Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
Part 6 – The Challenge, Pursuit of a Godly Man
Leading up to Father’s Day, we want to have an honest conversation about what it means to be a man in today’s world. Even more than that, we want to talk about what it means to be a godly man. Rather than feeling like a fraud this Father’s Day, let’s challenge ourselves to stop hiding in the shadows and jump with both feet into the pursuit of something different, something special, something that will change our families for generations.
There are a few dangerous things a man should never do. Fly fish during a lightning storm, urinate over a cliff (a not uncommon cause of death at the Grand Canyon), touch an electrical wire to see if it’s hot, and, worst of all, no man should ever live without knowing his purpose in life.
It’s possible you have not thought much about your purpose, but it’s very important. Many men today suffer from a vague sense that they are living vaguely. Not sure what they are here for, they are easy prey to very low and self-harming things. I have a theory: There is a nearly gravitational pull for a man without a purpose to make pleasure and comfort his goal in life.
In the original Matrix movie, there is a scene where “Cypher” is negotiating with Agent Smith, (an avatar for the computer that runs everything on earth) and a deal is struck where Cypher will turn over Neo, the only hope for humanity. Cypher insists on three things. He wants to be rich, important, and have no memory of the betrayal. There it is. He is tired of living scared, fighting a seemingly unbeatable enemy, and he misses eating really good beef. This kind of bargain has been made since the dawn of humanity. What could keep a man solid, unflinching, dependable, and resolute in the midst of temptation and chaos? Purpose.
Part of finding your purpose is not difficult at all. You do not need to climb a Tibetan mountain to find it, and you do not need to join a secret club who owns secrets that will guide you into the future. If you are a Disciple of Christ, your purpose is clear. Purpose #1 is to love God with everything we have, and Purpose #2 is to love others as ourselves. There is no higher purpose. This is the universal call to all Christians, but wait – there’s more… The next part of your purpose is for you to discover how you, personally, were created with your strengths and weaknesses then to discern how you are supposed to uniquely work on the first level of purpose.
The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
We all need to love God and others—you are to do it in the very unique way that only you can. This will require assistance from others, introspection, and biblical understanding and prayer for the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. It’s not a simple task, but it is the process whereby you become free to use your strengths well, subdue your weaknesses, and begin your grand quest to affect the lives of others eternally with God’s strength. To be the man God intended you to be and to perform the works HE planned for you before the foundations of the world in your unique way is your purpose. Let’s call that guy your “True Self”. It is not easy to become that guy, because you do not start at zero. The base line is not neutral; the base line for purpose is that we all have lived with our “False Self” since we could walk. The False Self is chiefly concerned with self-image, power, and possessions. The False Self is scared and suspicious, envious and ready to fight. The delusion is that if we get enough money or power or _________ we will find peace and satisfaction. These things cannot satisfy. They are a mirage that makes you keep trudging forward into the desert to die of thirst.
To live merely for pleasure and comfort is akin to feasting on “Turkish Delight” offered by the witch in Narnia. Turkish Delight is wonderful to taste, but eating it creates an unnatural desire to eat more. It was designed to never satisfy. The False Self can never find peace and satisfaction. To live this way is to be profoundly lost and without a purpose. The double curse of living only in your False Self is that you will not realize there is another, blessed and satisfying way to live. Perhaps through crisis, possibly from a moving sermon or retreat, you might just have gotten a glimpse of abundant life with God. It may only have been a glimpse, but it’s true.
You are loved and you can live in intimacy with God and others. To live free and without fear of rejection, peacefully and hand in hand with God is a huge part of the purpose God has for you. To begin this process, we need to begin to surrender the appetites that do not satisfy and to call out to God that He will move in and fill us as we grow and surrender more fully. This is life of a believer. Not a super Christian or a select few—this is the nature of becoming more like Christ.
I cannot begin to walk through the next steps and the traps to avoid what’s ahead in a blog post. My hope here is to send out a call to men who have had a glimpse—or want to see a glimpse—of life abiding with Christ. If you are ready, I have men who are ready to help. You cannot do this, this finding your purpose thing, on your own. You will need godly men—and pancakes. I think pancakes help in most situations. I know where you can find both. Contact me, and we can get this all started.
Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through high school graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.
Dave and his wife of 30 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school and recently became grandparents for the first time. They are completely in love with this new member of their family. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures, and he would love to connect with you!