Christian Men Spiritual Growth and Christian Living

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The 4 Ways We Become Whole Men

The 4 Ways We Become Whole Men

We live in a broken world… full of broken promises, broken dreams, broken lives. Nothing seems “altogether” anymore. In the midst of such shatteredness, however, God invites us to experience wholeness. Wholeness in our own life, and wholeness in our relationships.

As a result, growth as whole persons is anything but optional. Though Jesus was the perfect Son of God, as a young man He experienced apparent personal growth. This process, while still the God-Man, enabled Jesus Christ to relate to others so effectively (Hebrews 4:14-16).

We see this most concisely in the Bible’s description of Jesus as a teenager: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

It is vital that we do the same.


We need proper exercise volitionally. How? Choices. Choices. Choices. We exercise our will hundreds of times a day. Some psychologists say that our generation faces the problem of “choice overload.” We are faced with too many choices. Not only must we decide preferences between options, but we also must make moral judgments between options, especially in so-called gray areas.

We need proper rest emotionally. How? A refreshing night’s sleep. Time with friends. Reading a good book. Listening to uplifting music. Quality quiet time with the Lord. Slow down (if we’ve been pushing too hard). Do more (if we’ve been too lax). Instead of riding a roller coaster every which direction, seek to balance life’s demands. Make specific plans for your next vacation, even if it’s simply a quick getaway.

We need proper nourishment intellectually. How? Actually, Scripture has a lot to say! Awaken your mind (Romans 12:1-2). Balance your mind (1 John 4:1-6). Have a discerning mind (Hebrews 5:14). Have an enlightened mind (1 Corinthians 2:12). Protect your mind (Philippians 4:8). Occupy your mind (Ephesians 4:13).

PHYSICALLY (“and stature”)

We need proper exercise physically. How? Walk. Jog. Run. Golf. Play ball. Ride your bike or stationary bike. Work out with weights. Exercise regularly…and enjoy feeling better.

We need proper rest physically. How? Don’t push yourself too hard all the time. Get enough sleep. Take a nap if you need one (even professional athletes do this when necessary). Be consistent in your sleeping patterns; inconsistency makes you even more tired (think “jet lag”).

We need proper nourishment physically. How? Eat well. “Man does not live by bread alone.” Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and proteins. Junk food is okay—but only once in a while, not as a steady diet. Mostly, make healthy choices. Don’t forget…you are what you eat!

SPIRITUALLY (“with God”)

We need proper exercise spiritually. How? Get down on your knees and really pray to the Lord. Deliberately depend on God to meet your needs. Come alongside a friend who’s struggling in his or her faith. Invest in the lives of others in the name of Jesus Christ. Share the love of God with someone who isn’t a Christian yet.

We need proper rest spiritually. How? If a particular spiritual discipline feels “dry” take a short break from it. In its place select two or three “rest” verses to memorize and claim as your own. Favorites include“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7a), “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him” (Psalm 62:1), and “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

We need proper nourishment spiritually. How? Read God’s Word wholeheartedly, asking the Lord to speak to you. Read spiritual classics, too. Invite a wise and gracious older believer to mentor you. Fellowship regularly with a small group of believers who truly love God and love each other. Attend services at a vibrant local church every weekend.

SOCIALLY (“and man”)

We need proper exercise socially. How? Meet new people. Make new friends. Share a meal with someone different. Cultivate existing relationships. Encourage close friends. Offer practical assistance. Be a listening ear. Keep in touch with family. Reach out to someone who is lonely. Do random acts of kindness. Plan a trip with several good friends. Pray for others by name.

We need proper rest socially. How? Learn to take breaks. Set aside time just for you. Jettison any compulsive need to be with others all the time. Learn to appreciate time to be by yourself. Write in your journal. Listen to a favorite mix of music. Learn how to enjoy meditating on God’s Word. Take extended time to worship and pray privately. Enjoy the great outdoors for an hour.

We need proper nourishment socially. How? Don’t see all your friends the same. Discern who your good friends are. Identity your closest friends. Cultivate deep friendships. Invite trusted friends to speak into our lives with truth and grace. In turn, actively encourage your best friend to become the man God wants him to be.

david sanfordDavid Sanford serves on the leadership team at Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Among his many publishing credits, David is executive editor of Holy Bible: Mosaic, general editor of Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family, managing editor of the IVP Resonate series, co-author of How to Read Your Bible, and author of If God Disappears: 9 Faith Wreckers and What to Do About Them.

**This Article First Published 4/4/2013