Lone Wolf, Army of One, Free Spirit, Loner, Independent or Nonconformist. However you name it, there is a sort of programming that we men are brought up with that says “You don’t need anyone else. You can do this all by yourself.” Some of it comes from the mistaken programming our fathers received and passed down to us through example. And some of it comes from Hollywood movies like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name trilogy, and Outlaw Josey Wales, Mel Gibson’s Mad Max, or even Denzel Washington’s Book of Eli. The fact is no man can be a lone wolf and go at it alone.
The message of the Lone Wolf is this, although there is an entire pack available to you, it’s better for you to walk an isolated, lonely path. Which is fine, in a world where everything goes your way in the end, and we don’t have anyone in our lives that would get hurt in the wake of our selfishness. That, however, is rarely ever the case.
Like in most cases, we can look to the life of Jesus see how we are meant to live our lives. Jesus was the living Son of God, whether He chose to seek out twelve companions or not. Of course, there were some prophesies that needed to be fulfilled that required others to be a part of His life, but He could have chosen a more solitary lifestyle and still performed miracles and preached to the masses.
But Jesus was not, and never has been a lone wolf. Even before He left Heaven and invaded Earth, He was never alone. He is, was, and always will be in perfect communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And here on Earth, He chose to walk and live in close communion with twelve of the most unlikely men.
Make A Plan
Years ago, I was in a really lonely place as far as having close male friends go. Sure, I had plenty of acquaintances from both church and work. The problem with acquaintances is that your relationships rarely ever grow beyond the point of small talk or gossip. If you’re content with talk of sports, politics, and the weather, then you probably don’t need to progress beyond this point. I wasn’t.
I needed to make a drastic change in the way I was doing things. I needed men that would challenge me spiritually. I needed men that I could open up with and become vulnerable with. A pack that I could share my fears, failures, and victories with. The problem is, a group of men like this are not easy to find. Craigslist doesn’t exactly have a category for it.
What I decided to do was to just put myself out there. I decided to show up at a local restaurant every Saturday morning at six o’clock a.m. and just wait. I also let my pastor know that I was starting a men’s group and that any man was welcome to join me. I announced on social media my plans and invited men from all local churches to my meetup. I, of course, made it clear that this was a Christian men’s group in order to avoid the small talk.
I sat at that table for a couple of months. I would drink my coffee and read my Bible. Nobody would show up. I had some guys on social media let me know that they were interested, but six a.m. was just too early. I would explain to them that I wanted to meet while my family was still sleeping so that I wouldn’t miss out on any time with them. Also, I was hoping that such an early time would help weed out some of the men who wouldn’t really take it seriously.
Finally, after months of sitting and thinking that this would never work, Mike showed up. We had seen each other at church, but we didn’t know each other. I can’t remember how he heard about what I was attempting, but he came just to check it out. It turns out, Mike felt the same way I did. He was lonely and needed close male friends.
We laid out what we wanted our meetings to be like. Challenge each other, pray for each other. support each other and lean on each other. Very quickly, we grew to love one another. We had created a bond that I still cherish until this day.
After a few more weeks of us inviting the men we know, our group grew slowly. We would have some guys that would come once or twice and then never come again, and that was fine. We also had some guys show up that really invested in the group and the other men in it. Men would come and go, some would move away, some would just lose interest. Some would even lose faith and drop out of our group as well as stop going to church. They can’t all be success stories.
As of today, I have two of the best friends I have ever had and a couple of other guys who are new to the group. Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we are able to start meeting again, we can continue being a positive force in each other’s lives while challenging each other to grow in Christ daily. Until then we have to be satisfied with the occasional Zoom meeting.
I look forward to the day when I can hug my dear brothers by the neck again.
Brian Caruthers has been blogging and podcasting since 2010. He has a passion and desire to help others in their faith journey. He hopes to inspire and motivate Christian men to seek a closer relationship with Christ with his writings.