel that being around him is distracting you from your relationship with Christ? That’s a really, really great way to test his true character, and to test the value of his relationship with Christ in his life.
Eric was more interested in pursuing Christ than in pursuing a girl. When I was building a friendship with him he wasn’t pursuing other girls. He wasn’t dating. He was completely trusting God to say, “Lord, You will show me if I’m supposed to get married. You’ll show me who the girl is, and I’m not going to go out there on the hunt for a girl.” That gave him so much more time to grow in his relationship with Christ and spend his time on God’s priorities because he wasn’t spending all of his spare time in the singles’ scene and trying to get hooked up with somebody. It was really inspiring to watch him as our friendship unfolded, because he truly was so secure and confident in his relationship with Christ that he didn’t have to flirt or try to gain girls’ attention. He was honorable towards his family. Earlier in his life he had actually been very dishonorable towards his family members, but God had done a work in his heart, and he was learning how to speak with sensitivity and honor towards his mom and his sister — to build them up and to encourage them. He was Christ-like behind the scenes. Even in those moments when it didn’t seem like anyone was watching him, he was very consistent and very Christ-like.
3. Rest in God’s Perfect Timing
Leslie Ludy: So those are some of the ways you can observe a man to find out if he truly is godly. Now if you’re unsure, don’t be in a hurry. A lot of times when you are single and you see a guy with these glimmers of godliness, you feel this panic like, If I don’t figure out if this is the right guy for me in the next week, he’ll be taken by someone else! And I think a lot of times that is because we don’t see a lot of godly guys. But like I said, God is raising up more and more Christ-built, honorable men all the time, and if His plan and purpose for you is marriage, He will bring the right man to you in the right time. You don’t need to be in a rush. You don’t need to be in a panic mode when you see a guy that might be marriage material. Take time to let God reveal to you his true character. Take time to really observe him and understand who he is, not who he wants you to see, or who he is on social media, or who he is when everyone’s watching — but who he really is at the core of his being.
Now remember, it is better to be single for the rest of your life then to settle for less than God’s best for you in this area. I have known many married women who regret their decision because they were in a hurry. They were impatient, and they married a non-Christian (or someone who was not truly honorable and built around the priorities of Heaven), and they have struggled their entire marriage with not being likeminded with their spouse because they were in such a rush, and they did settle for less than a Christ-focused man.
Singleness has been looked at as something bad, something to avoid at all costs, and yet God has a tremendous purpose for singleness whether it’s for a short season or for the rest of your life. So it’s not something to be avoided like the plague. It’s something that God can work tremendously through the single years of your life. Don’t be afraid of singleness. When you make Jesus Christ your All in all, singleness is definitely not something to dread or something to fear. It can be an amazing season of your life.
4. Monitor Digital and Real Life Interaction
Leslie Ludy: The other thing to be aware of when you’re testing a man’s true character is the difference between digital life versus real life interaction. With everything going on in our culture with online dating, and dating apps, and social media – it’s so easy to try to base a man’s character on what you see of him online. What does he post on Facebook? What does he write on his blog? What’s on his online dating profile? (Which I really hope you’re not looking at online dating profiles, but a lot of girls do!) It’s easy to think, Oh! This guy looks so amazing! He looks so great! But keep in mind that when a guy is posting something about himself online he’s doing it knowing that everyone is going to see it — knowing that everyone will be evaluating how he looks, what he sounds like, and what he’s saying.
I think I’ve told this story in previous episodes of a young woman that I knew who used her personal blog like a diary. She wrote down on her blog everything that she was looking for in a husband, and then came along a young man who was interested in her, and he wasn’t marriage material — at all. But he used his social media and his blog to brag about all of these qualities, and they just happened to be the same qualities that she wanted in a husband. He was like, “This is the type of man I am!” And he listed all these qualities, and that was a disastrous situation because she was evaluating him based on a digital reality instead of real life interaction.
It’s not bad to have some digital interaction, with the opposite sex in some way as long as it’s done honorably, but that should not be your primary way of determining a man’s character and looking at who he really is. You need to observe him in real life, or you won’t really know who he is. Men can come across as the perfect gentlemen on blogs and social media, but we have to see how they live, not just the words that they say.
An Inspiring True Story
Leslie Ludy: Now there’s a great example of this in a true story that happened during World War II. I have told this in previous articles, and in different courses, and events, but if you haven’t heard this before, it’s the story of John Blanchard and Harliss Maynell. So I’m just going to read you the story, and it’s such an amazing picture of a young woman who was willing to wait for an honorable man and willing to put him to the test. So here’s the story:
Lieutenant John Blanchard stood in Grand Central Station. He was oblivious to the crowd that was scurrying all around him. With a racing heart he fixed his eyes on the big clock towering overhead. It was almost time! At six o’clock he would meet the girl that he thought he loved, but had never met. As the minutes ticked by he kept wondering what color her eyes would be, and what her voice would sound like when he heard her speak for the very first time. John’s mind drifted back over all that had happened in the past few years, ever since his pilot training days in Florida at the beginning of World War II. He had visited a library on his day off, and he picked up a book and started thumbing through the pages. His eye had immediately been drawn to the beautiful and insightful notes that someone had written in the margins of the book. He found himself wishing he could meet this mysterious person who seemed so kind and wise.
He flipped to the front of the book and saw a name — Harliss Maynell, New York City. On a whim he decided to try to find her. He tracked down a New York City phonebook and looked up her address. His heart skipped a beat when he saw her name and address listed in the phone book. He wrote her a short letter telling her how he found her name, and expressing how much he appreciated the ideas and insights that she expressed in the margins of the book.
The day after he wrote the letter he was shipped overseas to fight in the war. To his amazement she replied to his letter! Her letter was forwarded to him overseas. It was just like the note she had written in the pages of the book — it was gentle, kind, full of grace and wisdom. So they began corresponding. All throughout his time as an Air Force pilot during the war, Harliss’s letters brought him joy and comfort in the middle of darkness and fear. Every time he flew over Germany and heard the bombs all around him he never knew if he would make it out alive. He confessed his fears to Harliss, and she encouraged him with Scripture and told him to look to God for strength.
As they continued to write, John began to realize he was falling in love with this amazing woman named Harliss. He wrote, “Please send me a picture of you.” But she replied, “No, I won’t. Relationships are not built on what people look like.” Still he was intrigued by her and longed to meet her in person. He was elated when he found out that he could finally return to the United States on leave. He wrote to her and asked if he could meet her in New York and take her to dinner. She had arranged to meet him on the day of his arrival at Grand Central Station at 6 o’clock underneath the big clock. “You’ll know who I am because I’ll be wearing a red rose.” She told him in her letter.
At last the day had come! John fidgeted nervously as the clock struck six, his eyes glancing this way and that. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of a beautiful young woman in a pale green suit walking towards him, a smile on her face. Her blond hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears, and she had sparkling blue eyes. She was one of the loveliest women John had ever seen! Excitedly he started towards her entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a red rose. As he looked at her, she tilted her head teasingly, “Going my way, soldier?” she said. John took a step closer to her, and just then he saw another woman standing directly behind the girl in the green suit with a bright red rose pinned to her coat.
It was Harliss Maynell, the woman John had been waiting to meet for the past two years. His heart sank. She was a plump woman well past forty. She had greying hair tucked under a worn hat. Her thick ankles were thrust into low shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. John had to make a choice. Should he follow after the beauty who had just spoken to him? Or stay and face Harliss Maynell? He made his decision, and he did not hesitate. Choking back disappointment, he turned to the woman and smiled. This would not be love, but maybe it would be something even better — a precious friendship for which John would always be eternally grateful.
“You must be Miss Maynell?” He said kindly extending his hand to her. “I’m so glad you could meet me. Will you join me for dinner?” The old woman’s face broadened into a smile.
“I don’t know what this is all about, son.” She replied. “But did you see that young woman in the green suit who just went by? I met her on the train. She asked me to wear this rose in my coat. She said that if you should ask me to dinner to tell you she’s waiting for you in that big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of a test.”
Wow! What an incredible story! Now what did Harliss Maynell have that most women today don’t? She was willing to put him to the test. Most women today, if they were being pursued by a handsome Air Force pilot, would be very aggressive at sending him selfies, texting him all day long, and trying to keep him interested. She was willing to actually lose the relationship to find out if this man was truly honorable or if he was just motivated by selfishness.
Another name for what Harliss Maynell exemplified in that situation is what I like to call feminine mystery, and it’s also called strength and dignity in Proverbs 31. In Proverbs 31:25, it says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future” (NASB). But the femininity of today’s world exudes the opposite of strength or dignity. Today’s femininity is weak, desperate for approval and attention, and undignified — self-promoting and in your face. Why is that so? Well, the answer is found in the next line of the verse. A woman of strength and dignity smiles at the future. When we are not satisfied in Christ we can’t smile at the future. Therefore, we can’t have the strength and the dignity that the Proverbs 31 woman has. Instead we throw our feminine mystery to the wind in an attempt to get the one thing that we think will secure our future and make us really happy.
In 1 Timothy 5:11-12, Paul is talking about young widows who cast off their first love because they desire to get married. He says, “…for when they feel sensual desires and disregard of Christ, they want to get married…” (NASB) “…thus incurring condemnation, because they have cast off their first faith”. And if you take a deeper look at what that means, to “cast off their first faith” means to disregard their convictions about putting Christ above all, and to believe that something besides Christ can bring them ultimate happiness. That is what single young women do so often today, doing whatever it takes to find their Prince Charming, posting selfies, doing online dating, flirting with guys — basically doing the opposite of what Harliss Maynell did with John Blanchard.
If you want to know the outcome of manipulative femininity just read the biblical story of Isaac and Ishmael. It gives us a glimpse of what happens when we become impatient and try to manipulate our circumstances. I love the famous quote that says, “God always gives his very best to those who leave the choice to Him.” And that is certainly true in the area of relationships!
Leslie Ludy: So, some final thoughts I want to share. The number one reason that women settle for less than God’s best for them in a man is because they are insecure and impatient, not finding their ultimate fulfillment in Christ alone. Waiting for God’s timing doesn’t mean hibernating away in a cave and never talking with the opposite sex, but it means trusting in His perfect timing and yielding to Him daily — letting Him bring the right man into your life in His own time and in His own way without manipulation and without impatience. And it means trusting that God can bring this kind of man into your life and not settling for less than one who’s character has been tested and proven. Remember that God cares more about this area of your life than even you do, and the Bible says that if we put our hope in Him we will not be put to shame.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode! For more on this topic please check out the Secrets to an Amazing Love Story online course. I pray you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!