Following God with Your Whole Heart
November 19th, 2020
Trends can be fun, can't they? Trends in food, in social media apps, trends in how we consume media, and our beloved fashion trends. Despite all of the fun trends bring, there is a side to trends which tends to frustrate me more than anything. Often, trendsetters insist on others partaking in them, refusing to allow others to enjoy their own sense of style. Trends seem to pretend that they are something new and unique. Yet when examined more closely, it appears they are merely repeating things from the past in a slightly different way. This happens quite often in everyday clothing trends. Clothing styles pass themselves off as something new without acknowledging what inspired them. Those who do not adopt them appear behind the times, or simply old. Fashion trends demand all of our attention only to fade when the next one comes along. Trends occur in every faucet of our lives, including following God.
There are trends in many other areas of our lives, which invoke in my mind the same feelings of frustration and silly expectations as trendy fashion. One of the popular trends I want to discuss exists in what I'll call the twenty-first century Christian Men's Movement, which began in 2001 and extends to present day. The movement seems to have emerged following the release of a book by author, John Eldredge, called Wild At Heart. This movement focuses on following God with our whole heart, throwing off all posturing, in pursuit of authentic faith in God. Largely, the movement seems to strive for honesty and transparency in Christian men’s faith, but misses the mark in one key area.
In what is undoubtedly a rugged, outdoors-favoring, adventure-driven persona, comes a trend which tugs at the heart of God. To some, it might seem incredibly petty that I should bring it up at all. Many might argue that I am acting like a nit-picking, Pharisee. Because, after all, any movement which draws people to God is better than no movement at all, correct? I shared in the same sentiments at first, and I was truly hesitant to write this article, but God revealed just how much this behavior breaks his heart.
There is a particular behavior which seems to have emerged out of this incredible move of God, which is more of an unspoken attitude. This attitude says, let us watch what we say, our speech, our words, our tongues, in front of women, but what we say in front of other men is between brothers. While I would venture to say that when confronted with this idea, men involved in this movement would adamantly deny this trend. Why? Because I have been a part of this movement, and at first, I denied its existence myself. I didn't want to believe it, but the more God brought it to my attention the more it broke my heart.
Understanding The Poser
This movement stems from a desire for whole-hearted faith, authenticity, honesty, transparency and bucks the persona of the poser. For anyone unfamiliar with the concept, the poser is a persona or an approach to life which many men, Christian and nonChristian, embrace like it is second nature. Men who embrace the poser falsely act like they have it all together, whether it be career, money, or lifestyle. It is more of an approach to life than it is about a particular part of life. While I am all for authentically following God, the more that I saw this trend amongst my brothers the more God seemed to speak to my heart about it. It was something I could not unsee. Eventually, I had to share what God had put on my heart with the world, even if it costs me personally.
While I would never claim to have mastered taming my own tongue, it greatly concerns me when I see an unGodly trend which sets itself up against the knowledge of God. I suppose to the ear of the man speaking, talking in this way seems to put off rugged, strong, masculinity, but in many ways this is still posing. As a man who has experienced a lot of spiritual clarity from this movement, it is very difficult for me to point out flaws in such a great move of God. Many men, including myself, want so badly to feel a sense of belonging. Especially Christian men, who feel completely out of place in our world today. What I have seen is that in a big way things have changed, but in our hearts they have not. We are still holding out, still posing.
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
Following With Our Whole Heart
I applaud and I am greatly encouraged by the core of this twenty-first century Christian Men’s Movement because it addresses what has been severely lacking in men’s ministry for so long. It strives at authentically following Jesus with our whole heart, putting aside our desire to pretend like we have it all together. For men, the desire to pretend or pose is deeply engrained in our psyche. So when this trend of speaking our raw thoughts, our unfiltered words in front of other men emerged, it left me perplexed.
The Overflow of Our Heart
So why should I dare suggest that Bible-believing men should change this behavior? This movement is all about men authentically following Jesus with their whole heart. Am I just being overly critical on a subject which really does not matter? Luke 6:45, shows us that taming the tongue is not merely something we do in the presence of ladies, it is something we ultimately do in the depths of our heart. Men, if we speak one way in front of ladies and another way in the presence of our brothers, then we have not changed at all. We are still posing. To speak this way is to be unauthentic in our walk with God. Let us look at what Luke 6:45 says about what comes out of our mouths.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
A False Sense of Masculinity
There are countless verses in the Bible which speak directly or indirectly to the words which come out of our mouths. The Biblical evidence is not lacking on how we should behave or the type of words which should come out of our heart. What I hope to do here is to debunk this myth that speaking with vulgarity makes a man any more of a man. Many times it can feel this way and it can definitely come across that way, but I might argue that a man is more of a man by the control he exerts over his tongue.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Our True Character
What I hope to shed light on is that our choice of words reveals our true character. Words reveal the true change which God has done in our lives. Let us be clear, a man or woman does not accidentally get control over their words. No one stumbles into encouraging, Godly, wholesome talk. Our words are the fruit of our character and more importantly the evidence of the work God has done in our lives. This takes intentional surrender to God.
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in union with Him reflecting His character in the things you do and say--living lives that lead others away from sin reflecting His character in the things you do and say--living lives that lead others away from sin,”
I truly hope and pray that what you get from this article is the importance of allowing God to change our lives from the inside out. Our words are perhaps the greatest witness we can have before others. They reveal who we are when no one is looking. Our speech is the fruit of the change God has miraculously performed in those who choose to place their faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, it is usually the last area we surrender to God. I pray that these scriptures have spoken to your heart, revealing just how important our words really our in our witness to both believers and nonbelievers.