Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Guide for the Journey

Becoming a man doesn't just happen. The world is full of boys trapped in the body of a man. They may look like men, but the way the approach life is very childish. That is why fathers are so vitally important in the life of boys. If we have any hope of becoming the men God created us to be then we need older men, particularly our fathers, to speak into our lives.

Whatever the details might be, when a man speaks of the greatest gift his father gave him—if his father gave him anything at all worth remembering—it is always the passing on of masculinity.

This is essential, for life will test you. Like a ship at sea, you will be tested, and the storms will reveal the weak places in you as a man. They already have. How else do you account for the anger you feel, the fear, the vulnerability to certain temptations? You know what I speak of. And so our basic approach to life comes down to this: we stay in what we can handle, and steer clear of everything else. We engage where we feel we can or we must—as at work—and we hold back where we feel sure to fail, as in the deep waters of relating to our wife or our children, and in our spirituality.

Masculine initiation is a journey, a process, a quest really, a story that unfolds over time. It can be a very beautiful and powerful event to experience a blessing or a ritual, to hear words spoken to us in a ceremony of some sort. Those moments can be turning points in our lives. But they are only moments, and moments, as you well know, pass quickly and are swallowed in the river of time. We need more than a moment, an event. We need a process, a journey, an epic story of many experiences woven together, building upon one another in a progression. We need initiation. And, we need a Guide. (John Eldredge, Fathered by God , 6-8 )

Even if our fathers did a wonderful job at guiding us through life and initiating us into manhood, we still need a guide if we are going to become God's men. That Guide comes is God. Through Jesus we are shown what it means to be a true man, through the Holy Spirit we are constantly guided into all truth as our hearts are constantly transformed, and through prayer we have constant access to our Heavenly Father as we try to navigate life.

We need to thank God for all the positive lessons our earthly fathers have taught us, and we need to continue to ask Him to guide us as we seek to become the men He wants us to be.

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