This is the first post in a series of posts based on a sermon series I did well over a decade ago, but the truths are just as important today as they were then. We are going to be looking at what God says about men: what it looks like to be a godly husband, a godly father, and just a godly man in general. We are also going to look at what it takes to get to there from where you currently are.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, let’s think about target shooting. The target itself doesn’t change. The bullet will only go where I aim it. In order to hit a bullseye, I have to make the necessary adjustments from where I am now so that the bullet goes where I want it to downrange. Similarly, the target of what a man is supposed to look like (Jesus) does not change. If I want my life to look similar to Jesus, then I have to start making the necessary adjustments now so that down the road, I look similar to Him.
We say we want our lives to look like Jesus, but in reality we are aiming at a completely different target defined by different standards of what it means to be a good man, husband, father, and friend. I can say that I want to look like Jesus all day long, but if I continue to aim somewhere else, I can’t act surprised when, down the road my life, my marriage, my children, don’t look anything like what I wanted them to.
So how do we hit the target? How can we ensure that our lives look like what we want them to a year or even a decade down the road? Well, it’s going to take some preparation. Too often as men, we get this backwards. Our approach to life is “FIRE! Aim. Ready.” We act too quickly, pulling the trigger too early. We have no idea where we are going and we are not prepared to do what we need to do when we say we really want that type of life.
So, let’s turn that around. First, let’s get ready. What do you need to do? What do you need to change and adjust? Are you prepared to do whatever needs to be done? Second, we aim. Where do I want my life, and the lives of the important people in my life, to be downrange? Finally, when you know what you are aiming at and how to actually hit bullseye, we pull the trigger and take the actions we need to get there.
Step one is to get ready. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
The author of Hebrews is using a different metaphor here, but the truth is still applicable. We have to get honest about the stuff that hinders us and keeps tripping us up. And I'm not talking about once or twice–everybody makes a mistake and falls down every once in a while. We're human. I'm talking about those things that trip us up over and over. We have to decide we don't want those things to continue to trip us up, or continue drawing our aim off of bullseye. Awareness of these obstacles, and a real desire to not allow them to get in our way, is how we get ready.
Step two, “Aim”, is described in verse 2: “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Once we have made up our minds that we want something different, something better, and we’re not going to let bad definitions or past mistakes get in our way anymore, we have to put Jesus in our crosshairs, keeping our focus on Him.
Most of our problems and failures in the most important parts of our lives come down to one of two things. First, we don’t know who we are, why we’re here, or what we were meant to be. Second, we don’t know who God is, what He’s like, and what He can do in our lives if we allow Him to. We are going to be taking a look at those things and what the Bible says about being husbands, fathers, and men in general.
Finally, we are going to fire. We are going to look at very practical ways to get to where we want to be as men. This isn’t going to be a series of posts about theoretical or hypothetical versions of men. We are going to take actual steps to get there. We are going to start with Jesus, and work back to where we are now so that we can have a clear path forward to get to where we want to be.
For me, the big things in life never just seemed to figure themselves out on their own. I have many examples of times in my life where I know for a fact my marriage would not have survived, or I wouldn’t have survived, if there hadn’t been certain men in my life helping me, guiding me, and pushing me.
Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The truth is we, as men, need other MEN in our lives to challenge us, encourage us, and grow together. But that’s often easier said than done. It’s hard to find real friends like that. It can be awkward and uncomfortable. But we can all admit that it would be really nice to have men in our lives like that.
So, let’s figure that out together. Joining The Herd or Herd Strong would be a good place to start. But as we go through this series together, and learn what it means to be a man like Jesus, and how to achieve actually becoming that man, we’ll also take a look around us to see how we can link arms with other men going after the same thing.
When target shooting, the target never changes. It’s the adjustments we make at the point of the shot that determine whether we hit it or not. Similarly, the target of what makes a good man (Jesus) never changes. So, we have to make adjustments in our lives now so down the road, we are men that look like Jesus.
As men, we often approach life backwards, in a “FIRE! Aim. Ready.” type of way. We need to reverse this approach in order to hit the right target.
We need to get ready by preparing and deciding on the type of man we want to be.
We need to aim by fixing our eyes on Jesus.
We need to take real action in our lives to become that type of man.
We need to do this alongside other men going after the same thing.