Ever since he wrote and published the renowned book ‘The Man in the Mirror’, Patrick Morley has been well-known and much sought after as a disciple-maker in men’s ministry. That book reached three million copies in print, and since then, he has written nineteen more books, encompassing a whole range of areas in the field, including sustainable family and church growth.
Besides being a writer, Patrick is the Founder and Chairman of the Man in the Mirror movement and has been teaching a weekly Bible Study to thousands of men for over 25 years. Recently, in a men’s conference held in DUMC, a rare opportunity was given to Malaysian men to come together to learn from him the secrets to being victorious people living the kind of lives that God has designed and intended for us.
Patrick shared that through all his years of ministry and through all his meetings with different men, he has found that a majority of men struggle with one common issue. Many of us are tired and we just get by in life the best way we can. And it’s not just physical tiredness; many men are also tired emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
We all want the same things in life; we want a companion who will stand alongside us, a healthy family, being able to provide for them, a secure job, and a belief that will make sense of everything that is going on around us daily. Many of us may strive to obtain these things but these are not the things that will necessarily bring happiness and joy.
In a testimony, Patrick shared that weariness is a real problem whether we are achieving our goals or not. Ironically, he found that the reason he was unhappy was precisely because he was achieving his career goals.
This is actually not as strange as it sounds. Many men in the past have realized that there is something more significant than the daily rat race. It was said that Alexander, the legendary conqueror, wept because he thought there were no more worlds to conquer, and King Solomon near the end of his life, despite all his accomplishments, wrote that all is vanity. It seems on the surface that there is no way out of this human condition.
Yet, when we look at lives of people like Sir Edmund Hillary, what drove them to endure all the hardships and tough training, just to be at the top of a mountain for 15 minutes or less? What drives many men to compete, for example working 12 hours a day and 6 days a week just to win a sales competition and so on, just to have a few minutes of fame?
At the heart of it all, all men are searching for one central thing: significance, and to succeed in a way that does not really matter equates to failure all the same. Many men are tired because they are frustrated with the lack of meaning and purpose in their lives. In order to get out of the rut, we need to understand how to find that significance.
Patrick shared that there are two ways we can approach this search and they’re both fundamentally different. The difference is in how they go about satisfying their need to be significant. One man strives, yearning and pressing for that house, that woman, that position in the company (all of which are always beyond the grasp) and ever a higher aim but never feeling satisfied. Another man pursues his significance, not as an ambition, but as a calling and a purpose that is grounded to the source of his life.
The man who has understood this calling understands that because God the Father has lavished His love on him through His Son Jesus Christ, and because the Father has showered such affection and uncontaminated love on him and has washed away every wrong thing that he has or ever will do, he does not need to perform or do anything to make God love him more. God loves us simply because He has made us. This man is overwhelmed with a spirit of gratitude rather than ambition, and the overflow in his life originates from the relationship he has found with Jesus. He can’t wait to see what God has in store for him. He finds his significance in the way he can respond to God, doing what God has purposed for him to do, and being who God created him to be. For Christ has already told us that apart from Him we can do nothing that is of any real significance (John 15:5).
A man’s worldview shapes his thinking and perspective. Patrick imparted that there are 4 universal purposes God has designed for every man. Two of these have to do with relationship while the other two are related to our tasks.
The first of these universal purposes is to love the King with all of our heart, soul, and being (Matthew 22:37). This is the number one purpose that God has designed for all men; to be in a relationship of love with God, being loved by God, and loving God in return so much that it flows into the things we do daily. Christ has said in John 8:32-32 that if we hold true to His teaching, we will be His disciple and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. May we have the passion for God in the same way that Jeremiah – despite all his trials – did when he wrote in Jeremiah 20:9:
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
The second of these universal purposes is to love the King’s children (John 13:34-35). Notice that Christ did not say the greatest commandment is to perfect our theology. There are some questions that we will never know the answers to. While theology is invaluable (for right believing leads to right behaviour) we must not lose sight on what takes precedence. Christ has called us to love the people around us, and all of us are called to this.
This will lead to the third universal purpose; the Great Commission. Patrick expressed that the dialogue and the calling that Christ gave to the disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 is the most impactful one in history, for it has mobilized billions of people and hour. We are not created to go through life alone. We have a mandate; to leave a lasting legacy for our wives, children, neighbours, coworkers, church, community, and nations. Discipleship simply means reaching out to those in need of help, answering to the opportunities that the Holy Spirit has given to us. ‘All forces can be resisted but one of the most difficult to resist is love,’ Patrick conveyed.
Finally, we also have a Cultural Commission. God has designed for each of us a personal calling and this calling takes place where we each live our daily lives. There is no secular occupation in God’s Kingdom. All work is holy to God. Wherever we are placed, we are not there by accident. We are called to transform the environment we are in. We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).
There are 2 central questions that determine how we pursue significance. The first, ‘Who am I?’, determines the meaning of life and our identity. The second, ‘What is the Purpose of My Live?’, determine the direction and our task. But until we understand these questions in a new light (‘Whose am I?’ and ‘Whose is the Purpose of My Live?’) we will continue to keep going around in a circle of labour that will lead to nowhere.
How do we find lasting significance? It is when we find release; through peace, joy, and hope. A servant ask ‘What does the Master need?’. It is the same with Christ our Lord and Saviour. Understanding these key questions will help us to find our personal calling and consecration. Genuine release comes when we tie our lives back to its Giver. For those who are already seeking significance in the right way, release blessing. For those who have strayed, return home. For those who have given up, remember that we are God’s beloved creation and masterwork. For those who are still seeking, seek the direction from God.
NOTE: All pictures kindly contributed by DUMC.
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