Discover the Map to the Path Great Men Walk
- Friday, August 27, 2010
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of David Murrow's new book, The Map: The Way of All Great Men, (Thomas Nelson, 2009).
Too often, churches send men conflicting messages about how they should live, leading to confusion over whether God wants them to be tough or tender. But the Gospel of Matthew contains an ancient map that great men from Bible times on have followed. Jesus revealed that map to help men find the path that leads to the life He wants them to live.
Here's how you can walk that path and grow along the way into the kind of man God wants you to become:
Develop and balance the two sides of your nature. Recognize that God created both men and women with traits that our culture views as traditionally masculine and feminine, and it's important for both genders to develop and balance those two sides of their natures, since they reflect God's own qualities. Some traditionally masculine traits include action, aggression, goal orientation, achievement, competitiveness, and power; while some traditionally feminine traits include contemplation, relationships, receptivity, emotion, communication, nurturing, and harmony. As a man, it's vital to develop all of your natural traits to grow to your fullest potential and become a complete disciple of Jesus.
Observe Jesus' life and teachings in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew chapters one through seven, Jesus' life and teachings reflect feminine traits, since He is mostly humble, meek, and submissive. Then in Matthew chapters eight through 25, Jesus displays masculine traits, since He is mostly powerful, bold, and outspoken. Finally, in Matthew chapters 26 through 28, Jesus returns to feminine traits again, since He is mostly meek, passive, and sacrificial. In both word and deed, Jesus shows the spiritual journey He calls all men to take. Chapters one through seven illustrate the journey of submission, chapters eight through 25 portray the journey of strength, and chapters 26 through 28 show the journey of sacrifice.
Take the journey of submission. This journey lays the foundation of a successful walk with Jesus: submission. Men must begin their journey with Jesus by laying down their own strength, power, and intelligence so they can take up weakness, dependence, and reliance on Jesus. Men must embrace Jesus' humility to learn to love God and receive His love. This challenge can prove to be a stumbling block that causes some men to reject Christianity. But keep in mind that when men have given enough of their strength over to God in submission, He begins giving His strength back to them. The first trail marker along this path is powerlessness, since you must decide to stop relying on your own limited power and rely instead on God's unlimited power to help you. The second trail marker is depending on God to provide everything you need. The third trail marker is submitting to the rules that those in authority over you - such as in church and government - set. The fourth trail marker is embracing God's unconditional love for you and acceptance of you. The fifth trail marker is to fight from a position of weakness by refraining from trying to use your own strength to fight battles while inviting God's strength to flow through you to fight them for you. The sixth trail marker is to avoid isolation by gathering a team of fellow Christian men to meet with regularly, and support, encourage, and hold each other accountable as you grow closer to Jesus together. The seventh trail marker is to remember Jesus' message from His Sermon on the Mount, that submitting to God will form a strong base on which to build the rest of your spiritual house - one that will remain standing when the storms of life come.
Take the journey of strength. This journey leads men who have already submitted themselves to God to resume the pursuit of manliness, but at a higher level than before they began the first journey. During the journey of strength, men discern, execute, and complete the mission to which God has called them. Too many men remain stuck in the first journey, sitting in churches as nice guys who never take the risks necessary for God's kingdom to forcefully advance through their lives. In order to move on to the journey of strength, you must realize that Christianity is much more than just a moral code to help you avoid sin, order your world, and keep your family safe. God wants you to move on beyond comfort into wild adventure through the journey of strength. The first trail marker on this journey is miraculous power, because when you ask God to use your life in powerful ways, His power will flow through you to create everyday miracles. The second trail marker is leaving the Mr. Nice Guy persona behind and not hesitating to be demanding and even unpleasant with others with situations warrant forcefulness for a righteous cause. The third trail marker is to embrace biblical teachings that you may not personally agree with - choosing to trust in God's wisdom rather than the culture's opinions of difficult teachings. The fourth trail marker is to discern the mission God has given you in life, and to put aside distractions by constantly examining and adjusting your schedule in light of whether or not your activities are helping you fulfill that mission well. The fifth trail marker is to elevate your relationship with God above your relationship with your family members, giving yourself permission to do things like missing one of your son's soccer games so you can attend your church's men's retreat. The sixth trail marker is to invite conflict as the way to peace, by engaging in tough conversations and boldly telling the truth in them to work through issues and find resolutions.
Take the journey of sacrifice. This journey leads men to complete their love for Jesus by laying down their lives for the next generation to carry His mission forward in the world. During the journey of sacrifice, men who are getting older and closer to death can extend their lives and influence beyond their time on earth by relinquishing their power and entrusting it to others. The first trail marker is looking beyond suffering and pain to focus on what has eternal value. The second trail marker is expecting betrayal from some people and not letting it bother you. The third trail marker is allowing God to act on your behalf, even when you have the ability to take matters into your own hands. The fourth trail marker is to choose to invest your time and energy into discipling younger men rather than simply relaxing when you get older. The fifth trail marker is to move into a deeper love relationship with God through Jesus. The sixth trail marker is to entrust your work to the next generation of men who can carry on with after you're gone. The seventh and final trail marker is to surrender to whatever life brings your way, choosing God's will over your own will.
Adapted from The Map: The Way of All Great Men, copyright 2009 by David Murrow. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
David Murrow is an award-winning television producer and writer based in Alaska, most recently working for Alaska's most notable resident, Sarah Palin. He is also director of Church for Men, an organization that helps congregations reconnect with men and boys. His first book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, was an instant Christian bestseller. His efforts have spawned articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. You may have seen him on PBS, the NBC Nightly News, or the FOX News Channel talking about the gender gap. He and his wife, Gina, have three children and a dachshund named Pepper.
Publication date: August 27, 2010
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