Faith Identity

King Me

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Few books have impacted me as much as Michael Thompson’s King Me. So often, we men drift through life not exactly sure where we are headed, or what we are made for. Sure, we might have particular skills or interests, but when life is all said and done, is manhood nothing more than the sum total of our busy days? 

Jerry makes a lot of money. Not that every business deal is filled with integrity, but he often drives a hard deal others can’t refuse. Between his fleet of Mercedes, BMWs, and Jaguars, he’s a ranking member at the country club, a great golfer, and married to three trophy wives (not all at once). His kids are estranged from him and he has a lawyer on retainer to handle all the battles with his exes.  Oh, he tried Jesus when he was younger, but it all seemed too rigid and contrived. Is that the kind of king you want to be?

Thompson tells a different story; a better story with a much larger and glorious ending. Far better than the guy I just mentioned.

There are four parts to the manhood journey God has for us. Not all of us take that journey, but those who do find themselves far more the man God designed them to be. 

1. The Heart of a King

Ever since you were a boy, you’ve desired to rule and reign; to be a good king, and to learn “how Jesus, the King of kings, embodies as our model and very life.” Thompson goes on to explain how our lives fit into the Larger story God is writing. This gives greater meaning to our daily lives; the choices we make and the relationships we build.

2. The Journey of a King. 

This part of the King Me book intrigued me. Thompson walks us through six stages of manhood:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Explorer
  3. Warrior
  4. Lover
  5. King
  6. Elder-Sage

He walks us through the characteristics of each manhood stage, the questions that define us in that stage, the strengths, the wounds that limit us as we move to the next stage, and practical ways to find healing.  Few men ever truly understand the vital connection these manhood stages have on their journey.  Those who do, find themselves as good kings under the King of Kings.

For me, I found myself drawing nearer to Jesus as I read through the various manhood stages. In some cases, I was moved to tears. Jesus was there with me as I remembered my past; not condemning me, but pointing out wounds that have impacted how I face life today. I found healing to many of those wounds in those chapters. My underlines in the book tell that story. 

3. The Glory of a King. 

I was profoundly impacted by this part of the book. I’ve grown up knowing and catching glimpses of the glory of God, but to understand that I have glory as a man caught me off-guard. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about the glory of God in us who are jars of clay, so that regardless of what hardship we may experience, our mortal bodies reflect the glory of God.  I am a glorious man. You are a glorious man. Not in a million years would I have ascribed such to myself, but Jesus living His life through me manifests glory in my body. 

On a very practical level, this impacts how I look at my face in the mirror. I don’t see the scars from my skin cancer or my deviated septum, or my patchy stubble of a beard I can’t grow. Instead, I now see glory. The radiance of Jesus in my face, in my body, from head to toe, and all points in between. I also learned ways to get my heart back from the wounds that tried to convince me I am a lost cause. 

4. The Reign of a King. 

This is where all of the twists and turns, discipline, and endurance pay off. As I grow in conversational intimacy with Jesus, He heals my wounds, restores my calling as a king under His Kingship, and teaches me how to fight, protect and love those He’s placed under my care; namely my wife and kids as well as those I mentor and the business I own. Bottom-line, it comes down to the relationships under my care who Jesus wants to see grow in their conversational intimacy with Him and others; all because I chose to live as a king under His Kingship.

Contrast the story of Jerry at the beginning of this article with Rob’s.  Rob grew up relatively poor. His family attended church, but for most of his childhood, it was a thing they did. The Gospel didn’t click for him until somewhere in his teens. Rob’s little brother had health issues. Frequently, Rob was his closest caregiver. Even today, as adults Rob’s heart for his brother’s ongoing health issues compels him to go the extra mile, even when it’s costly.  

Rob went through a fairly rebellious stage in his 20s. Close calls with the law and some stupid choices that got a girl pregnant during college took his life down a path he didn’t plan on. When life hit rock bottom it was as if he woke up from a fog. Now married to a great gal who had no idea he had a child out of wedlock, Rob knew life could not be filled with lies.  It was one of the toughest seasons in their marriage when she found out about Rob’s past. “Why are you telling me this now, after we got married?”  Rob had no excuses. 

Through some godly men at their church, Rob and his wife decided to make things right with his young son and his mom. With the help of his mentor, Rob and his wife met with the boy and his mom. How do you explain to an 8-year-old you are his dad and how it happened and why you abandoned them?  And why you are married to someone who is not his mom?

Through this tough season, the Lord showed Rob some childhood wounds that contributed to his choices as a young man. He also saw God in a new way. Forgiveness. Taking a hard situation and turning it into something with hope. Rob realized God wanted to refine his manhood in such a way that he could lead his wife and his young son like a good king.  Things didn’t change overnight, but each time Rob brought his struggles to Jesus, he saw those around him in a totally new light. His heart to nurture and care for them led to some very tangible demonstrations of love in action.

Rob’s wife and the young son’s mom became friends. The boy’s demeanor changed as Rob spoke truth to his son’s heart. Eventually, Rob and his wife had kids of their own, and in that, they adopted Rob’s son. Rob never had a high-paying job. He didn’t own a pair of golf clubs or drove a luxury car. He fell in love with Jesus who revolutionized his view of himself as a man and his calling to be a king under the King of Kings. 

So, who are you going to be?  Jerry or Rob?

Warrior On!

MW Editor’s Note: We at Mentoring Warriors highly encourage you to check out Michael Thompson’s book, King Me.

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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