What’s the scariest enemy a man can face? Is it the army gathering on the horizon or the assassins sitting quietly behind the door?
Ultimately, the most disconcerting dangers are the ones you never see coming. How does a man after God’s own heart steal another man’s wife and then murder her husband?
The most devastating mistakes a man can make are rarely the ones he anticipates. Every once in awhile, it’s important to reevaluate your day-to-day existence – to take a look at the trajectory your daily choices have laid out for you. Where are you headed, and is that really where you want to end up?
The answers are important, and that’s why we’re looking at 10 devastating mistakes every man faces but few see coming.
1) Sacrificing Your Creativity
“In the beginning, God created…”
You are fashioned in the image of a Creative Being. You are inherently creative, and your creativity demands an outlet. It may not be art or music, but each of us has a creative drive that absolutely must be utilized if we are to ever feel fulfilled.
It is far too easy to get caught up in what you “have to do,” what is expected of you, or what seems to be… just… how things are.
Your life is exactly what you choose it to be, and you won’t be happy unless your creativity has an outlet. Sacrificing your creativity for other life priorities is a gradual shift and a life-killing mistake you never see coming.
2. Existing For Achievement
God created you for eternal intimacy with Himself. You have all eternity to do. How absurd to think, in light of that eternity, that God gave us this wink of an existence on Earth for the purpose of achievement.
You were made to be… not to do. You are fulfilled in that place of being one with Him.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with achievement, and the Father wants to dream and partner with you in accomplishing the greatest things this world has ever seen. But accomplishment is the side product rather than the goal. You will never be satisfied by achievement. Every mountain top simply gives you a better view of the next highest mountain.
Your joy will come in His Presence, and nestled in His arms, there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
3. Seduced By Convenience
Few desires are as seducing as the yearning for convenience. Many will yearn for the glories of victory but, at first sign of the smallest battle, will turn around, walk back through the door, sit on the couch, and turn on the TV.
The internal drive to maintain the convenience of your status quo is profoundly powerful. It will cripple your life if you let it.
You may not exist to achieve, but you were born for greatness. The King of Kings lives inside of you, calling you gently to take His hand and walk in power as Jesus did.
But it doesn’t just happen. Sometimes it requires you to step out upon the water. To step out of your safe place. To go where only He can sustain you.
Do not be seduced by convenience. It will rob you of your intended growth. It will snatch away the desires of your heart. When you feel like turning back, set your gaze back on His face and step forward.
4) Poisoned By Competition
Let’s be honest. As men, we seem to be programmed to exist in a pecking order. The moment we see another man, we begin mentally sizing each other up.
The pecking order changes depending on the turf. We have one for the basketball court. One for the weight room. One for the office. One regarding the ladies. Even one inside the church.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with our competitive drive, today’s society has turned life into a competition. We measure our manhood relative to our standing in a superficial race with the man next to us. Contending for dominance in a game is exciting and results in a good workout. Contending for dominance within the church is disturbingly immature and results in a nation of divided, immature man-babies playing an infinite game of “my daddy can beat up yours.”
I believe in established order and authority within the church, but mature men of God have no interest in their personal authority. They desire God’s authority to be manifest in the Earth, and they see themselves as humble participants in the Bride’s joint pursuit of Christ. Real men don’t work alone. Real men are delighted to be part of the Church. Real men don’t compete; they simply pursue.
5) Enticed By Wealth
One of the biggest tests a man can face is the acquisition of more money. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a jump from $2,000 to $5,000 or $500,000 to $1M, more money means more options. It means new decisions to make about what is truly most important.
Once you start making X amount of money, anything less can be disconcerting. Even men of character can find themselves tempted to chase the extra dollars they once had or aspire to even greater numbers.
Money, like achievement, is relative. There is always more to acquire, and we are never more satisfied once we have acquired it. Unlike achievement, a responsible life requires the acquisition of money, on some level, and finding the line between responsibility and infatuation can be tricky.
Ultimately, the truth is profoundly simple. When you understand both the love and glory of your Heavenly Father, material wealth becomes a triviality at best. He is the Provider, and the very universe itself belongs to Him. He is our source of real wealth. Don’t be fooled by the figures in your bank account. They are literally nothing more than figures.
6) Pursuing Prestige
Even more powerful than the pull of wealth or the drive to achieve is the desire for prestige. As men, we want to be admired. We want to be esteemed. We want respect. We want to be the top of the pecking order in the eyes of men.
I don’t really have anything smart to tell you about this. All I know is that at some point in your life, you’ll realize how beautiful your Savior is. You’ll have a revelation of His profound goodness. His faithfulness. His kindness. His incredible genius and unparalleled might. You’ll marvel at His majesty and lose, for a moment, all interest in man’s opinion of you. You will see that He, and He alone, is worthy to receive blessing and honor and glory and power.
You will feel that awe for a moment, or perhaps two, and then it will be up to you how to proceed. Will you jump right back into your obsession with you? Or once the emotion passes, when the temptation to magnify yourself in your own mind arises, will you choose to humble yourself and worship His Name?
Who cares about me? Who cares about you? We are but men, formed from the dust of the ground. Who are we to seek prestige? He is the Name above EVERY Name, and lifting His Name high brings us to the pinnacle of our existence.
7) Selling Your Integrity
When it comes to your integrity, you choose the price point of your own value. How much does it take to buy your integrity? At what point will you sell yourself?
Is it $5 in too much change at the taco stand? Is it $3,950 over-claimed on your tax return? Is it $5,000,000 in book sales?
You determine what your integrity is worth, and every man will be offered more than he can afford to turn down at some point in his life. It may seem like a cheap thing to sell in the moment, but at the end of the day, you are who you see when you look in the mirror.
8) Early Retirement
I’m not talking about financial retirement. I’m talking about retirement from the battle. I’m talking about those who win a victory and then live the rest of their lives recounting how amazing that victory was.
If your goal is applause, the motivation to step back out on the water ceases once you’ve captured the applause of men. Anyone can take a chance when he has nothing to lose. But what about the man who has everything? What about the rich young ruler? Once you’ve had a few wins – once you have something to lose – it’s all too easy to take an early retirement.
I love a good story – a good testimony – but I’ve met far too many men with nothing but stories to tell. I want to keep fighting, to keep risking, to keep stretching. I want to continuously jump where only He can catch me, not for the feeling of accomplishment, but because I simply must be where He is.
Don’t make the mistake of taking an early retirement. Don’t let the thrill of victory motivate a bargain with Convenience.
9) Settling for Less
You are a son of the Most High. The inheritance of the Kingdom, to which you have full access, is simply mind-numbing in its expanse. The very best is available to you.
Too often we settle for less. We settle for less from ourselves. We settle for less from others. We even settle for expecting less from God.
If we truly understood what’s available to us, we wouldn’t settle for less like the prodigal son or waste our years waiting like his older brother. Whether it’s our job, our relationships, our character, or even our weekends, we settle for less because deep down, we don’t truly believe we can attain the best. We don’t truly believe that God is who He says He is, and we don’t truly believe the riches of His grace and goodness are available to us.
When we are caught up in Him, A) we no longer doubt our ability to attain His best, and B) we are completely satisfied in the moment, eliminating the need to take matters into our own hands.
Don’t settle for less than His best.
10) Forgetting Eternity
At the end of the day, we were made for eternal intimacy with the King of Kings. This world is an inferior reality.
How tragic would it be to live a “successful” life, and in the end, realize, for all your achievements, that your castles were ultimately built in sand.
He is the prize. I can’t say that enough. Nothing else is even worth including in the same sentence. If we live; it’s His love. If we die; it’s His love. Comparatively, there is nothing else.
The worst mistake a man can make is to forget eternity – to plow through life accomplishing the most meaningless of goals. Our lives were made to echo through eternity. We have been given the privilege of participating with the Creator in His divine purpose, and what a tragedy it would be to waste our lives on the trivial.
Watchmen On The Wall
These are 10 mistakes you will most assuredly face. The key to victory is whether or not you see them coming.
You have no reason to fear. His perfect love removes all need for fear. You are, however, commanded to be alert and sober-minded. You must live intentionally. You must keep a wary eye on your weaknesses and, more importantly, on your strengths. You MUST stay in community. A threefold cord is not quickly broken (Eccl 4:12).
In the Presence of a victorious God, the only personal battles we fail to win are the ones in which we fail to engage. He is looking to show Himself strong on our behalf. Watch. Choose to engage. The victory is already yours.
What do you think? Have you faced these potential pitfalls? Would you add an additional challenge to the list? Tell us in the comments below.
AHHH what an amazing article. Jacob your writings are truly a gift.
Thanks Corey! Much appreciated.
This was powerful and encouraging. These are mistakes we all struggle with at some point in our lives. Through God’s grace, we can overcome these and live as the men we are meant to be.
I’ll be sharing this article on our ministry’s social network pages. This article will be a great source of encouragement for many.
Thanks for the feedback. I hope it brings encouragement and helps eliminate fear.
You did a great job at breaking out these common issue that
we all probably face at some point or another.
For me, the biggest battle I face, based on this list, would be existing
for achievement. It’s hard sometimes to balance
proactivity and motivation with pursuing Christ. What I’ve found for me is it comes down to my motives. Once my motive shifts from
pursuing a relationship with Christ and/or helping others do the same to
gaining wealth or status, I know it’s time to take a step back to refocus on
why I’m doing what I do.
That’s a great point Grant. It’s a fine line in some ways and super obvious in other ways. Definitely comes down to motivation and heart posture, like you said.
Wow did you deliver, Jacob. I have to read this a few times to soak in all of this counsel. Wise, wise, wise.
Thanks Skip! So glad it spoke to you!
The ability to see opportunities, to not fear or lack confidence in desire to achieve success through our Lord and Savior. Faith and trust is secured in our actions.
That’s a big one! My biggest fear for a long time was missed opportunity. I was mortified I would somehow sabotage my destiny. But the more I get to know my Heavenly Father, the more I realize how hard it is for me to reject his goodness. It’s just so compelling and satisfying, and when I screw up, he “picks up my tab.”
Solid assessment! Exposing the subtle and sometimes hidden stumbling blocks begins the process of overcoming each. There is a sermon in every one of these ten points!
Thanks Mark! I’d like to preach those sermons at some point.
Excellent summary! I found this to be very inspirational as New Years approaches and I reflect on my walk with Christ.
Glad it spoke to you Kris!
7-10 are my daily battles… Here’s to living an uncompromised life!
I’m right there with you James! Thanks for commenting!
I hate that I’m not alone in this…but it’s what makes things bearable, you know what I mean?
Jacob, in #10 you talk about plowing through life accomplishing the most meaningless of goals. What goals are you talking about here? What kinds of goals do you think are meaningful? I’m working through developing some goals of my own and as I’ve been doing this I have reread your article several times to see if any of these devastating mistakes have crept in. Maybe you could do an article on goal setting? Thanks!
Hey Fidel, great question! My intent isn’t to define for you what is meaningful or meaningless. That’s honestly up to you. My intent is to highlight that there are things that are important, and then there are things that are more important.
To elaborate more on goal setting, sometimes it’s good to take away the auto-approved goals that we often live with and allow ourselves to define what is truly meaningful to us.
For example, getting a promotion at work is an example of a common goal many of us share. For one person, this might represent an incredibly meaningful goal that has to do with success in a career they are passionate about. For another, this might not be nearly as meaningful, as they hate their job and are really just there to earn a living.
While neither scenario invalidates this as a goal, it would really be a bummer if the person in the 2nd scenario missed out on goals that actually were meaningful to him because he spent all his time achieving goals that were meaningless.
Thanks for your awesome reply! I’m just curious, but do you know of any other sites, resources, etc.. for men that want to grow in all areas of their lives (God, family, etc.). I thought I’d ask because I figured you probably know of several that you could recommend. Thanks!
Jacob, this is AWESOME thank you. Definitely sharing… #2 is the challenge for me. Distracted with so much to do (looking like favor) and achievement!
Thanks Andy! I’m right there with you. I alternate between #2 and #3. One day, I have to tell myself to chill out and just “be”. The next day, I have to kick myself out of the comfort zone lol.
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