The Journey to Authentic Manhood
There are two great truths that undergird everything in the Bible:
- God is always present.
- God is always working.
But these two great truths are also our two worst problems as men. So many of our struggles with worry, anxiety, and fear directly result from feeling that God is not present and that we are on our own to figure life out. So much of our commitment to control circumstances, to redeem ourselves, and to keep busy stems from our assumption that God is not working and that we are on our own to make life work. The deep truths of the Bible somehow run aground on the felt realities of our daily lives.
In every man, this felt lack of connection to God shows up in our disordered attachments to everything else. We look to these attachments to provide comfort and strength, the very things God promises to give us as a Father. The possible attachments seem to be as many as the colors of the spectrum. Some men get attached to pornography or alcohol. Some to the next flirt or the next affair. Others get attached to power and status or to reputation and success. Some just get attached to the next big sporting event. We don’t feel God is present or working and attach to something else in the vacuum.
Like every man, I have had my own share of disordered attachments. But one that recently surfaced with great clarity was money. I can trace some of it to my parents for whom money was a source of contention and anxiety. I can trace some of it to working in careers that don’t offer substantial remuneration. But my own emotional attachment cannot just be explained by circumstance. Money has always had this strange power over me, promising comfort and strength if I just got enough of it. I seemed to look to money as a father rather than to God. Then I became aware of how much I checked my bank balance, how much I schemed about money, and how much I counted it as it came in. I realized that it was not only disordered but deceptive, making me anxious and weak, not comforted or strong. But what broke me was meditating on the Last Supper during Lent. Judas sold off Jesus for money, and in one sickening moment, I identified with Judas. The greed that drove him was driving me as well.
The journey to detach from our false gods is a fearsome struggle, yet something happens as we make even small, hesitant steps in that direction. God shows up. We start to feel He is present and working. Our small movements to let go yield big responses from Him. He comes and offers Himself to us and then asks us to attach to Him. Then comes the real surprise: we start to feel real comfort and strength. We start to feel like authentic men, like true sons of the Father through Christ.
For me, the journey to detach from money has involved many faltering steps, but in the process the underlying greed I felt chained to for years is slowly dissipating. I don’t need money to be my father. But more importantly, along with the dissipating greed has come a sharper sense of God’s presence and work in the ordinary affairs of my daily life. My job has become to rest in that and then work out of that.
Finally, my journey here is the journey of every man who chooses to become an authentic man through Christ. In the struggle to let go, the two deep truths of the Bible’s story become the truths of his story as well.
This is our redemption as men.
Let it be your journey today.
Bill Delvaux is a graduate of Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has served as a pastor, and a high school Bible teacher. Presently, he leads Landmark Journey Ministries as a speaker, small group coach, and author of Divided: When the Head and Heart Don’t Agree and Landmarks: Turning Points on Your Journey Toward God. Bill also serves as content editor for Stand Firm, LifeWay's devotional magazine for men. He and his wife have two grown daughters and reside in Franklin, TN. Follow Bill on Twitter @BillDelvaux.