Faith Relationships

Band of Brothers

Where do we guys ever get this idea that manhood is this solo journey?  That somehow, even if you follow Jesus, you have to figure life out on your own? Like, who comes up with this stuff?

I’m like most guys who wouldn’t vote for suffering and tough times if I had to. But, the reality is, stuff happens. Things pile up and my stress load becomes much heavier than I can bear.  What do I do? I shoot a fast prayer to Jesus and hope I can push through and not fall into some stupid sin habit.

There is a Better Way

 Listen to Peter’s wise words: (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. 

Okay, I know, give Jesus the stuff that wires me up. The things that make me lose sleep at night. That makes my stomach all tied up in knots. I get it. Jesus cares for me. So, why doesn’t he just take it all away? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Jesus uses tough times to make us more like Him.

The interesting thing is that Jesus walks with us through adversities. Spiritual battles are expected for anyone who walks with Jesus. Keep your eyes peeled for the enemy.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Every time I read that verse I picture the lion clawing down a slow gazelle in the African Safari. That’s me his claws are reaching for!

So, what’s a guy to do?

 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 

Band of Brothers

When Peter says we need to be firm in our faith, it’s based upon knowing we aren’t the only ones going through tough times. My brothers in Christ have their pile of issues to face, just like I am. And that’s supposed to comfort me?  Absolutely!

Here’s the deal, When you keep your mouth shut and all your problems to yourself, you become like that gazelle that can’t get away from the lion.  Isolated. On your own.  But, when you reach out to a brother or two in Christ, asking for help, you now have the supernatural help God can offer through others. You are no longer isolated. In fact, you now have the strength of a few good men to come alongside you in your toughest hours.

Asking for Help

Like, texting a friend a pre-emptive strike for prayer, cause you can’t keep relapsing into old habits to cope with your stress.  Like asking a friend to grab coffee with you and listen as you sort through issues. Like letting a few good men come over and admonition you to stand firm in your faith. Or, to let them help you when you are helpless.  

Several years ago, as I recovered from quadruple heart bypass surgery, I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoes.  My friend, Stephen, sat with me, hung out and talked, and tied my shoes for me. He ran an errand to the store for a birthday card for my wife, when I wasn’t allowed to leave my home. 

One time, I was having a tough time with temptation. Everything in me wanted to give in and fall. I reached out to a friend for help. It took a lot of humility to ask. He came by that night and prayed over me. “You’ve been there for me.” he said, “It’s my turn to be here for you.”

In one of the Killing Lions Videos, Trevor is asked “What’s your worst fear, as a man?”  I’ve never forgotten Trevor’s response. “Being 55 and having no real close friends.”  Ouch! 

There is a place for every Jesus-following man to have a band of brothers who are with you through thick and thin. For that to happen, you all need to practice soul transparency.  No secrets, No hidden agendas. Total disclosure. No secret binge drinking. No late night covert porn sessions. None. Total, authentic life in Jesus. If a scripture hits you, share it. If it’s a crappy day at work, tell them. No posturing. No posing. Do you get the picture?

You’ll Still Suffer

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

If you think having a band of brothers is your ticket out of suffering, think again. Yes, sharing your burdens will lighten the load, but it won’t magically make your problems go away.  What having a band of brothers does is help you see God personally restore, confirm, strengthen and establish your life. 

Guess what you get to do if you have a band of brothers?

Galatians 6:1-3 ESV

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

You get the awesome privilege of coming alongside your brothers when they are in a tough spot.  In a real sense, even we men who are in the Church have lost sight of this. We are too siloed in our walks with Jesus.  Life is messy. Get messy with your brothers. Do life together. 

Every time you hesitate to ask a brother for help, you short-change him the opportunity to serve you in Christ.  Conversely, when you ask for help, you are strengthening your and his manhood character in a way that God shows up!

The choice is yours. 

Who’s in our band of brothers?

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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