Are you isolated?
You probably answered that question with an emphatic “no!”
Now that I’ve got your attention I want to talk for a moment about being isolated and how isolation stagnates our growth as godly men.
We’ve all seen videos or read stories about some guy who goes off in to the wilderness to live amongst the wild. I’ll admit, that life sometimes feels appealing given how crazy everyday life can be.
But, think for a moment about the guy who embraces the “mountain man” lifestyle. He may be quite faithful, and he may live the most adventurous life imaginable, but at the end of the day he lacks community.
Without community, who does this man share his faith with? Who does he grow with? Who does he pour into? Better yet, who pours into him? Sadly, when he’s alone, his growth is stunted.
Getting alone with God is vitally important. We should all spend time alone with God and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But, we should always be seeking out others to build relationships and community with. You were not created to be a lone ranger.
The knowledge that the isolated mountain man has of God and of himself would be much greater if he had access to friendships, intentional relationships, and a community to cultivate.
“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and pray of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
Matthew 18:20 MSG
You see, the isolated mountain man may have an idea of what he likes. He may be confident in his skills, know what food he likes, what music he enjoys, how he likes his coffee, etc.… But if he wants a clear picture of the man God is calling him to become. That takes community.
If this man really wants to grow, he’ll need other guys around him who know his story-the good parts and the messy parts! He needs men to hold him accountable. He needs men to pour into him, to call out and affirm things God wants to sprout. He needs men to encourage him in his faith. It takes a community of men, drawn together, to grow together.
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from earnest counsel.”
Proverbs 27:9 ESV
“Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17 ESV
Even though we live in big cities, bustling towns, and sprawling neighborhoods, many of us are like just like the mountain man, isolated within our own concrete jungle. We encounter tons of people but pass up the opportunity to build a community because we’d rather make the trek alone. We’ve become lone rangers.
We hurry off to work, rush in to our favorite convenience store or coffee shop, punch the clock, keep our heads down and then repeat the process at the end of the day. We are stressed, anxious, longing for change and unfulfilled, but we try to face our challenges alone. We are to prideful to talk about sin, wins, failures, and hopes with others. We know the men that we long to become, the men God wants us to become, but somewhere along the way we’ve gotten lost in the wilderness.
So, are you isolated?
Think about a few men in your life that you could build a relationship with. Think about the places you go every day and the people you meet. Seek God and pray for him to direct you to a few men to engage. Become part of a community.