We’ve all heard this before. You’re facing something that is really hard to do. You’re struggling. You’ve fallen down. You’re discouraged and don’t know what to do. and what do you hear? Man up.
Some funny definitions of man up on Urban Dictionary are:
1.) forget about your problem(s) because you were born with a penis, therefore it is not important to anyone that you have any problem(s)
2.) take a risk that you know is against your own interests because someone else thinks you should based on the fact that cannot carry a child to term
3.) be silent and accept your suffering because you have testicles
4.) earn your worth because you don’t have a womb and your sperm is a dime a dozen.
When something is really hard… When you’re really struggling… When you think you are at the end of yourself and you don’t know if you can go on anymore…. Man up. You know what I mean, we’ve heard it since we were kids.
Well, I want to give a new meaning to this phrase for us warriors. No, I don’t want you to “act like a man”.What I mean when I say man up is that I want you to find a man you can share it all with or more than one. Honorable men that have your best interest at heart. That will listen to your struggles, your failures, your shame… Listen to it all, not with condemnation, but with a heart that loves and hurts with you. A man who will tell you the truth even if it hurts. He won’t leave you alone in your pain. Man up!
I have a couple men like this in my life. But the main man like this in my life… his name is Hugh. I can call him at anytime, day or night. He will do anything in his power to be there for me. He is faithful to encourage me, to ask me the tough questions, to pray for me. He genuinely cares for my spiritual, emotional, and physical well being. He wants to spend time with me. He loves me. We meet together with some other men most every Saturday morning for breakfast with the point of asking each other hard questions, to tell how we have done that week, to confess sin, to share how our important relationships are going. This type of discipleship is needed for us men. We need a band of brothers who have our backs, who will do battle for us in prayer. Who love us enough to confront our sin.
I am a member in a men’s group on Facebook that is good for people to ask questions and ask for encouragement, but we can be far too anonymous on an internet group. We need to find a man or men IRL (in real life). We all need this. If we are really honest, not only do we need it, we desire it. God made us this way. We also need to see that we can be this type of person for other men in our lives. Man up and be there for one another. Build trust. Be open. Be transparent. Be bold.
We use a set of questions many weeks that were created by Neil Cole. He shares these in his book, Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference. These questions are used in Life Transformation Groups. Here are the questions:
1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?
2. Have you been exposed to sexual alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate sexual thoughts about another this week?
3. Have you lacked integrity in you financial dealings or coveted something that does not belong to you?
4. Have you been honoring, understanding, and generous in your important relationships this week?
5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this past week? Explain.
7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?
9. (insert your own custom personal accountability question)
10. Did you finish the reading and hear from God? What are you going to do about it? (Cole suggests that each person committing to read a book or part of a book of the Bible each week, so they are all reading the same thing.)
These questions can be modified or you can make your own. They are just one example of how to ask hard questions and to be free to answer them for those you choose to man up with.
Here is a simplified version of these questions:
1. How have you experience God in your life this week?
2. What is God teaching you?
3. How are you responding to his prompting?
4. What sin do you need to confess?
5. How did you do with your reading this week?
Here are some other groups of questions that Cole shares in the appendix of his book. (For more information on Neil Cole and his books, click here.)
Renovaré questions (for more information on Renovaré, click here.)
1. In what ways did God make his presence known to you since our last meeting? What experiences or prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading has God given you? What difficulties or frustrations did you encounter? What joys or delights?
2. What temptations did you face since our last meeting? How did you respond? Which spiritual disciplines did God use to lead you further into holiness of heart and life?
3. Have you sensed any influence or work of the Holy Spirit since our last meeting? What spiritual gifts did the Spirit enable you to exercise? What was the outcome? What fruit of the Spirit would you like to see increase in your life? Which disciplines might be useful in this effort?
4. What opportunities did God give you to serve others since our last meeting? How did you respond? Did you encounter injustice to or oppression of others? Were you able to work for justice and shalom(peace)?
5. In what ways did you encounter Christ in your reading of the Scripture since our last meeting? How has the Bible shaped the way you think and live? Did God provide an opportunity for you to share your faith with someone? How did you respond?
Another set of questions that you could use come from John Wesley.
1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
2. What temptations have you met with?
3. How were you delivered?
4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?
Some good questions you can use to evaluate yourself personally that also come from John Wesley.
1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told me in confidence?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
6. Did the Bible live in me today?
7. Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
8. Am I enjoying prayer?
9. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I insist on doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
16. How do I spend my spare time?
17. Am I proud?
18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward, or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
20. Do I grumble and complain constantly?
21. Is Christ real to me?
Now, go find some other men and MAN UP!