If you are feeling stuck and in a rut then this could be the most important advice you’ll read all year. We, as American men, have had this idea of individualism ingrained in us. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and others toughing it out alone are part of our culture. But, individualism makes us lonely, afraid, and feeling like we’re the only one with problems. We need to be in community with other men.
Proverbs tells us “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” You can’t sharpen a sword by waving it around in the air. Men need to come into contact with other men who will smooth out our rough edges and hone us to sharpness.
Three Reasons You Need To Be in a Community of Men
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 gives us three reasons to be in community.
1. Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. (v.9)
Life is work. Marriage, parenting, and career are all work. Thanks Adam. The workload of life may not be less when you are in community with other men, but it will be more enjoyable and rewarding. When I’m not sharing my life with other men, I get self centered. Those other men can help me see the big picture and give me encouragement when I can not. If you want to improve as a husband, father, or in your career you need to be in community with other men who will encourage and challenge you.
2. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. (v.10)
Mistakes. Sin. Temptation. They are there waiting for all of us. We will give in. We will fall down. This is where being alone will kill you. It will suck the life out of you and drive you further into yourself. Having other men around you will help you get up faster, learn from the mistakes, and propel you towards being a better man. Without that community your failures remain failures. In community, your failure will allow you to help others when they fall. You see, it’s not just about you, but those who are with you too. Your fall becomes a tool to help others up.
3. And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (v.12)
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Sin wants man alone.” When you fight sin by yourself, you will get beaten down, discouraged, and eventually be broken by it. What if there were a way to not only keep your head above water, but potentially be done with it forever? A community of brothers can do that. The catch? You’ll have to let them in on it. And you know what? It’s not that bad. They’ve probably got the same problem or have been through it too. God has given us community so that we can fight sin together.
True strength isn’t toughing it out on your own. You aren’t being humble by rejecting help when it’s offered. Weak men do life by themselves. Prideful men hide from others when life gets tough. But God is there to help you in to community. Community with other men and with Himself. Remember that cord of three strands? The third strand is God. When He’s intertwined in your community you have true strength. So put on your big boy pants, admit you can’t do it alone, and join in community with other men.
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What keeps you from being in an authentic community of men focused on helping each other become the best they can be?