By Leo Hellyer
All Christian men are on a journey that many times has some rough spots in it. There are both mountain tops and valleys in this journey. As Christian men and leaders, we often find it hard to admit that there are times when we may need help living our lives. Leaders are used to leading and helping others, and they may forget that they need to be fed to be able to feed others. The best Christian leader cannot continue meeting the needs of others when that leader is empty.
There is a great book and Bible study which has been released this year that I sincerely believe every Christian man should examine in detail. I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith, by Lecrae, is a fantastic guide to follow in living our lives according to godly precepts. Lacrae is very transparent as he shares with us the journey that he has been on, and how this journey has restored him.
Any man who finds himself in a position of emptiness is in very good company. Even professional athletes who train for stressful situations have these valleys of life where they can have serious difficulties managing their lives. A few athletes who have openly discussed their experiences with mental health difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, are Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, and Michael Phelps. When anyone is in this place it can be a very dark experience.
Many times we forget, in the midst of our battles, that our God is a God of redemption. One of the observations that Lacrae makes in his book is that our God is not a God who discards us when we aren’t perfect. It is very important for us to know and believe that our God takes us from where we are and guides us on the journey of redemption, peace and well-being. In Colossians 1:24-27 we read about our incomparable Christ who rescues us from the realm of darkness.
Just like athletes, first responders, and medical providers, when people in responsible leadership positions are not frequently fed spiritually and emotionally, they many times will suffer from something called “vicarious trauma”. This emotional and physical exhaustion can be very debilitating.
God wants us to come to Him, to seek Him, and let Him intervene on our behalf. In the vast majority of cases, we also have people around us who are eager to help us on our journey through life, if we will reach out to them. We do not have to carry the heavy load of life’s challenges on our shoulders alone.
There are many books available on Christian leadership from a variety of perspectives. I just recently came across one of these great books that was just published this year and which is coming from a very unique perspective. This book spoke to me, and I believe it will speak to most Christian men who are in leadership positions in churches, businesses, ministries or families. This book was written by David Dusek, the founder of Rough Cut Men Ministries. The book is titled, The Battle: Tactics for Biblical Manhood Learned from the 7th Cavalry in Vietnam.
In an endorsement of the book, Lt. Col. Oliver North USMC (Ret.) says, “Perfectly titled, The Battle by David Dusek goes straight to the heart of issues facing today’s Christian men. Illustrating the precepts of biblical manhood in the context of a legendary battle during the Vietnam War makes this book appealing and powerful.”
Stu Weber, a pastor from Boring, Ore., author of Tender Warrior and Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart, and recipient of three Bronze Stars as a Green Beret in Vietnam states, “…this book is something of a pre-fight battle brief written by one rough man to other rough cut guys – how to survive on a planet at war against everything you hold dear.”
Our God is with us through all things good and bad. Our major task is to keep focused upon Him as we face our various challenges in life. In Colossians, Paul instructs us to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Life is a battle. Every day as Christian men, we are in the middle of a battle between the powers of good and evil. For us to survive this battle, we must remember that we cannot fight in this battle alone. We must armor up. We must follow the rules of engagement. We must be part of a team with a common goal. We must follow our Commander in Chief into the battle. By the way, in the battle of life that is set before us, our Commander in Chief is God Almighty.
We don’t know from one moment to the next who, where, or what our next battle is going to be. Our Commander in Chief knows. God gives us all of the tools that we need to successfully complete the mission He has for us. We need to keep our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts upon Him and not get distracted by the counterfeit spirits around us.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at [email protected] or 208-340-5544.