God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.Ephesians 2:10 GW
In a recent poll of friends and acquaintances, I asked the question. “When you hear the term manhood, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? I tallied the responses in the hope of identifying characteristics of manhood that are written in hearts, not what has been taught us in school or portrayed by the media. (Man Alive: What is Manhood? )
All of us are on a growth path: progress, not perfection. The Lord did something in our hearts in the new birth, but the rest of our life is a process of living out what we have become. Change is not just necessary, it is the goal of our everyday life. I am very grateful that He is not done with me yet. Trying to change life-long attitudes and behaviors can be quite a daunting task. Will power is not a reliable tool over the long haul. Without an internal adjustment we will eventually fall back. We need a more fundamental modification of thinking, feeling, wanting, and doing. Don’t quit before you start. I know you have tried and failed. Me, too! But I have also tried and succeeded. We can do this!
As we look at some of the characteristics of manhood identified in our poll, here are a few tips for making a change:
- Admit you need it. You can’t change something you won’t admit. 1 John 1:8-9
- Find scriptures that tell you what God thinks about it. Review these passages daily. Say them out loud. Psalm 19:7-11
- Go to the Lord and ask Him to help you make this change. Psalm 121:1-2
- Commit to a process of learning to listen and obey. God will guide you if you take a moment to listen. There is a place in your heart that knows what to do when you need to do it. Romans 8:14-16
- Address the root, not just the behavior. Trade in your ideas and values and prejudices for the thoughts of God. He is God. He’s always right. Get your mind in line with His. Romans 12:1-8
- Make a very specific plan for change and begin walking in that direction. What are you going to do and when are you going to do it? Write it down! Habakkuk 2:1-4
- Find someone you can trust and talk with them. Share the problem, share the plan, ask for input. Pray together and stay in contact to report your progress. James 5:16
- If you screw up, get up. One step in the right direction is one more than you made before. Process the lesson, and take another step. Romans 8:31-37
OK, let’s do this!