One of the college students at my church recently asked me an excellent question.

I want to start preparing myself to be the kind of guy that can lead a godly household.  I know that I can begin praying prayers to the extent, but is there anything else I can do? My biggest fear regarding marriage is being a husband that does not love and serve his family the way that I should. Is their anything I can do to start preparing, even now as a college freshman?

It is pretty insightful and encouraging that this young man realizes that the road to becoming a godly husband and father begins well before our wedding day. Here is a summary of my response to him. I hope that you find it thought-provoking, challenging and sanctifying, particularly if you are a man.

Preparation begins by fighting for sexual purity. The battle begins with holding fast to the promises of God’s Word. In Proverbs 6 we see, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished” (6:23-29). In this passage we see what God’s Word points us to (life) and the dangers of flirting with sexual temptation. There are many ways that we “go in to [our] neighbor’s wife” in our culture, particularly though our use and intake of media. We can’t ignore Jesus’ words: “Whoever looks lustfully at a woman has committed adultery in his heart.”

So you wage war by saturating your heart with promises from God’s Word so that you can appropriately do battle with sexual temptation when it comes knocking at your door – and you and I both know that it will come knocking!

You also need to establish three perimeters of defense. A. With your eyes; B. With your mind; C. With your heart.

With your eyes you need to bounce off objects of lust (Job 31:1). With your mind you need to take captive alien and hostile thoughts to purity (2Cor 10:5). With your heart you need to strengthen your affections, first for holiness, and then for your future spouse (Matt 5:8; Prov 5:18-20).

At the same time that you are fighting for sexual purity in body, heart and mind, you need to do what is necessary to equip yourself to become the kind of godly man who can lead his household well. This will require self-control and discipline in areas of life other than your sexuality.

Some practical suggestions:

  • Pursue excellence at school and work
  • Discipline your body through exercise
  • Discipline your mind through reading
  • Limit the amount of time you feel entitled to leisure. One day, Lord willing, it will be required of you that you give yourself away for the sake of your wife and family. You won’t have time to play Xbox for 4 hours a day, or watch TV 4 hours a day, or spend 3 hours of Facebook daily, etc. You won’t have the luxury of just hanging out with the boys everyday. Begin exercising self-control in the way that you use your time. If you can’t get a handle on this now, you will struggle mightily when you get married.
  • Don’t be a sluggard. Don’t be lazy. Stop procrastinating.
  • Begin cultivating intimate godly relationships with other men and give them the freedom to speak to the blind spots in your life
  • Master a daily routine with Jesus. Life won’t become less hectic when you get married.
  • Exercise domain over your room, car, etc. Disorder in the small areas of life will naturally spill over into the larger, and more significant, areas of life.
  • Save money. Don’t spend everything you earn on yourself.
  • Be a good steward of your resources.
  • Be generous with your time, love and resources.