Over the past several years a new game has emerged in cities across the country. Although they have different names for this "escape” type game, the concept is consistent. A small group of friends are locked in a themed room where they have sixty minutes to solve riddles and unlock clues in the hope of finding the code that allows them to escape before they self destruct. OK, I’m kidding about the self-destruct part. The only consequence for not escaping is the taunting you’ll receive from you friends. It’s an exhilarating way to build trust with coworkers or just have fun with family and friends.
Similarly, in real life, men often play a type of escape game. They are trapped in a themed room of failed relationships, soured business deals, and morality affairs with little time to escape before they self-destruct. To complicate matters, men live in a twilight-zone world of unreality. When reality is confronted, they fail to possess the strength to solve the clues to unlock the code. The harder they try to escape, the more trapped they feel. The more trapped they feel, the more hopeless they become. The more hopeless they become, shame begins to grip their souls with seemingly unbearable pressure with its eagle like talons.
Is there hope? Absolutely!
How? That question always leads to a more important question, “If I tell you how, will you listen and actually do it?"
You must realize you're trapped because you have a certain way of thinking. Albert Einstein says it like this:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
I've been there. You've been there. Men all around us have been and probably are still there. Let's use the concept of the escape game to help us break the code and forever escape the themed room of whatever sin that so easily entangles us.
I’ll never forget the words from a friend as I was going through the darkest time of my life, “the moment you lie to me is the moment I cease to help.” Sounds harsh, but in actuality my friend knew I was good at having the appearance of the truth but lived far from it. Being truthful about your condition is as foundational to your spiritual house as is concrete to a physical one. Without it you really don’t have anything to build on.
The truth about you is the first clue to crack the escape code. Have you ever received unfortunate news from a doctor? You don’t get mad at a doctor for telling you the truth of your condition. In fact knowing the truth of your condition opens the door of opportunity to deal with the root cause of the problem. The same is true of the bible. When we look in scripture, it reveals our true condition, gives us the correct diagnosis, and supplies the remedy for true healing.
If you want to know the truth about you, a good first step is to be brave enough to ask those that love you enough to be honest
Playing the escape game alone diminishes your chances of unraveling all the clues to lower than zilch. The best possible chance of escape comes when you are surrounded with a team of men that share the same goals but have different talents or perspectives. Even better is to have a man on your team that's already escaped the room you're in! He’s wiser and knows the way.
Proverbs 13:20 says: "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm"
Do what ever it takes to get the right men on your team. No excuses. Get it done.
One sure way to stay trapped is to talk more and listen less. Where there are many words, excuses surface and you minimize your situation. When you use excuses, pride barges in and you forfeit full freedom.
What do I mean by minimize? Answer this: Is pornography and everything that comes with it adultery? The man that minimizes makes excuses like; “it doesn’t hurt anyone” or “it’s just an image on a screen” or “I deserve it since my wife and I are hardly intimate.”
Refusal of responsibility by using excuses devalues those around you and ultimately keeps you trapped.A man that maximizes takes full responsibility for his actions and leaves no room for someone else to add to it. It’s making statements like: “I have not only hurt myself but my friends and family” or “I’m without excuse for looking upon a women with lust” or “I’m the worst sinner of all!”
Humility and accepting responsibility validates a second chance.
James 4:6 says: "Therefore it says, 'God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Whatever trap you're currently in, use these simple principles to unlock the code to freedom. Let the scripture reveal your condition, get the right team of men, listen more and stay humble.
Fear not. Fight well.
Nehemiah 4:14 "I will not be afraid of my enemies, but I will remember the Lord, great and awesome, and will fight for my brothers, my sons, my daughters, my wife, and my house"
JT McCraw is the men’s pastor at Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood TN and the founder of the BE MEN Movement, where he provides oversight for this multi-ethnic, multi-site men’s ministry, focusing on engaging and equipping men to serve Christ. Presently they have locations in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Alabama and Arizona. JT lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of twenty-four years and their five children. You can follow JT on Twitter @.