Spiritual development is one of the most overlooked areas in the lives of men. Research indicates that on average women are 15% more religious then men. These numbers are pretty consistent across the board regardless of geography, economic background, race, social status etc. Many theories abound as to why there is a difference but no consensus has been reached. As a man you can find tons of information about the importance of eating healthy, landing your dream job/career, getting fit and how to grow your finances etc. Yet it can be difficult to find good resources on spirituality and religion.
Before we engage in this discussion it is important for you, my dear reader, to understand that I am a Christian man. Thus my worldview is colored by my 100% belief in the Bible, including that Jesus Christ is the only truth out there and therefore the only way to heaven. Thus, my world view will always be shaped by those beliefs. That doesn’t mean these tips that follow aren’t applicable in other faiths.
In this article we will touch on just a few of the important reasons it pays to develop spiritually as men. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and we welcome your comments if you agree or disagree with this list. Let’s get started!
“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” – Ghandi
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for us as men is our prideful nature. We are constantly challenged by the notion we don’t need anyone else to be successful in life. Regardless of what you do for a career deep down we have an ego that is always telling us we can do anything we want if we only put our minds to it.
You aren’t Frank Sinatra. This isn’t time to do things “Your Way.” If you spend any time reading the success stories of people you will learn quickly they didn’t reach their lofty heights without the assistance, support and mentorship of others.
Tapping into your spirituality and pursuing your faith will help you understand the role that interdependence plays in your life as a man. When we learn, and I mean actually learn, that we weren’t meant to journey on our life alone, it opens up a whole entire world of additional possibilities for us. By tapping into your spirituality and your interdependence on God you will learn that only in community and working together can we be the complete men we were intended to be.
Courage is not a trait we are born with or a skill you manage to possess as a toddler. Rather, courage is a skill or ability that can be learned and developed over your lifetime. Heroes and cowards both experience fear. Yet it is how we handle that fear that determines the kind of men we will become. As you develop courage, you will find more and more opportunities to exercise courage. The more you practice, the braver you will become.
You cannot develop your spirit man without developing courage. Faith in God takes a lot of courage. It requires facing an unknown future and moving forward regardless of the potential outcomes. In many ways it is similar to those horror movies where the couple is upstairs in the bedroom and the woman hears a noise downstairs. She tells the guy, “Go check it out.” There is NO WAY he wants to go downstairs in the dark to see what is going on. That is why he grabs a bat. Sometimes he survives and other times not so much.
Yet courage isn’t always facing fear. More often than not you will need courage when faced with an opportunity to do something because “everyone else is doing it” rather than doing what is right. Having courage will mean standing up for your own personal beliefs even though it might cost you a raise or maybe your job.
Following God and having an active spiritual life cannot help but build courage and that is one of the most important traits you can possess as a man.
Helps You Set Proper Priorities
“To succeed today, you have to set priorities, decide what you stand for.” – Lee Iacocca
Today there are so many different things all fighting for our attention as men. If you don’t have a solid foundation and know what your priorities are it is easy to listen to the wrong voices and chase after the wrong things in life. There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, living a comfortable life or having a successful career. However, how we arrive at that place (i.e. the means we use to get there) will determine the kind of man we are and influence both positively and negatively other men we are connected to.
I am not sure if any of you ever watch the show “American Greed” but I am a bit addicted to the show. I have to admit being addicted to this show is odd because it is almost the same story over and over again. A greedy individual (or individuals) defrauds people (many of them also so greedy and money hungry they fall into the trap) into turning over thousands or millions of dollars. This person of course spends lavishly on themselves for many years until they are eventually caught. Almost always they are caught. The money runs out. People finally catch on etc.
Developing your spiritual life certainly is no guarantee you won’t get ripped off in life or be the victim of some financial hoodlum. However, it can help guard against the temptation of greed through illicit means. Yet it isn’t just limited to greed. Seeking God and doing your best to follow His teachings can help you keep your head on straight so you aren’t an absent father. It will also help you develop a proper work ethic which in turn should help you land a better job, a promotion and perhaps even early retirement.
For me, developing my spirit man has helped me understand how important my wife, family and personal life are to me. I refuse to sacrifice time with my wife and my family to satisfy the demands of my job. There might be times when I just have to work late but I make sure those are few and far between. I have risked losing my job several times or getting a bad review at my company by standing up and telling my bosses that I can’t come in on a Saturday or Sunday. I don’t believe I would have been able to stand up for those priorities if it weren’t for the faith I have in God. Your priorities will be different than mine and that is okay. The point is, developing your spirit man will help you shape, mold and stick by those things that are most important to you. Being a man of conviction will set yourself apart from everyone else and it will draw many people to you.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how rich your family is. We will all face adversity in our lives. Some more than others but nonetheless adversity will come. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
More importantly for us as men how we handle adversity will ultimately define us as men. Will we allow adversity to beat us down, drive us to drink heavily, engage in drug usage or other self-destructive behaviors or will we dig deep inside ourselves and understand that it is at our greatest moments of adversity that God is at work in our lives?
No matter how good our intentions are we live in a world of defective and imperfect people. This includes you and me. It is just not a realistic worldview to think we can avoid the consequences of living in an imperfect society. Eventually we will all experience disappointments, loved ones will pass away, relationships will break our hearts and dreams will be interrupted and delayed.
Best-selling author Tommy Newberry writes, “We all face adversity in life. Sometimes those moments will be public, and crowds will be there to watch us respond as life hurls obstacles, disappointments, and heartbreak in our direction. And sometimes our struggles with adversity will be private, and we’ll face our battles behind closed doors or in the sheltering presence of those we love.”
By developing your spirit man you can better understand the complexities of life and understand that even in suffering, God wastes nothing. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
When you have a well-developed spirit man you understand that the pain and adversity you experience ultimately will build character. While no one desires to experience adversity being grounded in faith can help you push through and believe there is something better waiting for you on the other side of the struggle. Character will develop as we fight and struggle to rise about the adversity we face. Too many men become passive in the face of adversity and never push through to experience the sweet smell and taste of victory. God gives us the power and freedom to change and adapt to life’s circumstances. However, we have to develop that spiritual side of our life if we truly desire to tap into this process.
Chicks Dig It
I hate to admit it but it is true. Women seem to be drawn towards men who have a self-less streak in them. A few years Match.com came out with a report indicating that men who listed volunteer type activities as one of their hobbies received 3x as many responses to “winks” and e-mails as men who didn’t. Women are attracted to men who can set aside their own personal agenda and serve others. Engaging in an active life of faith ultimately leads to opportunities to volunteer and give back to your community.
This shouldn’t be the main reason you are seeking out a more active faith life (as eventually the women will see through it) but rather is a byproduct of your desire to live a more faith centered life.
There are plenty of other benefits for developing your spiritual man but those are some of the ones at the top of my list. I welcome hearing from you as to why you think it is important to develop your spirit man.
Until we meet again, make it a better day!