This current series of posts about the foundations for my God Buddy concept started with my favorite Bible verse, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man shall sharpen another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Another important step was becoming a more avid reader.
One of the books I read during my early involvement in the men’s group was The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face by Patrick Morley. I don’t remember how I came across a copy but I have read this book a few times since and continually find nuggets that help my growth as a godly man.
Leaders are Readers
President Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Since I was growing in my career at work, desiring to be the best father and husband, and getting more involved in the leadership of our men’s group, I figured it was time to increase my education and I should begin to read about these topics.
It is said that some of the greatest men the world has ever known are voracious readers. Teddy Roosevelt was said to read a book every morning. Microsoft’s Bill Gates reads a book a week. Entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Mark Cuban reads for 3 hours every day. Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk was once asked how he learned to build rockets, to which he replied, “I read books.”
Well, I never was an avid reader when I was younger and didn’t read much aside from the sports section in the local newspaper or the minimum required reading for school. Knowing the importance of reading, I began to educate myself on the nuances of being male since my wife and I were raising three young boys so I felt that reading up on the topic could help me become a better dad.
Reading about the Issues Men Face
Discussing the Bible in our men’s group and reading articles about the issues men face today also helped lead to developing and now refining my God Buddy concept. Given my own personal struggles, I wanted to help my kids become godly men and avoid some of the issues that plague so many men today (as I wrote about in Making the Case for God Buddies).
Some of what I began to read often came from one of America’s most respected authorities on the unique challenges and opportunities facing men, Patrick Morley.
Seeing the Man in the Mirror
In 1989, Morley wrote The Man in the Mirror based on his own search for purpose and a deeper relationship with God.
Back in the early 1980s, Pat was at the top of his game and the future looked bright. Or at least he thought so. He moved from one commercial real-estate success to the next and grew in prominence as a leader in the Orlando area. However, when Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, property valuations suddenly plummeted and Pat found himself struggling to keep his business afloat.
It was then that Pat stopped to take a serious look in the mirror. He discovered that the disease of success had taken root in him. (You can hear him tell the story on the Reinventure Me podcast). His inner examination eventually led to penning his ground-breaking book, The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face and helped his transition from the corporate world into full-time ministry and the founding of Man in the Mirror Ministries in 1991 with the vision “for every church to disciple every man”.
Pat Morley is now the best-selling author of 20 books and more than 750 articles. Now with over three million copies in print, The Man in the Mirror is considered one of the one-hundred most influential Christian books of the twentieth century. He still leads The Man in the Mirror Bible Study, which now reaches thousands of men in all fifty states and throughout the world.
24 Reasons to Look in the Mirror
The premise of Pat’s book is that when a man looks in a mirror and asks the tough questions, he may not like what he sees so it helps to have a friend standing with him. The book helps answer the tough questions every man faces and provides some practical application that leads to lasting changes in those areas.
“The first step to knowing God’s plan for our lives is the commitment to see ourselves as we really are.”–Pat Morley
Morley provides 24 topics that all men face including anecdotes, thought-provoking questions, biblical insights, and questions about each for personal or group use. His list of topics includes:
Part 1: SOLVING OUR IDENTITY PROBLEMS
1. The Rat Race
2. Leading an Unexamined Life
3. Biblical Christian or Cultural Christian?
4. Significance: The Search for Meaning and Purpose
5. Purpose: Why Do I Exist?
6. The Secret of Job Contentment
Part 2: SOLVING OUR RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS
7. Broken Relationships
8. Children: How to Avoid Regrets
9. Wives: How to Be Happily Married
10. Friends: Risks and Rewards
Part 3: SOLVING OUR MONEY PROBLEMS
11. Money: A Biblical Point of View
12. The Four Pillars of Financial Strength
Part 4: SOLVING OUR TIME PROBLEMS
13. Decisions: How to Make the Right Choice
14. Priorities: How to Decide What’s Important
15. Time Management: Doing God’s Will
Part 5: SOLVING OUR TEMPERAMENT PROBLEMS
19. The Desire to Be Independent
20. Avoiding Suffering
Part 6: SOLVING OUR INTEGRITY PROBLEMS
21. Integrity: What’s the Price?
22. Leading a Secret Thought Life
23. Accountability: The Missing Link
Part 7: CONCLUSION
24. How Can a Man Change?
My Look in the Mirror
Reading The Man in the Mirror book came at a good time for me as I began to take a hard look at my priorities during my struggle with work-life balance. It helped me discover some personal insights about my shortfalls and about how God had a better plan for me through this struggle. In particular, chapter 10 about the risk and rewards of friends helped me begin my look for God Buddies. He said we all have a “circle of friends” but none that know the “real me”. Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity”. We all need brothers in Christ to help us through our tough times. I certainly did!
So if you’re looking in the mirror these days and not liking the man you see, it might be time to read The Man in the Mirror. I then suggest you go find yourself some God Buddies!
What other books have you read that helped transform your life? Share below in the comments.