There is an identity crisis in men today. I see the symptoms of it everywhere I look: In the exhaustion of men who run too hard or just run away. In the inner turbulence they bring to their marriages and families. In the binding power of addictions that imprison a man’s soul. And finally in the tragic gender deconstruction of our culture.
These are all issues, but underneath is a more pressing concern that governs all of these. Men don’t really know who they are, and they don’t know how to find out.
What Men Tell Me
What men tell me they believe about their identity is heartbreaking. I have actually heard these words or something similar: I am stupid. I will never be a man. I am all alone. I don’t matter to anyone. I am such a failure. I will never be enough. I am not worthy of being loved. I am hopeless. When a man believes any of these lies and lives out of them, he will create internal chaos in his soul and external turbulence with everyone around him. His agreement with the lie becomes it’s own self-fulfilling prophecy, only making the lie appear more real.
The vast majority of relational and spiritual issues men present to me are almost always rooted in an identity issue. At some point in our work, the Spirit usually surfaces this root cause. It’s now time to expose the lie and call it out as one.
What God Tells Us
The truth of the message of Jesus couldn’t be a greater contrast. What God tells us about our identity as men is the truth that heals and liberates. Listen to the truth:
- You are a beloved son.
- You are the Father’s heir. Everything He has is yours.
- You have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
- You are the light of the world.
- You are the very living quarters for the Holy Spirit.
- You are a new creation in Jesus.
- You are free from all guilt and condemnation.
- You are a treasure to the Father.
- You will never be abandoned or left alone.
- You are holy and blameless in God’s eyes.
This is just a sampling. But to catch even one of these truths and let it sift down into your soul will create a revolution. It will turn everything around.
And There Is More!
But as wonderful as those truths are for clarifying a man’s identity, they are still generic truths. I heard it put this way: All of those truths are like a last name that we all have in common as sons of God. But we want more. How does God see each of us individually? Do each of us have a first name that is unique to us, something that is our special identity before the Father? The answer is yes (see Rev. 2:17)!
Over the past decade, the Father has revealed to me ore of my unique identity before Him. He first showed me that my name before Him was Healer. Then He let me see something about my given name of William. It means strong protector or warrior. I am to be a strong protector of others and go to war for their hearts. I cannot tell you how much this startling revelation has focused and energized me.
How We Solve the Identity Crisis
So how do we solve the identity crisis in men today? How do you begin to find out who you really are? It’s actually pretty simple. It’s what I often tell men during a spiritual direction session. Start asking God this question: “How do You feel about me? Who am I before You?” Then listen for an answer. What will come may surprise you!
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Bill Delvaux is a graduate of Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has been a church planter, a high school Bible teacher, and a running coach. Six years ago, he pioneered Landmark Journey Ministries to help men connect their stories to God’s story through retreats and spiritual direction. His newest book, Heroic: The Surprising Path to Manhood, is helping move men forward in their quest. His greatest claim to fame is being married to Heidi for more than 30 years and having two amazing daughters, Abigail, and Rachel. He and his wife currently reside in Franklin, TN.