CHRISTIAN MEN TODAY NEED HELP LIVING AS CALLED MEN INSTEAD OF DRIVEN ONES
A huge challenge that 21st century men face is that the deafening demands of our outer world drown out the call of Christ in our inner world to live for Him. In the words of Gordon MacDonald: “Our public worlds are filled with a seeming infinity of demands upon our time, our loyalties, our money, and our energies. And because these public worlds of ours are so visible, so real, we have to struggle to ignore all their seductions and demands. They scream for our attention and action. The result is that ourprivate world is often cheated, neglected because it does not shout quite so loudly. It can be effectively ignored for large periods of time before it gives way to a sinkhole-like cave-in.” (Ordering Your Private World)
Does the following picture remind you all too much of yourself?
Portrait of One Whose Life-style is DRIVEN
- His life is hectic and very fast-paced, yet doesn’t seem to have a very clear direction
- His life seems out of control. Like a pinball, he “bouncesoff” whatever happens to be in front of him.
- He spends 98% of his time and energy focused on the outer world, giving his inner, private world the leftovers.
- He is haunted by vague doubts about whether he is really following God’s priorities for his life.
- He is extremely busy, sometimes exhausted by the paceof life, yet inwardly not that fulfilled.
- He is carried along by internal drives and outward circumstances without any internal compass to evaluate or give direction to what he does.
- He has little sense of a clear mission for his life. At work he has goals, a strategy, priorities, and a plan. But in his personal life he is reacting his way through life.
- He is not very effective as the spiritual leader of his home. He has no clear definition of what his wife and kids need from him, much less a plan to get there or the discipline to regularly take inventory of how he is doing.
“Why is it that for so many, the answer to personal tension and pressure lies not in going to the bridge of life but rather in attempting to run faster, protest more vigorously, accumulate more, collect more data, and gain more expertise. We are of an age in which it seems instinctive to give attention to every cubic inch of life other than our inner world—the only place from which we can gain the strength to brave, or even beat any turbulence.” (MacDonald).
Portrait of a Man Who Lived Out of His CALLING
This portrait is the life of Jesus. Jesus stayed focused on his mission because he lived out of a sense of calling. We often see Jesus going to the wilderness to retreat to his private, inner world. One of the clearest instances is in Mark 1.32-39.
Jesus’ Hectic Outer World. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”
Jesus Retreats To His Inner World. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!'”
Jesus Changes Direction In His Outer World. “Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.' So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”
We Christian men need help shaping our outer lives according to our inner calling. The more we do so, the more our lives will be characterized by energy, passion, and the satisfaction of knowing we are living to please Christ. No one says this better than Os Guiness: “Answering the call of our Creator is 'the ultimate why' for living, the highest source of purpose in human existence…Calling is the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and directionlived out as a response to His summons and service.” (The Call)
Christian men need to follow Jesus’ example and schedule some time to talk with their Commander In Chief on a regular basis. An ideal, God-given time to do that is to set aside an hour Sunday afternoon or evening to review your mission with your CO and to form your game plan for the upcoming week. Setting aside this weekly time has been the general practice of Gary Yagel for the past 35 years. He misses probably more than he makes—but even so, meeting with the Lord (not just for a daily quiet time but to review and discuss his mission) twice a month has had a huge benefit in keeping him focused on his mission.
One of the tools available on this website to help you do the same is a “game plan” called the FOCUS Notebook. It describes in detail what Christ’s mission for a Christian man is and gives him the tools to accomplish it in his unique life. Christ’s agenda begins with learning to love and delight in God, moves out to the development of Christ-like heart attitudes, then out to our relationships with our wife and kids, then out to our work place, neighborhood, church and community. To find out more about the FOCUS Notebook click here.
To find out how Gary can inspire the men in your church to move away from the driven life-style and live more out of their calling through the retreat and material, Focused and Effective For the Master, click here.
To download the free men's bible study, Living As Called Men, click here.