It has taken me years to understand that my perspective on life and even my view of myself affects me. This C.S. Lewis quote is so profound we need to really let it sink in:
For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are. ~ C.S. Lewis
I think we men have a hard time embracing our identity in Christ—what Lewis calls “the sort of person you are.” This is because, throughout any given day, we hear different voices, real or perceived, that influence our perspective and our identity. There are five voices incessantly speaking—if not screaming—at men. Given the circumstances of a day, certain voices will be louder than others. But these voices have incredible power over a man’s perspective and his identity. They can direct our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. This means they have the potential to lead your life toward godliness or destruction. But I believe if you can grow in awareness when you hear them, identify them, and redirect them, then you will experience renewal in your mind. So here is one perspective on life I believe all men hear.
“The Man That I Think I Am”
Listen to this request by James and John to Jesus in Mark 10:37.
And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”—Mark 10:37
Every man wants to be legendary. We want to hold a trophy, stand on the platform, and be praised by fans on the world’s stage. We want to sit on the king’s throne, and here, in this passage, James and John disclose this desire.
Yet we all do this. On some days, you’re going to think you’re a legend in your own mind. This insidious thought is a dangerous voice for men to follow. It’s evidence of our deepest arrogance, and it must be addressed before our imminent fall. Pride comes in many forms, but it ultimately plants a thought in our mind, which impacts our perspective on life: our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. The result of this is rather ugly and makes us look stupid—especially in our relationship with Christ. I wonder if James and John felt stupid asking this question? Or if they were so intoxicated with arrogance that it didn’t even register? I really don’t know, but I know this, the only trophy they held on this day was the award for being the “Most Stupid.”
But this happens to all of us. Here’s just one example of how it happens. We grow in mastery over time at some skill, talent, or gift, and then at some point, we have the thought that we have gotten where we are by our own ability—and the voice of “the man that I think that I am,” begins whispering to us. It starts with just a whisper. We begin to ignore the fact that God gave and dispersed each of these gifts to us as he saw fit. That he is the Creator and the King, and he wants to use us and our gifts for the benefit of his kingdom. They were not given to us to build our own kingdom and thus establish ourselves as king.
You can discover other insights into godly perspectives regarding our mindsets in Vince Miller’s book, Mindset for Men.