How to Be a Faith-Filled Man in Today’s World (Part 2)

John ThurmanBy John Thurman10 Minutes

This is the second in the “How to be a Man of Faith in Today’s World” series, where we will examine the second half of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life and some important concepts to remember as you and I seek to be the men God has called us to be.

I have a question for you. Has our culture become too therapized? Have we become so focused on our past that we are too fearful of facing our future?

Sometime today, if you operate a vehicle, you will be looking at your rearview mirror. The purpose of the rearview mirror is to help maintain situational awareness. It enables you to see where you have come from. It also lets you know what cars might be approaching from the rear. Still, its overall purpose is to ensure that you arrive at your destination safely. Many today are fascinated by what is in the mirror of their former life. But what happens if you drive a vehicle and spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror? You will have an accident and maybe even kill someone.

There is a classic tale that reminds us of the dangers of too much reflection—the story of Narcissus. He fell in love with his reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away (or killed himself). The flowers that bear his name sprang up where he died.[1]

In Freudian psychology, the term narcissism denotes an excessive degree of self-esteem or self-involvement. This condition is usually a form of emotional immaturity.[2]

With these thoughts in mind, I want you to be aware of your past but refuse to be disabled by it. Let’s jump into “How to be a Man of Faith in Today’s World Pt 2.”

To be a man of faith, you and I must face what is in front of us. As a reminder, the bold statements are from Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The remarks are mine.

No deed in this life is so impossible that you cannot do it.
Your whole life should be lived as a heroic deed.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
The Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:13 ESV

7.         Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Life is hard. There is pain and suffering, but there is also joy, victory, and growth. Raising children will be one of the most challenging but rewarding things you can do. But when they mature, you will see the fruit of your labor. Your marriage may be in a tough spot. Rather than cheat, pay for therapy.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.
Afterward, they will receive the crown of life
that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 NLT

8.   Tell the truth. Or at least don’t lie. Before your head starts spinning, think about this for a minute. Then, tell the truth to yourself and others. Peterson says, “If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. Try telling the truth if you cling desperately to an ideology or wallow in nihilism. If you feel weak, confused, rejected, desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. As broken humans, we need truth, love, and hope. The beauty of the Gospel is that Jesus offers that.”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6. NLT

And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.
John 8:32 NLT

9.   Assume the person you are listening to knows something you don’t. Two ears and one mouth is an excellent cue on how to live your life. Try to go into every conversation as someone expecting to learn something new. Try listening without formulating a response when you are in a conversation.

If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:13 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,
slow to speak, slow to anger.
James 1:19 ESV

10.       Be precise in your speech. Avoid being vague or talking in obliques. Instead, be clear in your communications, making sure the other person knows what you mean. One of the things I still carry with me from my years in the military is that when I don’t understand what someone said, I automatically ask, “Say again?” I realize this may rub against your personality style, and it does not mean you have to be harsh, but you need to be understood.

Too much talk leads to sin.
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut
Proverbs 10:19 NLT

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Proverbs 15:28 ESV

11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. Let kids do what they do. My ten-year-old granddaughter is this wonderful young lady who has grown up with girls. The other night we had her family over. She and I were talking about how rowdy 12-year-old boys could be. She said, “They’re crazy!” Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls. There is a fundamental biological difference, so let kids be kids. As a man, I particularly appreciated this rule. Because of divorces, latch-key kids, and many other things in our society, there is a lack of competent risk-taking men in today’s world. More than at any time in my seventy years, I see men shirking responsibility and taking the easy path. Let’s let our kids be kids!

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:11 NLT

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger
by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline
and instruction that comes from the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 NLT

12. Pet a cat when you encounter one in the street. Please make sure to take advantage of the point here. Petting a cat, unless you deal with ailurophobia (fear of cats), can be a soothing experience. I prefer petting dogs because they are man’s best friend and are more civilized. On the other hand, cats are a mystery; they seem to tolerate us and often act antisocial. Should you attempt to call a cat on the street, it may come toward you or act like you do not exist. One way to consider this advice is to be mindful of the moment. Appreciate the little things.

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Psalm 24:1-3 NLT