The end goal of the Christian life is to become the man that God wants us to be, by allowing his vision, mission, purposes, and goals to shape our lives. One way we can lead men to this is it through discipline. A discipline, or in our case "spiritual discipline," is a training activity that helps to shape and force character over an extended period of time that accelerates and focuses the process. Spiritual discipline is the "strict training" that Paul was talking about 1 Corinthians 9:25.
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.”
ONE | Prayer
Prayer is a fundamental discipline that men need to learn to build into their lives. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. But so many men have other priorities that compete with this primary spiritual activity. In our busy lives there are so many other competing activities vying for our time that before you know it men have gone days and weeks devoid of prayer, relying on human strength which leaves them feeling spiritually dry. Since this discipline frequently drops out of first place, we have to remind men of its priority.
Prayer is like oxygen for the lungs of the Christian man. For most, our prayer life is less than we want it to be, and therefore we restrict our spiritual lives of the air we need to live. We must voluntarily train ourselves to pray until involuntary processes take over, and then from time to time give it prayer renewed attention with a few deeper breaths.
TWO | Regular Time In God’s Word
We can never get too much of God’s truth. The truth is always found outside of us and only in Christ. And God's Word is the revelation of this. Small doses of it, in short readings on Sunday mornings, is not enough to be “filled” with the truth. We need to challenge men to read it, to listen to it, study it, and pray it. And I am not talking listening to another pastor talk about their understanding of the Bible; I mean praying it, reading it, and studying it for themselves.
One of the great apps over the last few years that I have pointed men to is the Daily Audio Bible. In an app for your smartphone, Brian Hardin reads the Bible daily to you. I have been a huge fan of listening to the Bible since I can do it anywhere. In my bed, on a drive, and even on the run, but I think we also need to read it, study it, and pray it. If you want to dig in deeper you should check out Logos Bible Software, it is the best on the market with the broadest library for studying the Bible, and I use it regularly for my studies. If you need to build this discipline yourself try the Men's Daily Devotional below. I think it is a great way to get men going with daily reading in God's Word.
THREE | Positive Spiritual Accountability
Men need relationships with other men. Too often we don't have strong spiritual connections with other men. Far too many men do life alone. They go the journey alone because healthy spiritual relationships are so hard to find and creating a structure for these relationships often new territory.
Accountability is critical. And I am not talking about accountability only regarding things I should stop doing, but the stuff I should start doing. When men think about accountability, they tend to think about accountability around the things they do wrong, like their sin patterns. I think men do need some accountability around this, but they also need some accountability around actions that will have a positive impact on their spiritual life. For example, I need people to hold me accountable to praying with my wife, regularly giving to my church, reading my Bible, forgiving myself, letting go of my anxiety by trusting in God, and things like this. Solely focusing on the previous is not motivating for very long.
Check out one of our Accountability Reports if you are looking for some structure.
FOUR | Small Group Involvement
I think men who participate in small groups, are often maturing more and faster than other men because the previous three disciplines can be sharpened in this environment. That is if it is led well. Men need to be involved in a Christian community, and not just the large weekend gathering, but smaller gathering in groups where they can discover some things about themselves and others. Spiritual growth does not happen in isolation it occurs in a community, and men need other men. For when they link arms great things happen. For example, just look back at what Jesus did with twelve men, and his small group changed the world.
If you need help starting a small group or want material for a small group contact me today.
FIVE | Personal Ministry
Christian men who are maturing and have the right balance in their life have space for personal ministry. Personal ministry would include things like leading a small group, mentoring another man, teaching a class at church, mission trips, service projects, youth leadership, and the like. I get excited when men do this because now they are not just receiving discipline, they are extending their spiritual leadership with others.
Some men I know need to do this and need to be pushed to do this. Too often men wait to take this step, yet every pastor and ministry leader out there needs help. And I think men sometimes need a little push on this one since they love to disqualify themselves. Sometimes they need a push off the diving board, to come alive!
If you are looking for opportunities to lead contact your pastor or me today. We are committed to serving you so you can become the men and leaders that God wants you to be!
If you are looking for material for your men’s group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a www.beresolute.org or send us an email.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 16 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org