“What disturbs me is that now, years later, while I still believe that nothing else matters compared to knowing God, I often live as though I don’t believe it. I struggle with spiritual passivity. It eats away at me as covertly as termites in the walls of my house. And I know that most men are weakened in the same way.”
~ Bill Perkins, Six Battles Every Man Must Win, p. 6
I am working full time as a paraprofessional at the local middle school and I am working part time in a group home with men who have mental disabilities. While these two jobs are not physically exhausting they are emotionally taxing, especially for an introvert like me. Even though I am not passionate about my jobs I do them because they are ways I can provide for my family. That is a God-given responsibility that men have. We are to do what we can to provide for the needs of our families. Single guys have this responsibility too as they seek to save money and get out of debt so they can provide a good financial foundation for the day when they will have a family.
While it is essential for men to do what we can to provide for the needs of our families that is not our only responsibility. I know that this is hard to hear because the responsibility of providing for our families can be very exhausting, leaving us with little time or energy to do anything else. We have precious little time in the morning before we run out the door and very little energy to do anything but veg out in front of the TV for the evening.
For us to become the men God created us to be we have to reject the passivity that tells us that we have earned our time to rest and relax all evening, or in some cases, all weekend. We have to accept the challenge of the additional responsibilities God has placed on our lives. It is through meeting these responsibilities that we will discover the energy, strength, and wisdom we need to move past simply being a good provider to being the husband and father our families need us to be.
The first responsibility that we have is our relationship with God. Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God wrote; “Anyone who will take the time to enter into an intimate relationship with God can see God do extraordinary things through his or her life.” Our relationship with God is the most important aspect of our lives and when that relationship is right He is going to empower us to accomplish all the other responsibilities that we have.
The key in pursuing our relationship with God is that we must take the time to do it. That requires us to reject the temptation to be passive in the way we use our time. Men who are pursuing a relationship with God are intentional in the use of their time because they know what is important.
What practical steps can we take to be intentional about pursuing our relationship with God?
- We can establish routines that bookend our days. The Art of Manliness has a wonderful article on how to have routines which can mark the start and the end of each day. Men who follow Jesus should have daily routines which include prayer and Bible reading, so it makes sense to incorporate these disciplines into the routines we have each day.
- We can look for ways to help people. I know that after a long day of work the last thing on our minds is helping people, but serving others is one way we grow closer to God. In his analogy of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew 25, Jesus said this about those who served those in need; “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'” (Matthew 25:40, NLT). The way we treat others is the way we treat Jesus.
- We can prioritize our goals. On his blog Michael Hyatt has many good resources to help people set and achieve their goals. This post focuses on what I think is the main need many of us have when it comes to accomplishing our goals: discipline. It takes effort and discipline for our goals to become a reality, and that includes our relationship with God.
For us to become the men God created us to be requires that we reject the passivity of letting time slip away as we watch TV. Instead we need to seize the time God has blessed us with and pursue a relationship with Him. When we do that we trust that He will empower us to accomplish all of life’s responsibilities. The most important thing in our lives is our relationship with God. Now is the time to pursue that relationship.