The Journey Into Manhood
by Shawn Brower
Louis L’Amour once said, “The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.”
From an early age, most boys have a strong and earnest desire to be like the men in their lives. Road-trip shouts from the backseat of “are we there yet” become all too relevant for young men in their pursuit of manhood. Sadly, as time passes, the lack of clarity, a deliberate vision, and a strong guide to follow leaves young men fearful, anxious and uncertain. Spend much time with high school guys, and if they are transparent, you will find this to be shockingly true. In time, their youthful sense of adventure and risk that would reveal more of who they are and uncover who they can become, defaults to calculated, safe steps to bring about life’s security and comfort as grown men. To the observer, “success” appears to have been achieved. But is this a man? Is this what we are aiming for? Is this the life of which boys once dreamed? Is this what a man was designed by God to do? Isn’t there more? For many men, such questions haunt and reverberate through their hearts and minds.
Something must change, there has to be a different way! Instead of waiting until manhood and looking at life as it now is, young men need to know about a life that can be! Having worked with young men for 20 years, I felt a passion to write the book, We Became Men, as an invitation and a guide aimed at validating and affirming guys on their journey toward biblical manhood. This is specifically written for the male teen through young adult reader that is serious about this worthy pursuit. Each of the 16 chapters has questions designed for personal and group self-discovery, revelation and accountability. This is not a “how-to” book, but rather is written for guys to constantly be evaluating and asking themselves whether they are on the right path to becoming a godly man.
Without such probing inquiry, evaluation and godly accountability, young men will pursue, much like our first father Adam, a life of autonomy, self-reliance and independence. Today, we all suffer from the self-centeredness of Adam. There is another way, and it is found in the life of the second Adam—the Great King Jesus!
Jeremiah 6:16 says, “This is what the Lord says; ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” So it is with many young men! Each young man stands at the trailhead of their own journey and desperately needs a good trail guide that can help to navigate what lies ahead.
The journey will require courage, conviction, a band of brothers, a life marked by repentance, humility, a willingness to offer and a readiness to receive forgiveness, and an eagerness to lay down one’s life for another as Christ did for His bride the church! A young man’s identity must be forged in Christ alone so as to be free from a life of avoidance or pressure of performance that many men battle every day. This all may sound good, but it is no easy task!
With the desensitization of a fast-paced, technologically driven world, normal life is rendered boring and dull. The results – relationships are ripe for splintering and we follow after “worthless idols” that function as the lords and masters of our lives. This is not the right path!
Might God rise up a generation of young men that will deny self, resist passivity, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, be burdened, passionate and enraged by those things that break the heart of Jesus and lead out their weakness so the power of Christ may rest upon them? This will not happen by accident but will be the consequence of deliberate and intentional pursuit of becoming a godly man, for as it says in Isaiah 32:8, “…the noble man, makes noble plans and by noble deeds he stands!”