The Four Faces of Manhood: The Face of the Friend - Part 4

Part 4 of 4

In this fourth and final post in this series, we’re concluding our discussion on this critical topic of the Four Faces of Manhood. So if you haven’t read Parts 1, 2, and 3, check out my posts on The Face of the King, The Face of the Warrior, and The Face of the Lover before diving into today’s post, The Face of a Friend.

Real friends are a rare commodity these days. So many men, even in our churches, just don’t have close friends. And the reason is that the kind of soul-level connections a close friendship requires just isn’t a priority for most men. So they live in this tension between wanting deep friendships and having superficial relationships, because they don’t make time for anything that goes beyond the surface.

The result is that they’re known on the outside by many, and known deeply by no one. No one is entrusted with the secret things in their lives. This means there’s no one there to speak the truth in love when they veer off track.

A number of years ago, I took my son on a mountain climbing expedition in the Tetons, and I’d never climbed a mountain like the ones you see there. It was new territory, literally, for me! So we hired a guide, and one of the first things he did was connect us all together with a rope before we began our ascent up the face of the mountain.

The rock beneath our feet on that climb was smooth, almost slippery, and there was one section where we basically had to pin ourselves right up against the mountain and walk along a lip no wider than a few feet to get past it. In front of us was a 2,000-foot drop, and I remember being so grateful that I was connected to my son and the other climbers that day!

Can you imagine, though, how foolish it would have been for me to say at that point, “You know, I don’t need this rope. I’ll just cut it and step out there on my own”? It would have been deadly!

What’s true of mountain-climbing is true of manhood. You can’t climb the mountain of manhood disconnected from other men. If you’re going to be the kind of man you're supposed to be, you’ve got to be connected to others who have your back.

I’m talking about men who can speak into your life.

Men who will call out the best in you.

Men who admire your efforts and will encourage you.

And yes, men who will have tough conversations when necessary.

Because that’s what someone who wears the Face of a Friend does.

One of the things I love about the men’s group meetings at our church is being able to see deep in the hearts of the men who are there, and seeing that they have a connection that goes beyond the superficialities of life. This is something every man really yearns for, but sadly, it’s something so few have.

I love what Proverbs 17:17 says about the Face of a Friend: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” And then similarly, in Proverbs 27:17 (ESV), it says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Being the man God wants you to be means wearing the Face of a Friend. It means being someone who notices others, and having someone in your life who notices you. It means taking the risk and reaching out in times of adversity and hardship. It means cultivating relationships that sharpen you and others’ spiritual lives.

The Face of the King… the Face of the Warrior… the Face of the Lover… and the Face of a Friend. These Four Faces of Manhood are so much more than keys to a happier life or a better marriage. They’re integral to who we as men desire to be — and the roles God has designed us to play in our relationships. 

These four faces are exactly what our world today is desperate to see in men. Like the four directions on a compass and the four seasons of the year, there is a balance and congruence between the king, warrior, lover, and friend. 

So today I want to ask you: When you look in the mirror, what face do you see? What face do you want to see? What are you going to do — today — to start seeing more of a king, warrior, lover, and friend when you look at your life?

Maybe it means joining a men’s group at your church. It might mean asking a few close buddies to commit to meeting regularly for coffee. It could mean just being more open in your current friendships. Whatever it might be, I encourage you to take that first step today. And just wait and see what Face of Manhood that God develops in your life.