5 CRITICAL THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN MAN NEEDS TO BE A REAL MAN
If you ask any man, or any of his male friends, regardless of their faith, “What do you want more than anything else in life?” His answer won’t be “to be a nice guy, to be rich, or even to be handsome.” However, his answer will eventually point to “success.” In other words, he wants to win. Yes, some men might say they just want to be “happy,” but do you know any man who wants to be a happy failure? Every man wants to succeed, because every man believes the definition of a real man is associated with success.
Because secretly, every man wants to be a champion…at something. Whether it be in athletics, marriage, parenting, business, at church, or his community, he wants to succeed at whatever he considers worthy of his blood, sweat, and tears. It doesn’t matter if he’s in law enforcement or a bus driver; on a golf course or in a boardroom, an emotional man or a sophisticated man, every man wants to win!
That’s why such a large number of us (men) are so obsessed with sports;; because we have an insatiable appetite to win at almost everything we do. And if we can’t succeed at something, we’ll at least want to be associated with someone who is successful at it.
Take football for instance. In today’s world, a grown man, who’s long past his “glory days” on the gridiron, will buy and wear the jersey of his favorite team, with another man’s name on it, just to satisfy his desire to win. And when the team wins, even though he never made it onto the field, he uses personal phrases like “We won,” “We’re going to the Super Bowl this year,” or “We’re building a dynasty.” And he didn’t throw one pass, make one catch, or score one touchdown.
Even if his team traditionally loses more often than they win (sorry Cleveland Browns fans), he’ll still wear the jersey of the “best player” on the team, because he desperately wants to be associated with that player’s greatness. Think about it, who wants to wear the jersey of the punter or long snapper other than his Mom, wife, and children?
So why do we have such a desire to win, to be successful, and to be associated with greatness? Because most men never get to experience the thrill of standing in the “Winner’s Circle”; hoisting the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy; or being celebrated as the best at what he does.
In fact, he thinks associating with another person’s success is as close as he’ll ever get to experiencing it in his own life. And Christian men aren’t any different. In a Barna Study (2012) of over two thousand Christian men, it revealed the following:
• 8 out of 10 (83%) Christian men are dissatisfied with their jobs
• 6 out of 10 (62%) are struggling financially (i.e., in debt)
• 9 out of 10 of their children walked away from the church after high school
• 5 out of 10 (52%) have experienced or are getting a divorce, and
• 7 out of 10 (78%) admitted to struggling with pornography
Does this sound like success to you? For most men, lifting the “Vince Lombardi Trophy of Life” seems more like a dream than a reality. So instead, many men choose to associate with and live vicariously through the victories and successes of other men.
This fact inspired famous philosopher Henry David Thoreau to write, “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.” But I think Thoreau would revise that statement today for Christian men by saying, “Most men are living lives of quiet spiritual frustration.”
But instead of trying to associate ourselves with champions, maybe it’s time we should be asking ourselves, “What does it really take for a Christian man to become a Champion?” Because the truth is, God created you to BE a champion; He built you to win, and purposed you to reign, rule and have dominion (Genesis 1:28), but not at the expense of a family. He expects you to BE a champion in your home, on your job, and in your community; not just to be a fan sitting in the stands or a cheerleader standing on the sidelines applauding men who already are champions.
Even if you never make it to the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, the Masters, Wimbledon, or the Stanley Cup Finals, you can still be a champion: a successful husband, father, leader, business owner, manager, employee, or even a volunteer. Because before God ever formed you in your mother’s womb, He set you apart for a purpose.
However, there are some non-negotiable, time-tested things you need to have in place in order to succeed as a Christian man. Specifically speaking, there are 5 Important Things You Need to Succeed and Win as a Champion.
In fact, I challenge you to find any successful, spiritually mature, Christian man who doesn’t have at least 4 of these 5 things present in his life. So, let’s take a look at each:
1. You need a SAVIOR who will heal you and restore you.
Every Christian man wants to be the man God called and created him to be and live a life that’s pleasing to God. Ultimately, he doesn’t want to waste his life on pursuing things that don’t matter, “disappoint” God, or be considered a failure or seen as a “hypocrite” when it comes to his faith. Have you ever felt that way?
Your relationship with God is the most important relationship you’ll ever have (Matthew 22:36). Because your relationship with God will ultimately influence and determine the quality of your relationship with others, including your wife/girlfriend, children, friends, neighbors, colleagues, employees, etc.
No Christian man, even if he’s a wonderful man, can win a real “championship” outside of an authentic, growing relationship with God. Jesus said without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5,6). But if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you’re guaranteed the victory before you even step foot on life’s playing field.
The problem is this: most Christian men were never taught how to cultivate a personal relationship with Christ.This process doesn’t just happen by accident or by checking off another item on your “How to be a good Christian” or “How to avoid being a bad boy” checklist.
Building a personal, intimate relationship with Christ takes time and must be done with intentionality. A man must be patiently taught and discipled to reach full maturity in Christ. Jesus himself spent three years training his disciples on how to pray, love, serve, lead, and sacrifice; these are the true measures of a real champion.
Personally, I’ve had the privilege of training hundreds of men, from ages 12 – 83, on how to love God by developing a personal, intimate, committed relationship with Christ. And that was only possible because spiritually-mature men patiently and deliberately mentored, taught, and trained me.
2. You need a TEAM who will walk with you and go to war for you.
Every man, whether he admits it or not, wants to have real, authentic friendships with other men (i.e., brothers) who he can trust and depend on when he’s struggling. No true man wants to be alone and not have anyone to rely on and confide in when he’s going through hard times. Loneliness is one of man’s most common types of fear.
In sports, we know you’re only as strong as your team. Regardless of how strong you are, another man will always be stronger than you if he has more “spotters” (support) helping him lift. Because one of YOU will never be stronger than all of US; so that means your success as a champion is directly related to the quality and strength of your team.
Think about it. How often have you found yourself trying to lift the “weight” and “burdens” of life, marriage, family, and work all on your own, leaving you feeling tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged, and living far below your God-given potential? That’s not the life of a champion; that’s the life of an emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausted man.
It doesn’t matter how great LeBron James is, even five average high school players will defeat him if he chooses to play that “team” by himself. Every champion needs the right team fighting for him and with him (Galatians 6:2,3)
Proverbs 18:1 says, “He who isolates himself, seeks his own desires and turns against wisdom.” So, in a sense, having a team of brothers isn’t just good math, it’s just plain common sense.
3. You need TEAMMATES who will stand beside you and challenge you.
If a man is only as strong as his team, then he’s only as confident as the teammates who are playing beside him. I’m talking about a teammate you know you can trust and depend on, no matter what happens. That teammate who will never quit on you; who will believe in you; sacrifice for you; and if necessary, even get in your face and confront you (Proverbs 27:17).
Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen; LeBron James needed Kyrie Irving; Derek Jeter needed Mariano Rivera; and Tom Brady needed reliable receivers. None of these men could have won a championship without reliable, dependable teammates. Who are yours?
Every man needs a brother who will stick, stay, and stand beside him no matter what. I’m talking about a small group of men, your “inner circle,” who will love you the best even when you’re at your worst, and they won’t lose respect for you. Three to five teammates with whom you can share your regretful secrets, personal struggles, and painful scars without the fear of being judged or shamed.
I’m talking about 3 to 5 “foxhole friends” who will love you the most when you deserve it the least. A small group of “go-to guys” who are willing to get in your face but stand by your side and refuse to let you lose, fail or quit. They won’t let you play small, make excuses, or stop fighting for what matters most to you: your faith, family, friends, and future.
Unfortunately, most men don’t know or have men like these in their corner; so, they find themselves fighting alone. Too many good men have fallen to anger, fear, lust, greed, porn, shame, guilt, laziness, hopelessness, and shame, because they didn’t have a reliable teammate there to pick them up when they fell (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10). They didn’t have another brother who they could count on, so they ended up going down for the count.
The truth is, no man can win without trusted teammates; it’s literally impossible. In addition to his “discipleship team,” even Jesus had Peter, James, and John as his “inner circle” teammates. Life’s too hard, and the enemy is too crafty, for a man to play life one-on-one. That’s exactly what the enemy wants; because if he can isolate you, he can destroy you. But when a man has back up, his enemies have no choice but to back up. So, the question is, who’s got your back?
4. You need a COACH who will teach you and train you.
Do you know any Olympic Champion who didn’t have a coach? That’s right, no champion, I repeat, no man has ever become a champion without a good coach.
Think about it, where would the New England Patriots be without Bill Belichick or the University of Alabama be without Nick Saban? The Chicago Bulls without Phil Jackson or the Duke Blue Devils without Coach K (Krzyzewski)?
Even Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Roger Federer, who play individual sports have coaches. I say again, no man has ever won a championship without a good coach.
However, many men still insist on trying to win in life without one. A coach, by definition, is that man or mentor who’s wiser and more experienced than you are; he helps you clearly define your goals, then patiently teaches, trains, and prepares you to achieve them.
Do you want to win and be a champion in any area of your life? Then you need a proven coach.
In the past 17 years, I’ve been fortunate to have six coaches in my life to help me navigate being a husband, father, business owner, and spiritual and ministry leader. This was not by accident, it was by design, and it was strategic; I recruited each of them.
These coaches, in their own individual way, coached me back from divorce, addiction, depression, failure, abandonment, anger, rejection, and resentment. And now I’m coaching other men on how to do the same.
The truth is, no good man can expect to be a great champion at anything without a qualified coach (Proverbs 28:26). Timothy had Paul; Elisha had Elijah; Solomon had David; and Jesus had the Father.
5. You need a COUNSELOR who will help you understand yourself better.
I often joke that a counselor is the one thing every man needs, but no man wants unless he’s court ordered or threatened with divorce. And by then, it’s usually too late.
Our spiritual counselor is the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Comforter, who leads and guides us in all truth (John 14:26). But we also need the help of a professional counselor to help us see our blind spots, so we can understand ourselves better and why we think and respond the way we do.
If every athletic champion was totally honest, almost all of them will admit that they’ve either spoken to, been advised by, or consulted with a sports psychologist. Why?
Because when you compete at the highest levels of anything, including sports, you’ll find that only 10% of it is physical (based on talent and ability), but 90% of it is mental.
Likewise, most of your present challenges, whether it be a broken relationship, financial struggles. anger issues, loneliness, sexual temptation, lack of self-confidence, fear, or anxiety, can all be traced back to a mental (or belief) origin. Because as a man thinks, so is he.
The problem is, most men use counseling only as a last resort to save or fix bad relationships; whereas successful men who are champions use counseling as a preventative option to maintain healthy relationships, seeing one maybe once or twice a year. But maintenance, instead of repair, is only possible if you have the four (4) other critical elements in place: Christ, a team, teammates, and a coach.
Ask yourself, which would be wiser (and cheaper): seeing a counselor twice a year to keep your life on track, or 3-4 times a week to get your life back on track? No man can become a great champion unless he’s able to master his mind.
Contrary to what most men think, seeking counseling doesn’t make you crazy or weak; it only proves you’re smart and courageous. Every champion needs the help of a professional counselor (Proverbs 11:14).
In my 26+ years in working with men, I’ve never met a successful, spiritually-mature Christian man who didn’t have at least 4 of these 5 essentials in place. However, I’ve literally met hundreds of men who are struggling, tired, frustrated, feeling defeated, hopeless, and helpless who didn’t have these five essentials. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
This isn’t a secret formula; it’s God’s intention and divine plan for growing, strengthening, and supporting spiritually-mature men. The truth is, any good man can become a Champion husband, father, worker, or leader with the help of other godly men – through Christ, a strong team, loyal teammates, an experienced coach, and wise counsel. He just needs to humble himself and stop making excuses for not getting the help he needs.
There is a champion deep inside of you that’s been suppressed for far too long. Now it’s time to step up, put on your own jersey, get on the field and get your uniform dirty.
So, what are you going to do about it? Keep playing “Lone Ranger” and doing life and trying to “figure it out” on your own? Continue to be a fan or cheerleader applauding the success of others? Pretend and convince yourself that everything I’ve shared with you isn’t true and just some type of “prosperity gospel” or “motivation mumbo jumbo” lingo?
…or are you going to “man up” and stand up by humbling yourself and get the help you need and become the champion God called, made, and expects you to be?
It’s time to win. It’s time to lead. It’s time for you to be great. Your family is depending on you. It isn’t too late to become the man you were destined and created to be.
Yes, I know it’s a scary journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are men out there who will stick, stay, and stand with you, who will help you rise to the challenge.
The only question is, “Are you ready?”
I’m on a mission to help 300 men become champions through the power of coaching, mentoring, and discipleship. Why only 300? Because the great John Wesley once said, “Give me just 300 men who love God, hate sin, and fear nothing, we could set the world on fire.” And I don’t believe anything could potentially impact the world more than an army of great men who are Champion husbands, fathers, and spiritual leaders.