Victory or defeat is determined in most men’s lives by the friends they choose.
That powerful fact is being played out in your life right now, with consequences for the Kingdom of God. God calls his dangerous good to examine their first circle of friendships to determine if the driving force behind them is Jesus Christ and if the goal of that fellowship of men is to become like him. I like the relationship X-ray Timothy Keller advises all followers of Jesus to put their friendships through: “Real spiritual friendship is eagerly helping one another know, serve, love, and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways.”
What does your X-ray reveal? For the dangerous good, resembling Christ is God’s main goal in your life.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
“All things” means we do not compartmentalize God’s purposes. All circumstances and relationships are sacred, working toward the goal of Christlikeness. “Many brothers” means God wants a movement of Christlikeness that gives him glory in the world. Consider your community of male friendships: They are either dulling you to God’s vision or sharpening you to His goals.
Seeing your friendships in this bigger picture changes everything about how you approach your friendships as opposed to your acquaintances and neighbors whom God has called you to love and reach for Jesus. God says there are eternal consequences to the company you keep and that reaching His destination will be directly affected by the nature of your affiliations.
“So, you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.”
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Walking is a biblical metaphor for friendship; experiencing life together is a journey. Let it sink into your mind: Your God is a friendship — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and He has made you in His image for the purpose of experiencing friendship at this same level. Simple, strong, and transformational friendship is life. That is why when we are not doing relationships right, we feel like we are not doing life right!
Intentionality in a dangerous good circle of friends involves honesty with God, honesty with yourself, and ultimately some life-changing honesty. The stakes are that high, and your community of men is that powerful in God’s Kingdom agenda for this hour in history. The rails dangerous community runs on — taking you to Christlikeness — are clear, few, strong, and transformational. But for these same reasons, they will demand discipline and faith.
Christlikeness through community demands discipline because, unlike other relationships that are automatically built into your life fabric (for example, marriage, family, and work), friendships require intentionality. Friendships are usually the first thing that gets squeezed out of life. To this end, dangerous good communities will most likely involve a lifestyle change that needs to be valued and guarded. You are going to have to say no to some things in order to say yes to more regular, intentional, Spirit-empowered friendships.
To do so will demand faith because you are going to have to give up trusting yourself (which ironically makes the acronym “g.u.t.s.”) and believe God will shape and sharpen you in this community. Your space will be invaded. You will be known. You will be challenged to become like Christ. Your maturity will be tested along with your commitment to grow. All of those things do require some spiritual faith and personal guts. But, as you trust God by trusting the family of brothers in Christ, your character will keep pace with your influence, your leadership will be less synthetic and more authentic, and God’s Word will cease being just good information and come alive as His direct revelation to you. Dangerous good communities of men are composed of men with daring faith that pushes their ranks to stretch in order to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”
If there is never an uncomfortable moment for you in a dangerous good community of men, then you are not with God’s rapscallions up to no bad. There must be tension inside of you in order for an advance of Christlikeness to take place in you.
Tension means something is going to happen.
Taken from Dangerous Good: The Coming Revolution of Men Who Care by Kenny Luck. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Kenny Luck is the founder and president of Every Man Ministries (EMM). He previously served as a men’s minister at Saddleback Church and is an ECPA Platinum Award winner and best-selling author of 23 books, including his most recent release, “Dangerous Good: The Coming Revolution of Men Who Care.” Via his publishing and digital platforms, Luck reaches more than 100,000 men each week through his live-streaming events, global podcast audience, daily devotion outreach, and church and individual subscriber downloads each week. The weekly EMM Facebook live streams of his men’s meetings are viewed all around the world. He resides in Trabuco Canyon, California with Chrissy, his wife of 29 years, and they have three grown children.??