In the movie Man on Fire, Denzel Washington plays a tired ex-soldier who gets hired as a bodyguard for a little girl. He bonds with the girl (Dakota Fanning), and molds her into a competitive swimmer. Once, when she clocked a good lap, she squealed, "I’m tough!"
He replied, "There’s no such thing as tough. You’re either trained or you’re not trained. Now what are you?"
At the Man in the Mirror Men’s Bible Study that I teach on Fridays, we regularly have visitors who’ve made a profession of faith but they’ve never been trained (or discipled). They’re like men recruited into the Marines and issued a rifle, but never trained how to use it. The result? They are Christian in spirit, but secular in practice.
How tragic. Even though their intentions may be good, they lack the spiritual power to live it out. Sure, a man can become a Christian with only a basic understanding of faith and repentance—it’s simple and easy. However, to become a Godly man, husband, father, and a disciple of Jesus will require some effort on his part—it’s hard. Don’t tell a man that a hard task is easy—he will just become discouraged and give up. Instead, tell him the truth—the way is hard and you have to train. It’s the only way, and it’s worth it.
And where does the spiritual power come from? Jesus said, "You do not know the Scriptures and (as a result) you do not know the power of God" (Matthew 22:29).We must, must, must challenge and train men to read and study God’s Word for themselves—through sermons, in Bible studies, on their own, and with their families. This is the meat of the coconut.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.
Man in the Mirror