Identity: #1 of a Ten Week Series About You, The Christian Man
The Lay of the Land
This weekly post—and the next nine—are standalone articles taken from my book The Christian Man. However, they also sync to weekly episodes of “The Christian Man” Online Bible Study series being taught at The Man in the Mirror Men’s Bible Study here in Orlando. Join us for an inspirational journey to help you become, or affirm you as, the man God created you to be.
The Big Picture on Identity
Part of your identity is like the clothes you wear—what you do, what you have, what you look like, who you know, and where you live. These make up your “obituary identity”—the visible things others remember about you when you’re gone.
The other part of your identity is like the body under the clothes: what men say really matters most when they take stock of their lives—your wife, your children, your friends, your faith, your heart, your calling, your character, and how you conduct yourself. These make up your “naked-before-God identity.” This—your true identity—is founded on faith in Jesus, the roles He gives you, and attributes that reflect Christian character and conduct.
A Hug From God
I’ve watched great speakers try to inspire men to go change the world by making appeals to their courage, pride, inner strength, moral obligation, sense of duty, willingness to make a sacrifice, and “this is what you really need to do.” Those appeals, especially when emotionally charged, can get men amped up. For a while. But in most cases, the parted seas return to calm a few days later.
There is one thing, though, that I’ve seen really and truly change men’s hearts. That is to bring men into the real presence of Jesus, even if only for a brief moment, to get a little larger glimpse of the God who is. What changes men’s hearts is when they feel in their emotions what they believe in their minds—that God really loves them without reservation, unconditionally, just as they are.
The calling I received from the Lord to leave business for full-time ministry is, “I want you to take my message of love to a broken generation.” Because of that, I think God wants me to tell you He loves you very much. In fact, I think He wants to give you a hug. Listen carefully to what God has to say to you:
I love you very much. I know your name. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. All the days of your life were ordained before one of them came to pass. I have determined the exact times and places where you should live. Your times are in my hands. I know every thought you have from afar. I know every word you speak before it forms on the tip of your tongue. You are my new creation. You are the full expression of my creative genius. I was at my very best when I made you.
I will never forsake or leave you. No one will be able to snatch you out of my hands. I began a good work in you and will carry it on to completion. When you are a battered reed, I will not break you off. When you are a smoldering wick, I will not put you out. Two sparrows are bought and sold for a penny, yet not one of them falls to the ground without my knowing it—and you are worth more than many sparrows. I am patient, not wanting anyone to perish. My word that goes out from my mouth to you will accomplish all this and achieve what I want.
The words in this “hug” are adapted straight from God’s Word. I’ve purposely left out the references because I just want you to be able to read and absorb the tenderness of God’s love for you. Because it’s true.
What changes men’s hearts is when they feel in their emotions what they believe in their minds—that God really loves them without reservation, unconditionally, just as they are.
Let’s Drive a Stake in the Ground!
The overarching identity of a Christian man is his faith in Jesus Christ. So, let’s kick off this series by driving a stake in the ground. If you’re ready, pray the following as your own declaration of Christian manhood. Because, ultimately, who you are in Christ is who you really are.
My Declaration of Christian Manhood
Heavenly Father, I am tired of weak, unsatisfying faith. I am weary of leading a divided life. I want to be so fully “in Christ” that others want to catch what I have. As a “new creation,” I long to know your love for me as a son, disciple, friend, servant, temple, vessel, and charge of the Holy Spirit. I want to experience and infectiously exhibit all the fruit of your Spirit, with all humility.
So here today, I take my stand. I repent of all my worldly and sinful ways and put my faith in Christ alone. I hereby declare that from this day forward, I will stop seeking the God, or gods, I have wanted and will start seeking the God who is. I pledge to lead a Bible-saturated life of devotion and study of God.
My desire is to renew my mind, to be a man after God’s own heart, to live out of the overflow of a vibrant relationship with Jesus, and to fully follow Jesus Christ with my whole heart each and every day. I will make it my business to live in right relationship with God and in right relationship with all people, and to exercise my gifts to fulfill your calling on my life.
My true identity is “in Christ.” I commit to live openly for the glory of God in all my ways. I openly confess that I can do none of this apart from your grace, Father, through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I pledge my allegiance this day to a life of Christ-centered manhood. If they cut me, I want to bleed Jesus. Amen.
Three Ways You Can Turn “The Christian Man” Into a Personal Ministry
- ONE-ON-ONE WITH ANOTHER MAN: Use The Christian Man Mentoring Experience to mentor a man—or ask him to mentor you—over 12 weeks, and enhance the experience with the videos.
- IN A NEW OR EXISTING SMALL GROUP: Watch the videos and discuss the downloadable questions. Include some new and younger men in your group. You may also study the book together or use both resources together.
- ON YOUR OWN: Watch the videos or read the book and reflect on the questions to grow in your confidence as a Christian man.
Yours for changed lives,