Or at least where to go for answers when you’re stumped

For a lot of years now I’ve wondered if there were guys out there like me that wanted to talk about guy stuff and God stuff at the same time.  Just normal guys that struggle with everyday demands including developing and maintaining their relationship with God.  I think part of my difficulty with looking for and wondering about other guys that were in the same boat as me was a stereotypical persona of a Godly man. The Bible says this about a path we’re called to walk:  “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;” Psalm 37:23

I think sometimes we envision a Godly man as maybe not so macho, not just a regular guy.  I’m happy to say my experience in men’s small groups and larger groups of men assembled to search for their path in this life has dispelled those doubts.  I continue to be pleasantly surprised to find I’m not the only guy out there that has to really work to make time to build his relationship with God.  Maybe it’s a “misery loves company” thing but it makes me feel better when I hear other guys vocalize things I’ve wrestled with for years.  I find myself asking a lot of “how do you handle” and “what do you do about” type of questions of these guys when it comes to our faith, relationships and how we bring God more fully into our lives.  We don’t always have the answers but it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone.  Paul had something to say about how we should act.  In his letter to the men in the church in Corinth he said this, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”  1 Corinthians 16:13.  For a lot of men, I think that next to last one is problematic.

I imagine in Paul’s day how men acted was much more defined than it is today.  The man had certain expectations and a role to fulfill.  To fail or deviate from that role would have meant not being a man.  This would have been a shameful thing.  Today the role lines are blurry if not completely erased.  This has happened out of necessity within households and in regard to equality between the sexes.  Speaking solely from personal experience, however, I can tell you that the definition of what it means to be a man has never been more convoluted.  As men we want to stand firm in our faith, be strong and watchful, we’re just not sure with all the different ways we’re being asked to be what it means to act like a man.  And sometimes at our own peril relationally, we wind up relying on some personal version or vision of what this is.  So where do we land?

I’d say a good place to start is in the bible.  I sometimes refer to this as the User’s Manual or just the manual because it has a lot to say about how to live.  This applies even to being a man.  There’s guidance on everything from being a good husband “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”  Colossians 3:19; to how to act as a father, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4.   While each and every circumstance we’ll encounter isn’t specifically addressed, there is the overarching command from Ecclesiastes, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13.  (Side note: “Fear” here means love)  Obviously there’s more to this subject than can ever be addressed here, but the important part is that we, as men, keep searching for answers and we NOT rely on ourselves.  As strong and decisive as we would like to be we’re not a match for everything we’re going to run into.

It’s at those times we have to refer to the manual.  Good luck.

The world can be a confusing place for men and women.  It’s no wonder we spend a lot of time wondering how we’re supposed to act and looking for answers.  I wish I had them for you but I’m afraid all I can do is refer you to the all-time bestselling book on the subject.  I hope it helps.

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