Judy and I have developed the rewarding habit of walking the Paul Bunyan Trail each day. It is built on an old railroad bed that takes us into the woods, giving us a real sense of being with the Lord in nature. We are blessed as we share these little journeys together. God has given me a wonderful soulmate to walk with through life together.
Often we meet new people on our walks. In particular, one man (David) has become a new friend to me. David has been going through some significant trials over the past year. But his experience has “awakened” a fresh, new openness to the work of God in his own heart. What a joy it is to meet a man whose “spiritual receiver” is pointed upward, not bent inward or toward things below.
The metaphor “On the Trail” came to me while writing a note to David. In him, I have found – on the trail – a male spiritual companion. This reminds me of the early church. As believers increased and became more visible in the culture, they became known as “the way.” We read in Acts 19:9, “…Some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the way.” Later we are told, “About that time there arose a great disturbance about the way (19:23).” Paul in his preaching, further acknowledged, “I persecuted the followers of this way to their death” (Acts 22:4).
Men, I hope you have other brothers on the trail with you, with their spiritual antennas open to the Lord, who are walking in “the way.” Men tend to be Lone Rangers when it comes to the spiritual life. But I must warn you: don’t become a casualty in the coming days.
You could very well become wounded warrior – or worse yet, missing in action, taken out by the enemy of your soul. You are going to need support to stand firm in the spiritual battle that is coming. Paul exhorts us, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the evil day comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).
Be vigilant: don’t be taken out by wounds to your soul. Our enemy works in the hidden life of the soul; in those areas of our inner being buried out of sight because we find them hard to manage. Our spiritual self-improvement projects will not bring healing to these wounds of the soul. Men need each other to fight this hidden battle. The enemy wants to isolate men by enticing them to live life superficially.
Just for example, how do men deal with pornography? This curse on our culture is “taking out” a lot of men. Their thought lives and imaginations have crippled the vitality and light of their witness. They live in shame and frustration, while pretending to be clean, pure and upright before the Lord. These men need other warriors who can help with mending their “broken” and “fractured” hearts. Beyond that, it could be lustful thoughts, anger, unforgiveness, baggage from the past, whatever… So find a soulful man, a brother in the Lord who is strong and courageous enough to fight the inner battles with you.
As David, my friend said, “Imagine no lifeline wandering in spiritual darkness, sinking in a runaway ship, no one to pray for you. God, thank you for bringing a spiritual counselor, whose faith and knowledge opens closed doors. A light at night whose finest day is yet unknown.” Thank you, Lord, for my new soulmate.