Man In the Mirror – 1 – Rat Race

If you’ve read chapter ONE, you know that Patrick Morely defines the Rat Race as an unwinnable race. If it is unwinnable, then why do so many run in it?

We, men, have a tendency to chase after things. Whether it was the girl that caught our eye whose heart we wanted to win, the degree that would require years of diligence and loads of debt, the job promotion that looked so appealing, or the magic number of dollars we want in our savings account.

If we are naturally a “driven” species – designed to “chase after” – then what do you think GOD WANTS US TO CHASE AFTER? I don’t think his design in us is flawed, it’s just that we’ve begun to chase after things that we weren’t intended to chase.

What did God design us to chase after that would satisfy HIM and US and give us the joy of knowing that we have actually “won the race”?

Make a list – mentally or physically.

What are the things that you are chasing after that are OK?
What things are you chasing that you know you should stop prioritizing?
What things have been left aside and “un-chased” that you know God would have you start pursuing?

Reply with your thoughts and encouragement to other men.

Man In The Mirror is a book by Patrick Morley. Follow along with Pastor Gabe Moore and the men of Calvary Assembly of God in Crystal Lake, IL as we read through this book together and discuss some of topics facing men today.

2018-02-08T09:05:55+00:00Men's Ministry|

11 Comments

  1. Bob Milliman June 23, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Looking forward to this interaction with all of you men. This book impacted my life many years ago, and I hope for the same in yours.

  2. Bob Milliman June 23, 2016 at 9:49 am - Reply

    the Rat Race as an unwinnable race. Then why do so many run in it? The things of the world do give instant gratification, but only for a short time, and than I need more.
    *What does GOD WANTS me TO CHASE AFTER? I’m not sure he wants me to chase after, as much as stop and consider who he is, and how much He loves me and those dear to me. Out of gratitude, I want him in my life more, and I want to become more like him. Working on this!
    *What things am I chasing that I know I should stop prioritizing? Finances tend to give me a false since of security. Seems ridiculous that a piece of paper with numbers can be so important, even if it represents work and wisdom. Compared to eternal security, it is a small factor, but I tend to live in the here and now. Working on this!

  3. Jon Ball June 23, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply

    I believe we have a very strong tendency to run the rat race even unconsciously in addition to consciously because we are programmed by the culture from an early age to do so. In our brokenness, it is easy for us to take on the culture’s broken ways of trying to make a go of it without God. It is also easy for the old self even without the influence of the culture to try to make a go of it without God and to continually think, “If I did just a bit more, I’d be in a better position.” The greatest commandments really indicate what we are designed to pursue – love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Thus, we are really designed to be in relationship with and to pursue God first and then others. I guess we could extend this to say that our work isn’t intended for us to chase money, prestige, or a selfish satisfaction. It is intended to be a way of loving, glorifying, and serving God (thereby pursuing Him) while also pursuing relationship with others by placing them before ourselves. In the same way, our marriages aren’t intended to be a self absorbed pursuit of pleasing ourselves, but a sacrificial pursuit of relationship with our wives. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d say pursue relationships in this order: God (by a long shot), wife, family, church body, and then others in your daily world. If we pursue money, sex, prestige, and comfort on our own selfish terms, we will find ourselves in a world of hurt. Those are my thoughts for whatever they are worth.

    Jon

  4. Jon Ball June 27, 2016 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Hi Guys,

    I have read through chapter 2. I have long been a why person and was interested in world views since my early teens. I’d say we have to very intentionally work at rooting out world views in our thinking that corrupt our Christian world view. It is always useful to know what others think, so we can interact with them, but we need to be vigilant about subtly getting sucked into falsehoods. Regarding being open with God about what we really are, it is not only healthy, so we don’t deceive ourselves, but I’d say it is easier to be open with God because the reality is He knows all about it already. The hard part is being open with people, because they can be very unforgiving or judgmental.

  5. Erik Panter June 28, 2016 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I have never been a big reader but I have just finished the first two chapters and I find myself hungry for more. I have spent the last 46 years of my life committed to the rat race and trapped in the secular world views. I was saved in 2003 but I left myself starving because I sat in the comfort of my salvation and tried to get through life with out growth in that salvation. Pastor Gabe has touched on this is several of his messages same with the men’s conference I need to sharpen myself with the word of God and gain strength and accountability through fellowship with the men in the Calvary family. I look forward to commenting on future chapters and getting feedback on the stuff that I have struggled with and need to change so I can better serve the Lord and be the rock for my family and those who desperately need Crist in there life

    • Jon Ball June 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Erik, It’s great to hear from you, and it’s great you are hungry for more. We are glad to have you in the conversation, and we can all sharpen each other and grow together. I was glad to start to know you some at the conference, and look forward to getting to know you more.

    • Bob Milliman June 29, 2016 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Erik I discovered this journey we are on will never come to an end, even when we finally arrive home for eternity. We say God’s word is alive, and it is, and it is always teaching and revealing, as we live it out, and it does, so I can only imagine what it will be like when we get to be with Him, that gave us the word. So glad you have joined me on this journey and it is exciting watching you change as you grow. I hope we have more Men join us, since the benefits are greater than what the stuff can provide.

  6. Josh Winkler June 30, 2016 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Before reading this chapter, I may have argued that I don’t really feel like I compete with other guys or do the whole “Jones'” thing…which is what I’ve always equated with the rat race.

    Since getting married, our financial goals have been about making enough so our family can enjoy a couple decent vehicles and a mild-mannered home without drowning in debt for the rest of our lives. The first several years we were married, we worked hard to get out from under the credit card debt we had accumulated separately.

    Even now, though, it never seems to matter how much we actually make. We never seem to stop “needing” stuff in a month before the end of the money shows up. We eat out too much, spend more on junk food than we should, and nickel and dime ourselves to death with stuff we could have done without just as easily.

    And when we finally hit a stretch and seem to be doing well, that’s when the car needs new tires (or gets flattened by a tree), which sucks away our reserves and makes it feel like there wasn’t any point to being responsible in the first place and the whole cycle starts all over again.

    I know that I spend too much time focusing on our finances. I know my time and my life would be better spent focusing on the cracks the financial strains cause in my relationships. I just don’t seem to know how to make that change stick for any length of time.

    • Erik Panter July 2, 2016 at 7:02 am - Reply

      Hey Josh I think a big part of the title of this book “The Man in the Mirror ” is pointing out area’s in our lives that we need to look at and be aware of the things that are keeping us from growing closer to God. We can tend to be hard on our selves when we are trying to change these things and we don’t get the results we are expecting. Terri and I have had to change the dynamic of are relationship since moving to Illinois (rent is 3x more, Terri is not making the money she was in Vegas) so my responsibility has changed dramatically. I think all of us struggle with patience as men we are wired to recognize the problem,put together a plan of action,and problem solved. Unfortunately life has different plans this played a big part in why I lost my way after being saved. Once the newness of that feeling went away I was faced with all the things I needed to change in my life and was not willing to put the time in to change those things. When I did put together a half hearted effort i would run into discouraging road blocks. We need to be encouraged by the things we are changing that give a instant result and not discourage buy the things that seem to be a roadblock.

      • Jon Ball July 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

        Great thoughts Erik, and Josh it is great to have you in the mix. I think you are correct, Erik. Sometimes I get discouraged when I look and see that I’m not in my walk with the Lord where I would like to be, and I start to really beat myself up, but then at other times I can become conveniently lax about my walk. We can kind of bounce between the two extremes, but if we can be encouraged by even seemingly small victories, then we can leverage that encouragement to feel empowered to allow God to work on the next step. In theological circles the term sanctification is used to describe the process of becoming holy and thereby become closer to God and be used by God to greater effect. The key word is that word process. Becoming holy is a process – a wondrous process. It is like laying yourself out as obedient clay and allowing God to shape you into a beautiful earthen vessel as He see fit. It is like being a stone in a river bed and getting your sharp edges knocked off by the water of the Holy Spirit as He moves all around you and in you. In trials it is like a fire that melts you and burns away the worthless stuff and leaves behind the gold and platinum. When Paul says in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” I think it is pretty obvious he is talking about sanctification. We are already saved, but we need to cooperate with God with a certain holy fear to work out all of the implications of that salvation. Thus, there is no microwave oven approach to becoming holy, like we as men would much prefer. It is more like carbon naturally becoming diamond deep in the earth. It can be extremely uncomfortable in the stretches of pressure and heat, but it is worth it. And of course holiness can never be something where we strut around proud of how holy we think we are. There always has to be a humility like the tax collector in the story Jesus told in Luke chapter 18 where the tax collector wouldn’t even look to heaven, but beat his chest and said, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” Anyway, Erik’s comments reminded me of the wondrous process of getting our sharp edges knock off.

        • Bob Milliman July 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm - Reply

          After reading what you guys are saying, it reminded me why Jesus said what he said in
          Mark 4:15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

          I’m confident that the Holy Spirit will keep us centered as we walk this Earth, even when the things of it are so alluring. That’s what I like about Men’s group, that we hold each other accountable, and that draws us back to what we know is the truth. Thanks for being open and honest. He who has began a good work in us is faithful to complete it.

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