Updated: 2 days ago
Men after God’s Heart will help you audit the male relationships in your life and challenge you to go beyond your personal convenience to brotherly commitment.
More now than ever, it is imperative for men to develop meaningful relationships with their spiritual brothers. But our Western culture has prevented men from experiencing healthy male bonding, creating a distorted perception of masculinity. This is not simply my opinion.
Healthline Media contributor Raj Chander says there is research that suggests men are having a hard time establishing meaningful male relationships. “In the real world,” says Chander, “scientific and anecdotal research suggests many men struggle to maintain friendships compared to their female counterparts, especially as they age past their school days.”
Chander offers four reasons why this is the case:
Men tend to bond around experiences not emotions.
Men don’t like to share what’s going on in their lives.
Men prioritize work and family over friendships.
Men may not be neurologically wired for friendships.
Christ’s Mandate for Meaningful Male Relationships
Despite the data, Christian men have been given a mandate by Christ to establish meaningful male relationships. In John 13:34–35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Jesus gave this commandment to love to a group of men. Its purpose was to buttress their witness of Christ. It is striking to think that even in Jesus’s Ancient Near Eastern culture—which was much more relational than our Western culture—men loving men would stand out. The truth is, we have been conditioned to believe that being in a loving male relationship somehow makes us homosexual, and because of this stigma, we avoid a very important aspect of our spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being: friendship. According to Chander, healthy male relationships lower our blood pressure, decrease our chances of depression, and lengthen our lifespan. What man doesn’t want that?
When we understand love to simply be a sincere regard for our brother’s well-being, it strips it of any sexual connotation. If Christ’s love for us is nonsexual, then our love for our brothers can be nonsexual. Once that barrier to brotherhood is removed, we are free to enjoy the present of each other’s presence.
From Brotherly Love Seminar to Brotherly Love Book
A few years ago, I taught a seminar at a men’s retreat entitled 10 Principles of Brotherly Love. I had never witnessed a room full of men filled with watery eyes over a seminar about healthy male relationships as I did that day. And it is not until this very moment that I’ve come to realize their tears were an expression of what we are missing as men.
Think about it for a moment: We join gangs, clubs, and sports teams to find brotherhood because we can experience male bonding in a “safe” environment. Our masculinity is never questioned in those contexts. Yet, in the church, we probably find the loneliest men of all, because we neglect having meaningful relationships with each other—in violation of what Christ commanded. There is no way His command can be obeyed in a 90-minute service, one day a week. Relationship must take place outside the walls of the church, which is where our witness is supposed to be.
Thus, I wrote my new book, Men After God’s Heart: 10 Principles of Brotherly Love, because the men in that seminar told me that I needed to “do something” with the material. I also wrote this book, I later realized, because I, too, need healthy male relationships. I don’t subscribe to toxic masculinity, but I do believe our culture has placed men between the rock and hard place of either being lonely and broken or perceived as having same-sex attraction. But this book is a call to live out Christ’s mandate so we may live in the richness of the blessings that result from doing life together with other Christian men.
Men After God’s Heart
I titled this book Men After God’s Heart because it speaks to our obedience to the commands of Christ. Jesus’s command is for Christian men to love each other. As I say in the book, “The apostle Paul helps us hammer out a definition from his sermon in Antioch of Pisidia by explaining that a man after God’s heart ‘shall fulfil all [His] will’ (Acts 13:22). According to Paul, who is quoting from 1 Samuel 13:14, the man who does all that God wills is the man who is aligned with the heart of God. The heart of God is not a place of weakness, but strength.”
Men After God’s Heart explores Jesus’s final moments with His disciples in the upper room, which I call the Disciples’ Ship. In John chapters 13 through 17, Jesus teaches and illustrates ten principles of love with His disciples that they were to continue in their relationship with each other. The book will help you audit the male relationships in your life and challenge you to go beyond your personal convenience to brotherly commitment.
I encourage every man, men’s ministry, or family member of a man to order a copy of this book. It is an in-depth examination of how Christian men relate to each other, including how to handle betrayals, promotions, rivalries, hardships, and much more. Its aim is to build disciples who live in relationship, grow in fellowship, and engage in stewardship.
Order your copy today via this link.
Rev. Isaac Hayes is the founder of Healing of the Soul Ministries and author of Men After God’s Heart: 10 Principles of Brotherly Love. He is also an Assistant Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Illinois, and a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Follow Rev. Hayes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @RevIsaacHayes.
 Raj Chander, “The Bromance Myth: How Men’s Health Suffers from Their Lack of Friends,” Healthline Media, Last updated March 9, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/men-bad-friendship-harms-health#4-scientific-reasons-men-have-a-hard-time-maintaining-friendships.