Like millions of Americans, I enjoyed watching all the athletes compete in the Olympic games recently. Because there are four girls in my house, two of which are in gymnastic classes, the U.S. Gymnastics girls were front and center. One thing is certain; it made me realize how much I miss football! I can’t ever remember looking forward to preseason like I have this year.

As I watched a few games this past weekend and on the heels of a great Olympic games, it struck me how athletes who achieve some form of success have to sacrifice to accomplish their goals. A few weeks ago I was with a friend who played on the 1991 Super Bowl Champion Washington Redskins. I asked him what he had to give up to achieve the title of champion, lift the Lombardi trophy, and carry the coach off the field. Without hesitation he rattled off things like time with friends, getting to eat whatever he wanted, late night partying, early morning sleep-ins, not working out, holidays, birthdays, and the list goes on and on.

Why would any athlete give up so much? It's possible that someone saw their potential, spoke encouragement over that potential and awakened the greatness within. Then over time, greatness was molded with patience, perseverance, and their unique ability to give up the things that hinder its growth.

If greatness were guaranteed, what would you give up to achieve it?

Our basic guarantee is that we were crafted and built in the image of a great God; therefore the potential for greatness is obtainable for all. The very doubt you have right now indicates your belief system needs to be restored. You embody the potential to be a great man, son, friend, husband, father, and grandfather. However, passive potential lying dormant in a man doesn't change anyone. It waits for the voice of hope to call it forth.

We come to a pivotal moment in history. If we refuse to give up we will lose the fight for authentic manhood. What should we give up? For starters:

Essential Sacrifices for Authentic Manhood

  • It's time to give up our wants for the needs of others.
  • It's time to give up the recliner for a pair of walking shoes.
  • It's time to give up demanding rules from our kids while neglecting a relationship with them.
  • It's time to give up anger, addictions, and being alone.
  • It's time to give up the pursuit of happiness for the pursuit of holiness.
  • It’s time to give up self-indulgence for self-restraint.
  • It’s time to give up withholding forgiveness for others

We must stand firm in the faith, be gracious with grace, love strong and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

It's time we value our relationship with God and others above our pursuits of health, wealth and material possessions.

It’s time to stop doing life alone and surround ourselves with men who care enough to tell us the truth and we actually listen!

It's time get up and kick passivity in the face and start moving toward our purpose. It's time to be men. You were built for such a journey!

Fear Not | Fight Well

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 @jtmccraw.