Watch the Wild at Heart Trailer
Where does a man go to develop his full potential? Does he find it in college? Will his adventures lead him to greatness? Will the opinion of others give a complete picture of who he is and can become?
We can learn some things about ourselves in each of these locations, but to trust in them alone leaves our focus incomplete. God alone knows everything about who we are and what we can become. King David understood this when he wrote,
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139:14
God wants to develop His men, and the only way for this happen is for us to invest ourselves in scripture and prayer. John Eldredge has created a guide for men to experience spiritual growth. Wild At Heart helps build men into a Band of Brothers, prepared for the works which God prepared in advance for us. ~ Fred Bittner, FaithGateway Bible Study
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The Heart of a Man
Then God said, “Let Us make man in our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. — Genesis 1:26-27
Most of us know the oil level of our cars or the state of our investments better than we do the vitality or desires of our heart. And it’s completely understandable; there are many things set against you, many distractions and demands upon your life. But these distractions come at a cost: as we tend to our daily demands, we ignore our masculine heart.
In the first session of our series, Bart, Morgan, Craig, and Gary joined me for a day of horseback riding up in the Colorado Rockies and talking about the heart of a man.
Watch Part 1: The Heart of a Man
The major points are summarized here:
- God made the masculine heart and sets it within every man He creates.
- There is, therefore, something deep and true and universal to the masculine heart. And it’s been lost — or better, driven into hiding.
- You cannot get your masculine heart back through duty and obligation. You must pursue it with your deepest desires. What makes you come alive?
- Somewhere down in your heart are three core desires: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.
- God, too, has each of these longings lodged deep in His heart: the yearning for a battle to fight is deep in the heart of God. He, too, longs for adventure and risk — far more than we do. And He has a beauty to rescue, whom He pursues with amazing passion.
After watching the video segment, it should be clear that the men in this group have varying levels of comfort when it comes to riding horses. Some of us had a lot of experience on horseback. A few of us were very anxious about the day.
- With whom did you identify most when it comes to riding horses? Why?
- As you listened in on the conversation these men were having about the true nature of the masculine heart, what struck you as the most important, the most relevant point they made?
God made the masculine heart, set it within every man, and thereby offers him an invitation: Come, and live out what I meant you to be.
- The major theme of this book is the core desire of a man’s soul — a battle to fight, an adventure to live, a beauty to rescue. Can you identify these in your life? Where or how?
Craig talked about his boyhood neighborhood and how he and his friends loved to play army. His little platoon defended the neighborhood with popguns and tangerine grenades.
- What adventures or games did you play and love when you were a boy?
In the same way God called Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted and took Elijah into the wilderness to find his true destiny, He calls a man out of his comfort zone to discover who he is. It is in the wilderness that God shows us we have what it takes to live the very life for which God created us. Unless we step out into that adventure God has for us, we will never learn it anywhere else. It cannot be learned on the sofa.
- What comfort zone is God calling you out of?
- What adventure is He leading you into?
- Is it a tame, controllable adventure or a wild and unpredictable one?
- Walter Bruggerman describes God as “wild, unfettered, dangerous, and free.” Is that how you would describe the God you’ve been told about?
You remember that wild man Samson? He’s got a pretty impressive masculine résumé: killed a lion with his bare hands, pummeled and stripped thirty Philistines when they used his wife against him, and finally, after they burned her to death, he killed a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. Not a guy to mess with. But did you notice? All those events happened when “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him” (Judges 15:14, emphasis added). Now, let me make one thing clear: I am not advocating a sort of “macho man” image. I’m not suggesting we all head off to the gym and then to the beach to kick sand in the faces of wimpy Pharisees. I am attempting to rescue us from a very, very mistaken image we have of God — especially of Jesus — and therefore of men as His image-bearers. Dorothy Sayers wrote that the church has “very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah,” making Him “a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” Is that the God you find in the Bible?
“Desire” is central in mapping out your masculine journey. Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive: that’s what the world needs!
- Consider what makes you come alive. With that in mind, finish this sentence: “For the rest of my life, I want to _____________.”
- What, beginning this week, would that look like?
Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn. — Isaiah 51:1
If you truly want to embrace the untamed journey Christ has planned for you, you won’t be satisfied thinking about this just once a week. This section is designed for you to study the topic further on your own after your group meets. So make some time throughout the week (on your lunch break, instead of watching TV at night, or in the early morning) to read through these questions and consider what God is saying to you here.
- It can be very awkward for men to share their hearts. It’s slow going and uncomfortable — territory we’re not used to traversing. But the alternatives are to hide in isolation or live as an impostor, and who wants that?
- How did the group conversation and interaction go when you met? Did you find yourself reluctant to share your thoughts? Did you temper them, or do you regret saying too much?
- What did God say to you as you were meeting with the men? Did He impress anything on you during that time?
- What do you hope to achieve in this group? Do you have a goal in mind? Are you willing to let God change that goal, if that is His will?
The masculine heart needs a place where nothing is pre-fabricated, modular, nonfat, zip-locked, franchised, on-line, and microwavable. Where there are no deadlines, cell phones, or committee meetings. Where there is room for the soul. Where, finally, the geography around us corresponds to the geography of our heart.
There is the life we were meant for and the men we were created to be… and then there is the life we have and the men we find ourselves to be. They are often worlds apart.
- How is the man you find yourself to be different from the man you were created to be?
- At this stage of your life, what is your great battle? Is it on the surface (making more money, getting the kids to behave, reducing the hassles of life?), or is it deeper? Are you willing to share it with the men in your group?
- Where is your great adventure? What real risk have you been swept up into? (Is anything in your life more compelling than watching sports, following stocks, or viewing the adventures of others on TV?)
- And who is the beauty you are fighting for? (Is there a woman in your life who stirs you to leap through a ring of fire to win her?)
Dr. Tremper Longman III, the coauthor of Bold Love, wrote, “Virtually every book of the Bible — Old and New Testaments — and almost every page tells us about God’s warring activity.”
- Have you ever considered the Bible to be an account of a great battle that God Himself is fighting?
How does this help you interpret all that’s going on around you in your life today?
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Men, come share with us some of your answers to John’s questions and your thoughts on the video on our blog! We want to hear from you!