I often struggle trying to understand where folks obtain moral guidelines and principles. As someone who is a follow of Jesus how do they know it’s not ok to cheat, lie or murder. Who tells them it’s not right? Do they get their standards from what society says is right? I am in no place to judge others, but it’s a question that has always run through my mind and most of the time I don’t have the answers. It is also why I enjoy talking with other folks in deep conversations and understanding where they come from. It help give me a better perspective.
Maybe I am the only one who thinks this. I don’t know, what I do know is the “church” and those who profess to be Christians have deeply wounded and hurt many others who have honestly been seeking to find truth. This has left folks feeling betrayed and hating God, Christians and wanting nothing more to do with the church. Don’t think for a minute as a follower of Jesus that I don’t struggle with those same thoughts. There have been plenty of times where I have questioned my faith journey. In my experience as a believer, someone who has served in leadership and been an active member of the church I have been deeply wounded to the point of wanting to walk away from it all and never return. These aren’t just one time things, they’ve happened more than I ever imagined they would.
I didn’t start attending a church until I was in the 5th grade. Once I went and started, I really enjoyed it. The first church I attended was a Lutheran church, services were actually held in the Catholic church because we couldn’t afford our own building. The building with it’s stained glass, statues and other decorations was beautiful and held my attention every week. I enjoyed the services and even as an adult going back home to visit I can still recite the liturgy. I have truly loved going to church and being part of something greater. Growing up I never realized all that went into having the church work. It wasn’t until I got into leadership where I saw a different side of it.
The church is made up of sinful humans, who act out of their brokenness. They say and do things that don’t always match up with the way God intended them too. Being able to remember the “church” is just a building, while the people who attend it are the body. For those of us that are sold out believers, we still have sin issues in our life and will until the day we die, however we are purposeful about constantly seeking to follow Jesus and treat those around us how he would have us treat them.
I continually keep coming back to God because my life and all that I have been through shouts out there is a God and he is in charge. Time and time again I have seen God prove himself in my life through grace, peace, wisdom and love. The only way I am the person, husband, father, friend or leader I am today is because of God and his work in my life.
For me I go back to the Bible as the place I use as my moral compass and guide. I have never read the entire Bible from front to back. I tend to focus on the New Testament, Proverbs and Job. Frankly, I find it difficult to read a lot of the Old Testament writings, they never appeal to me. However, I do believe that the Bible is relevant today just as it was when it was written. I don’t doubt for a moment that what God had to say in the beginning doesn’t pertain to me today. I have learned to take the principles of what he was speaking, test them and then work them out in my mind and see how they fit in my life and in the culture in which I live. For me the center and core of my life is designed around God and his word. The morals that guide me as a husband, father and person in general all ties back to what God has called us to be.
Every single day starts of with reading something from the bible and prayer time. I need it. I’ve always needed it, but as I have grown and mature I need it more. I strive to be the example for my children as they are my greatest audience. I take an active role in our church not just as a leader, but as a participant, I go to church on Sunday, meet with other guys weekly and talk openly and honestly about life issues we all face, I pray with other folks and make myself accountable to stay on track. I open myself up feedback all the time to make sure I am getting it right. Through all that I do it allows me to hear God at work in my life and this includes his word and him speaking to me through others.
I believe that real men need a moral compass to guide and direct their lives. Mine happens to be God and the Bible. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without him. I need and want him everyday. I believe for a man to be any good at anything he will need a force greater than himself to guide and direct his path. In my experience I believe men who are authentic choose to get real about who and what they believe and follow. They are proud of these things and allow it to permeate everything about them. These are the real authentic men I know. Though I may fail daily, I still know it’s the right thing to do and I get back up again and push forward. Jesus is my moral compass.