You’ve been saved and have accepted Jesus Christ – now what?
Paul tells us in Romans 12:10 that we are to “Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor;”
We can’t live the lives promised us by Jesus if we aren’t in a regular, and authentic, community of other guys WHO ARE ALSO LIVING LIVES WITH JESUS CHRIST. A lot of us have our hunting buddies and our poker friends, but we aren’t spending time in a community of dudes who are also living for Christ.
The Church can NEVER be the church that God intended if men (biological men) aren’t connected in that kind of brotherhood and fellowship. And if the Church can’t be what God intended, then the nation can never be a nation that God intended. In this case, we shouldn’t be surprised by what is happening around us today – it’s men’s fault – it’s our fault.
There are several ways that the Church is supposed to operate, but it is through men “in community” that is one of the primary ones. “That’s a fact Jack!” ~ Bill Murray (Stripes)
So, what do we do?
Paul gave us a framework by telling us that we [men] MUST be devoted to one another. We MUST make a handful of other Christ following men a top priority in our lives – above ANYTHING else we do and AHEAD of other things (including hunting, poker, and the weekend beer trip), but not God of course (so, mostly everything). FYI: Yes, I like beer, something that I will write about at some point.
Paul also said that we MUST commit to being honest and transparent in this community of Christ following men (read Ephesians 4:25 & 2 Corinthians 12:9). But we MUST also be accountable (check out Galatians 6:1-2). Community of men, even a Christ following community, cannot work without these, it just won’t.
More importantly, we must NOT presume that we know exactly how to “fix” a brother who is broken, BUT, we should trust God and the Holy Spirit to do ALL of the work that needs to be completed (check out Romans 12:3). If we aren’t careful, we can actually damage a dude – spiritually and relationally – if we get into offering fix-it advice to men who have been hesitant to being vulnerable and sharing their struggles.
Our job, on most occasions, is just to listen and ask open, non-judgmental questions; and then pray. Praying is something else that Paul tells us that men ought to do together often (see Romans 12:12).
Our job is to encourage one another and live boldly and confidently in our faith, keeping each other “fueled” and the fire of the Holy Spirit lit. We must support one another so that none of us burn out (check out Romans 12:11 in the MSG). Paul wrote that we must stand with one another and help each other through hardship, so that none of us falls away from God in the hard times.
I believe that the blood of Jesus Christ is all the answer we need to EVERYTHING that ills us, however, sometimes a brother needs a little more. When this happens, for me, I will always encourage the brother to seek out a trained, and licensed, Christian counselor. This is out of love, honor, and commitment to helping the brother along his race.