Faith General Identity Mentoring Helps Relationships

Warrior Adventure; Feeding the Masculine Soul

Reflections from the Fall Mentoring Warriors Campout

Twelve men gathered in a pasture in the middle of Kansas. It was a cold fall night. Temps were much lower than normal, the northwest wind making the windchill fall into the upper 30’s Fahrenheit. Setting up camp each guy did their part to make things as comfortable as it can be under the clear night sky. The fire pit was set and the self-designated fire-master kept it roaring. Others set up the massive tent that could hold half the county! While others man-handled the makeshift kitchen so we could roast over the fire. As the sun set, headlamps came on and more layers were donned.

As we huddled around the fire pit, the glow of flames danced across our faces. Frozen fingers strummed on the guitar as we mustered voices in praise to God. Yes, the one who created the very stars overhead and the rising moon on the east horizon, filtering light through the trees. 

Why Are We Here?

As my fingers reached for the heat from the fire, I silently asked myself. Why are we here? Are we crazy to hang out in a rolling hilled pasture freezing to death, seeking God?  I gazed across the flames to faces of men I know. Men I’ve come to love. Men, like me, on a journey towards something greater, something transcendent. Something that defines our manhood more than what we know.

As Stephen opened the Scriptures, he talked about the adventure God has set deep in our souls as men; to reach beyond our self-focused selves to become men who seek an eternal impact in the lives of others. He told the story of a man who resisted accountability, becoming a fraction of what he could be otherwise. A man whose faith is weak and filled with unwanted behaviors. Contrasted to that, he unfolded for us a man whose highest desire is to bring glory to God. To be a man who discovers and uses his unique Kingdom voice for the sake of bringing God the highest glory in all he does.

Who Am I Living For?

The trouble is I can so easily become earth-bound. Today’s hassles, tomorrow’s deadlines, next year’s taxes. The daily grind that can seem so endless, so monotonous. Instead of self-medicating with whatever I think is an escape from all of that, something deep inside me says there is something/someone greater than myself. His name is Jesus. No one satisfies my soul like Him. For all my attempts to find hope in earthly pleasures, as Solomon tried, it is all vanity of vanities.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing,  whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV

Living in Real Community

It is said that one of the maladies many men face is loneliness. To connect with other men of like-mindedness is often an arduous journey of finding that common bond with other men. At times it seems like trial and error. Who shares what the Bible calls a kindred spirit?  

Our culture has put a spin on what is to be a healthy man to man relationships such that we hesitate to be authentic, transparent, even vulnerable with other godly men. If they truly know me, will they still accept me?  Love me unconditionally? David and Jonathan had it. They had a bond that was deeper than just friendship. They are an example of a healthy-non-sexual man to man brotherhood bond that glorifies God.

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

1 Samuel 18:1 ESV

What does this have to do with adventure? As John Eldredge says Adventure feeds the masculine soul. God burned into the male psyche the call to explore, to conquer, to win. Not all will climb the highest peak or beat the latest speed record. Indeed, such adventures can compel a man, but deep inside a man’s soul is the adventure of being known. 

From Boys to Men

Sitting around that campfire were twelve boys. Boys with a past, some sordid, some filled with unwanted experiences. Others with a mixture of emerging purposes amidst the confusion. The hunger to truly be masculine is an adventure that if grasped in tandem with a living relationship with God will create a soul adventure like none other!  That’s when true community is discovered. When one’s purpose is far beyond one’s own survival. Instead, rooted in Christ, the boy in each of us becomes willing to take the steps forward into manhood alongside others. Some men will be further down the path than us, yet they travel beside us with godly wisdom and hope that we too can become far greater than what we are in the moment.  Others traveling the same path are much like us, in need of a mentor, while we look over our shoulder to other guys looking to us for guidance.

If you want to be a real man with a heart on fire for God living out an adventure like none other, then set your eyes on seeing the glory of God in every step of your journey. Link arm in arm with other men; a band of brothers. Expose your weaknesses, your brokenness, your failures, to men who are safe. Men who can come alongside you. Shoulder to shoulder next to the fire, eyes on Christ and with confidence set out together on the next leg of your journey through manhood.

Four Tips for Finding Your Manhood Adventure

1. Read Psalm 139:23-24. Ask God to search your heart. To know you. To lead you in the way everlasting. Make a list of the items He wants you to work on.

2. Read through the article in the Resource section of this website on finding a mentor.

3. Take a step of faith and open up to a trusted friend or mentor. Admit your need for help and that you want to take this adventure in community. Use the article on Four Steps of Real Accountability for Men

4. Commit together to seek the glory of God in the journey.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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