The Creed of Manhood
Have you ever approached a situation where the right answer lay hidden, only to be discovered in hind sight, when right and wrong were hard to determine and save but a slight nudge in your spirit towards one choice, you were all but lost as to the correct choice to choose? I know I have. A few months ago when meeting with my men’s group, we spoke of the need to have a written statement that would guide our lives. One very personal to each of us, that we would write and live by no matter what. I encouraged each of the men to write what we would come to call our creeds. As the early church had the apostle’s creed, we decided to write creeds that we would read every day, and come to memorize them as guides to our lives. Several of the guys shared theirs with me, and I have their approval to share theirs. These are possible examples of a creed that one may write.
Some may be more spiritual, like this one, written by my close friend Ethan Scott:
“I will quit running from my weaknesses;
For in my weakness God is the strongest,
And through my weakness, God shines the brightest.
I will quit hiding my faith to avoid awkwardness,
For I know there is a greater purpose than to live in comfort
I will not take offense when others wrong me;
To take offense will make me no more-godly than the world,
And will hinder God’s witness in my life.
I will give generously, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I will love others as I love myself,
For God is love, therefore, love lives in me.
I will find my value as a child of God, as an image bearer of Christ.
For these cannot be changed by the sin and trial in this life.
I will live as a man washed by the blood of Christ,
And live in confidence that the Father sees me as righteous.
For Jesus has taken my condemnation on Himself, and I am truly free.”
Others may be more of a statement, like this one that my brother Caleb Fowler wrote:
“I live in the midst of a culture characterized by social stratification and status;
a culture that judges first the size of a man’s wallet before the quality of his character
, a culture that values fame, success and wealth over dignity, honesty and integrity
, a culture, indeed confused, continually falsifying the veracity of the values that are core to our being. Consequently, we find ourselves in a culture of compromise, passively forced upon venality for the sake of conformity. Thus, leaving so many perplexed, torn, and dumbfounded; unable to define their own identity, we are left with a society overwhelmed by disparity, silently yet eagerly crying out, “WHO AM I?”
Who am I? First and foremost, I am a child of God and an ambassador of Christ, and though I may be in this world, I choose not to be of it. My identity is defined by no one without my authorization. I will not allow myself to be swayed by the frail opinion of man. I am not subject to the twisted mentality of this world, nor will I compromise my character for the sake of conformity. I am faithful to my Creator because He alone has given me purpose and a calling; it is for this reason that I find my identity in Him only. It is for this reason that I will choose the higher road when I have been kicked down.
Because I am integrity
I am steadfastness
I am loyalty
I am honor
I am sincerity
I am patience
I am honest to a fault
Above all else, I am a son of God.
A creed is essential to any man who wants to be bigger than himself. You have to be driven from within, and unless you establish what that driving force is, it will not survive or will run out of fuel.
One of my favorite creeds to ever hear is the one that my brother Samuel Fowler wrote. It is passionate and poetic, and thankfully he agreed to let me share it with you.
“I am a product of the Master. Uniquely and eloquently crafted in the likeness of His image. Sent to this Earth to be a representation of His Love. I am endowed with the essence of His life, set forth on a journey equipped with skills, characteristics, and tools that coupled together are capable of accomplishments much larger than I.
The intellect that takes dominion over all that I am is a gift of nature, an accolade attributable to nurture, and an imparted glimpse of His wisdom. From where do I draw the passion to live, the energy to love, and the understanding that I am His? None-other than the relentless beating heart that was placed within the confines of my being. This tool I have yet to fully discover, nay, I have yet to start to uncover. I do know that it is through living from the heart I will be fully alive. I am not crutched by “I want” and bound to “I must”. I am free, therefore I desire.
The hands that I have make me who I am. They are the tool that will accompany me from the cradle to the legacy. By them I will meet beggars and kings, they carry the band of life’s most weighted commitment, with them I will help the needy, with them I will embrace my offspring, because of them I will be wealthy, and with them raised I will humbly be broken before my Creator. This vessel I encompass is intertwined with marrow and integrity. Inseparable they have become. Forged by the handiwork of my Master, through death they will remain.
At the inception of my creation I was destined to a higher standard. I was enlightened of this calling – called out by this challenge. Through the adolescent years of my youth I was searching for purpose, guidance, and identity. As I cried out to my Father in Heaven to reveal my destiny to me He answered by showing me what He had already imprinted on my heart. Excellence. In its purest form it is nearly unattainable. It is an ideology that must be unwaveringly pursued, undoubtedly sought after, and never denied. Because in its denial it ignites the disease of compromise, the onset of mediocre, the disgusting of average.
What legacy will I live? What legacy will I leave? For now it is unknown, trapped between His Holy presence and the understanding I am limited to. It will manifest – as a vessel of my Creator it will be to His glory. It will be through dedication, honor, and servant hood that I leave my mark on this Earth. Through the transfer of my soul from this realm to the next I will finish my trial and step into the destiny that His hands designed me to fulfill. At the precipice of my eternal life I will kneel at the foot of His throne a Servant, a Son, a Warrior.”
The men in my family have always stuck together. We have been fathered by our Alpha, we have faced adversity side-by-side. We have challenged and fought each other. We have grown together and defended each other. We are family, like a pack of wolves or a pride of lions. We invest in the young, and we never stop pouring into those we are charged with. Because as wisely said by my father, “if the ones under you don’t grow, you are the one who will be held responsible.”
I will share mine with you, but remember to see these less as the way you must write it and more as merely an example, for each man is his own creed.
“This is my creed, the statement of my life. I am first and foremost a Son of God and a servant of my Lord, Jesus Christ. I will pursue God and His kingdom above all things, recognizing my worth through the redeeming work of His Son on the cross, for it is He who sets me free. I will pursue His excellence in all things, both tangible and intangible that I choose to venture into. I will always choose love, I will not abandon my divinity by succumbing to the temptations and will of my flesh. I will deny myself the crutch of anger, hatred, greed, lust and pride. By the authority and empowerment of Christ, I will stand above these things in triumph. I will be a man of outstanding character, not only pursuing righteousness in the light, but in the darkness as well. I will not relent to the temptations and ways of this world, but instead I will uphold what is right and what is true in the eyes of The Lord. I will stand against injustice. I will battle evil, even that evil which has been tolerated by the world and deemed as “okay” or even “good.” I will not relent the growth of my faith.
I have died to myself, and carry on His work in me, recognizing the power of His death and resurrection in my life. I will search for the Holy Spirit in all things. In every word, situation, struggle and victory, He will be my focus, and His voice will be my guide. I will not let circumstance dictate my life, I will overcome adversity. I will be a man of humility. I will give thanks to God for all things in my life, for the things that are good, and for the works He will do in the things that are not, for He makes all things good. I know that I am above no man, and in my humanity I am above no act of evil or hardship or struggle. It is with this heart that I will approach all people and situations, recognizing that only in Him can I stand above these things and overcome this world. I will cherish each and every soul that I encounter, recognizing that their spirit is actually His Spirit, and that God may be found in all people, both whole and broken, guarded and open, there is no soul beyond His reach. For His love, conquers all.”
& Isaiah 61:1-3
I hope while reading these you think of a creed that you would like to write for yourself. I know this is more of a manly blog post and these are some manly creeds, but I hope my female readers will highly consider doing this, and encourage their husbands/boyfriends/fiancés and any other men in their life to read this and write a creed. This is not just for men. Each and every one of us need a statement that we can read each day, that we can look back on when we are met with those tough decisions and that we can memorize and have so ingrained in our system so as to live by it each and every moment. I hope this has inspired you to spend a day or two thinking of what matters most to you about yourself and the legacy you will leave, because traveling the oceans of life without a map is like traversing the seas steered only by which way the wind pushes you.
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