Are you an island man?
I must confess that I have a natural, inner desire to be one.
But we should probably start with a definition. What is an island man exactly? An island man is one who lives out portions of his life on a figurative island, incorrectly believing that he can go at it alone and “make it work” in his marriage, family, relationships, job, dreams and even his faith.
[pullquote]A guy who doesn’t have deep, invested, distinct, relationships with other guys in his life will never be able to be the man he is to be.[/pullquote]
From my vantage point, I believe every man has a tendency to drift into his own island. Some men realize it and try to claw their way off the island. Some men realize it and don’t care. And many men are oblivious. If we just work harder, put in more hours, read more, be more disciplined, go through countless programs, we will make it happen. But after years of living on and off the island, I can confess it never quite worked to just “go at it alone”.
My working idea is this: A guy who doesn’t have deep, invested, distinct, relationships with other guys in his life will never be able to be the man he is to be.
Now in Christian circles this is nothing new. Churches build programs on “discipleship” and “mentoring”. Thousands of books and approaches have been created. But I wonder if all of this has become nothing more than a “great Sunday pep talk”. Talk of discipleship and mentoring rings hollow and no longer stirs a calling within a man. A.W. Tozer would call these “dead words”, words that have become so overused they are often unable to encourage or foster much change.
So we men are left with our islands, our inadequacies and our inability to get off the island or recognize the priority it should be in our lives.
Recently the aspect of the island man that has become most baffling are the guys who recognize their tendencies, they know they shouldn’t go at it alone but yet they do nothing about it. Life is busy, responsibilities are mounting and there just isn’t enough time in the week or month to allow other guys access to their lives.
The remedy for us island men can be found by opening the Book. Contrary to popular belief the Bible remains practical and relevant for today’s men. Crack’n it open reveals these truths:
- If we claim to be Christ followers, we must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6). Even God in the flesh recognized the importance of surrounding Himself with other willing men.
- Other guys in our lives help us grow and keep us sharp (Proverbs 27:7).
- We need older guys who have “walked the walk” to provide us with wisdom (Proverbs 13:20).
- And we need to pour into those who are younger to help show them a life off the island (Luke 6:40).
So if that’s the remedy, how do we get there? Two men I look up to and countless others recognize the same principle, as Christian men we need to be actively pursuing three types of relationships:
- A guy who sharpen me, is in a similar life stage and wants to pursue a radically transformed life through the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
- A guy who is older than me, who can speak into my life, show me the path to walk and impart wisdom and knowledge from a life of experience.
- A younger guy or a guy who is earlier in the journey. Someone I can pour into myself and share my own journey.
What are you doing today to get off your island?
What are you doing to find 3 guys that will help you stay off the island and what are you doing to allow them access into your life?
May we bring to life the “dead words” of today by being men who daily pursue a life lived together.