Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
Part 4 – 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.
We Americans love the lone cowboy who single-handedly saves the whole town. We admire the lone soldier who swallows his pain and gets the job done. We celebrate the brave man who endures great adversity and never complains. Perhaps this is why we are so afraid to be the guy who knows what is in his own soul.
It is very likely that you are a guy who does things you hate and does not understand why. It’s pretty hard to find one who does. Why would a man who loves his wife dearly spend hours every day looking at porn and hating himself for it? He doesn’t know. Why is a man constantly working himself to exhaustion every day when it is destroying the relationships he loves most? He’s not sure. Why does a guy who wants to have significance self-sabotage? Why do most of us fear finding these things out?
Though it is common to live chaotically, it is a dark curse. If the chaos and discomfort become too great, self-medication through drugs or alcohol starts to look like a good choice. Porn and gambling might seem like good distractions too. Once the self-medicating becomes the biggest problem, all energies will go to solving the addiction, but the underlying problem remains deep in your soul. If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit is trying to show you what is damaged and dying in your soul so it can be healed, but many of us are unwilling to face the disappointing truth of ourselves.
Fear of getting drowned in self-loathing is one reason men feel like they cannot look into their souls. We already know we are pretty bad – if I find out I’m even worse than I thought, I couldn’t survive the shame, therefore ignorance of my soul is often chosen as the lesser of two evils. If this resonates with you, if you feel fear of what is really in your soul – I have a blessing to give you.
You do not have to live like this!
You do not have to watch yourself do stuff you hate but can’t stop. You do not have to fear when things are going well. You can live in peace and confidence that you will choose to do the smart and good thing next time. This is really a possibility. There is hope.
But I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is that the condition of your soul is significantly worse than you imagined. You are also unequipped to deal with this by yourself. To make it worse, you are so deceived and self-deluded that the things you think will help you…are really wrong and self-harming. Your common sense is wrecked and cannot be trusted. This is all really bad.
There is good news too. Sure, there is dark stuff in there, but there is also really good stuff in your soul that you don’t believe is there. You need help to discover who you were meant to be, not just who you are now. There are gifts in there that you don’t even value but are amazing, and these are things you need to make use of – assistance is required to root out the really good stuff too. There is a group of men who are ready to take you in and help you along. You need to find them. Better still, Scripture read properly will guide you toward recognizing how much God loves you and how badly he wants you to be free and start doing stuff that will ripple through eternity. Better even than that, the Holy Spirit is just waiting to be called on by a humble and surrendered man who is ready to change and become more like Christ.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:16b-18)
If you have no experience in self-knowledge and exploring your own soul, there are hundreds, even thousands of years of people who have gone before us on this particular spiritual journey. The path is marked though not paved. There are things to be sought out and things to avoid at all costs. You are not the first, and you must not go on this trip alone. To call for God’s help in examining your soul (Psalm 139:23-24) is the first step in finding freedom from things that have kept you captive, from things that draw you to do stuff you hate but do anyway. This is the very essence of becoming more like Christ, and it is available for those who surrender, are humble, and have the courage to risk and the faith that God will indeed come to our aid. Your soul can be redeemed. It’s what godly men do.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
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!