A man without a purpose is a man who has no reason to try, no reason to endure, no reason to achieve, and ultimately no reason to live.
Yet a man who has such a purpose is rare these days. Despite it being every man’s duty, a mission is not something that boys are taught to aspire to, plan for, or even think about.
Why? Well, missions are dangerous things. A man with a mission is driven, and quite alarming to a feminized society. He is also very threatening to our elites. He is hard to influence, hard to control, hard to kill. He is inclined to build things and muster movements that could topple the whole house of cards.
This makes him the only kind of man fitted to the times in which we now live; times which are openly dystopian:—
- We’ve lost the culture war—the West is apostate and biblical Christianity is despised…
- The U.S. election was stolen by communist radicals, with the help of China, and no one with the power to do anything was capable of stopping it (see here and here and here to get up to speed)…
- The state, unsurprisingly, is beginning to outlaw the expression of normal, conservative views (including what I just said above) as domestic terrorism and sedition…
- And many pastors are capitulating.
This is the reality.
For many men, what has been seen cannot be unseen. And if you have seen it, you may not have realized this, but you are witness to the power of mission.
Leftists understand and truly believe in this power.
They believe it in a way few Christians do, which is why we are where we are—and why the only kind of Christian men we need right now are those with a mission.
We need men who will not return to the boiling pot…no matter how smoothly the media, compromised ministers, and government assure them that the bubbles are no big deal.
We need men who have eyes to see that the aggressive moves of Big Gov, Big Tech, and Big Media to silence conservatives is no conspiracy theory—and that the real conspiracy is the censorship efforts themselves.
We need men who understand that, just as in Jesus’ day, the psychology of the elites does not change—they are, first and foremost, hypocrites (Matthew 23), so projection is their stock in trade—and will not consent to be gaslit.
We need men who, though they do not understand how their efforts will fit into the grand tapestry of history, are determined to simply resist without getting delusional ideas about revolution.
We need men who are willing to be as serious about having a mission as our enemies are.
This is the only way to develop the resilience and shrewdness and tenacity to keep forging ahead, despite the uncertainty of the future and the waxing plans of the wicked.
It is how we will win.
Not through a grand coordinated counter-coup. Through the simple, faithful work of individual men pursuing personal, godly missions for their lives and for their households.
Developing a personal mission
What is a mission, that it can achieve such a thing? Simply this:
A mission is an intentional plan for how you will personally exercise dominion on God’s behalf, building his kingdom and bringing him glory, using all that he has given you.
A mission keeps you on track, tells you what to fight for, and gives you a fixed point for your priorities—no matter how wild things get.
Figuring out a mission is not as difficult as it sounds. Men typically get tied in knots here for three reasons:
- They expect something overly spiritual. This is SOP for modern evangelicals, conditioned into a functional gnosticism—where spiritual = good; physical = meh. Serving the Lord is something they think happens in church, so the ultimate mission must be that of a pastor or missionary (it’s even in the name). If they are not called to this, they think they are called to something lesser.
- They expect something overly grand. We all naturally think that our mission must be the kind of thing that someone will later want to write a biography about or make a movie to depict. Sin is by nature prideful, so this is not surprising—but it is also not realistic, nor righteous.
- They expect something overly clear. Many men fail to start, simply because they think that certainty about what to do equates to confidence of success—and lacking that certainty, they assume they will fail. They want a paint-by-numbers clarity about every step to take. (Look at nearly every red pill book; they are all arranged in autistic categories and excruciating detail, as if life can be engineered if you only get granular enough about breaking down the process.)
Scripture refutes each of these three errors, and we can look to the creation of Adam especially to see how. Being descended from Adam, we are to take over his work—his (co-)mission. That is literally what we are made for. It is our covenant purpose (rejecting it leads to clown-world).
So what does it look like?
Well, to begin with, Adam’s mission is not overly “spiritual.” He was to be fruitful (productive), to multiply and fill the earth (reproductive), and to exercise dominion (ordering the world). This certainly had a spiritual component—naturalistic reductionism is no more biblical than gnostic reductionism. But the primary work that he was given, the work of tilling the ground, was notably ordinary and physical. In other words, his mission was inseparably vocational; and as a son of Adam, you should be looking for a similarly vocational mission. The spiritual component of this is not some kind of separate work—rather, your ordinary labor is spiritual work because it is done in service of the Lord of Spirits, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:1–2).
Next, while you might think that having dominion over creation is pretty grand, and it’s true that Adam was made to rule as king in God’s stead, there are two important things to remember about this:
- Firstly, Adam was made to be a priest, a servant, before he could become a king and a lord. It was only by obedient service that he could enter into the grandness of the plan that God had for him. This principle is consummated in the Lord Jesus, who unlike Adam did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself to become a servant, enduring the cross in order to attain the glory set before him, despising the shame of it (Philippians 2; Hebrews 12; cf. Matthew 4). This is why he tells us that the first shall be last, and the last first; he sets the example of it. This is foundational to masculinity—you cannot be a father without first being a son. The greatest things are generally given to those who first prove themselves worthy in a little. Even legendary journeys start with small steps—so do not despise the day of small things.
- Secondly, while Adam’s mission was glorious, he was incapable of achieving it by himself. He needed Eve, and more than that, he needed many, many children. It was only by sharing his glorious mission with his wife and progeny—even with us—that he himself could enter into that glory. The grandness of his mission was inseparably communal.
Finally, speaking to the desire we have for clarity, God gave Adam a specific goal—but not a specific path to get there. He did not provide a Gantt chart or kanban board or timeline breakdown, pre-populated with every step of the program. Rather, he gave Adam his word, and his own image, so that he could learn to apply wisdom to his vocation, and achieve his mission through trial and error. So while a mission should be specific, that does not mean that you have to have mapped out each step for the next X years. A mission is not a map. It is more like a distant mountaintop, which you must figure out how to navigate to. That requires exploring the terrain to find a good route, and often it means using the compass of wisdom when the mountain is concealed from view.
One man in the modern day who has impressed me with his pursuit of a manly, godly mission is Andrew Torba* of Gab. Presumably Gab needs no introduction; it is a social networking platform; a kind of Facebook/Twitter mashup. If you’re not familiar with its history, check out Andrew’s story in his own words here.
Andrew started Gab in 2016 as a social platform where free speech would truly be protected rather than crushed. He was way in advance of most Christians in both foreseeing and experiencing the kind of cancel culture we are all becoming familiar with.
Although I do not know him personally, it is not hard to detect that Gab is truly his mission. He has been resolute in building the platform in the face of genuinely remarkable opposition—including being deplatformed by server hosting companies, payment processors, banks, email providers, and many other companies. Instead of whining and giving up, he has doggedly worked to eliminate the sand from his foundation, pouring his own concrete by building his own infrastructure when solid rock proved impossible to find (cf. Matthew 7:24–27).
You can see how each of the three points I highlight above have worked out in what Andrew is doing:
- He understands that Gab is both an ordinary, “secular” (as opposed to sacred) project—and that it is spiritual work because it is done in pursuit of honoring and glorifying God. There is no doubt that he sees Gab to be his spiritual service (Romans 12:1); one of his pinned posts makes clear that he grounds Gab’s purpose of defending free speech, in the freedom that we have in Christ, and that he is living out his belief that we should not submit again to a yoke of slavery:
- For a long time, Gab was a fringe platform with a very small userbase. Even today, despite explosive growth since the election, it is much smaller than Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the other Big Tech platforms. Many men would either sell out to gain more popularity and influence, or pack in the towel if they failed to achieve the kind of recognition they hoped for. Yet despite enormous pressure to accept deals that would have increased Gab’s capital, exposure, and traction—at the expense of its commitment to free speech—Andrew has remained steadfast. He certainly understands that you cannot achieve the mission by undermining the mission, no matter how tempting the shortcut may be (cf. Matthew 4). Rather, he has kept his head down, and continued to do the work faithfully…despite no doubt being the laughingstock of peers like Zuckerberg and Dorsey. There seems little doubt that with the sudden success of Gab in 2021—success that no one would have predicted—God is rewarding Andrew’s work. He has done the service of the priest, and proved himself for the work of a king. What a man sows, so shall he reap. I would exhort him not to become complacent on account of his success, as all our pride will move us to do, but to continue working faithfully in humility before our God; for “neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
- Unless Andrew received a prophetic vision in 2016, he really could not have had any idea what the path to success would look like. He had a mission—to create a social platform that defends free speech—and the rest was a case of applying the wisdom God gave him, both spiritual and technical, to navigate toward that objective. This is not to say that he went in effectively blind; I am sure that he planned out important milestones and prerequisites for the process of building Gab. But no plan survives contact with the enemy, and Andrew’s story is one of continual regrouping and restrategizing in response to setbacks and attacks. He worked it out as he went along, with the help of faithful men.
OK, but what about me?
Torba’s example is helpful, even inspiring, but how do you apply this to your own life? You are probably not planning to start an alternative social media platform. So what should you do? How do you figure out your own mission?
The good news is that God has already given you everything you need to start working on this, regardless of your lot in life. He has given you specific interests, specific skills, and specific opportunities in the form of your life circumstances. This means that you only need to ask some basic questions to figure out a mission for your life.
Looking at these things—interests, skills, opportunities—is really all it takes to work out God’s will for you. Although the patterns of providence in your life will reveal his plans in more detail, this is a long-term and generally retrospective way of discovering them. And although dreams and visions are possible, they are exceedingly rare, and there is no reason to think you are so special that God will give you such a clear and straightforward view of what you should do. Rather, he “speaks” through the circumstances in which he has placed you, and the principles of wisdom he has preserved for you in Scripture.
To expand the definition of a mission slightly, then, it is your best effort at wisely integrating your interests, skills, and circumstances into a personal vision for exercising dominion over what God has given you, on his behalf.
- What do (or might) I like doing?
- What can I make money doing?
- What can I do that loves my neighbor? (I.e., what advances the cause of your neighbor, consistent with God’s law?)
- What can I do that maximally glorifies God? (I.e., what can I do really well, so that people who see it can see the excellence of God’s handiwork?)
You will probably start with a large number of things that fall under both categories 1 and 2; but as you apply questions 3 and 4 to them, you will find that maybe only one or two possibilities remain.
Remember that a mission is not carved into a monolith erected in your name for everyone to see. It is not immutable. It is a best effort—and unless you are completely stagnant, your best will be better next year than it is today. So you should feel entirely free to update, adjust, or even completely change your mission as you work to follow it, and God reveals the path.
Establishing a long-term vision
A key part of developing a true mission, rather than just figuring out your vocation, is to start drawing a line between where you’re at, and where you want to be at the end of your life. What is your mountaintop? God has given you the compass of wisdom. It is up to you to map out where you’re going as you explore. What comes in between the beginning and the end will fall into place as you take incremental steps towards your goal.
- What will your name stand for at the end of your life (Proverbs 22:1)?
- What will it mean to come from or be a part of your household (Proverbs 31)?
- How can you move towards this in some increment of time? Where do you want to be in one, three, five, seven years?
Write out 3–5 end-goals for the following areas:
- Spiritual (devotions, knowledge of God, church etc)
- Physical (health, sports, diet etc)
- Economical (wealth, assets etc)
- Vocational (work, entrepreneurship, side hustles etc)
- Relational (marriage, children, friends etc)
Your goals should be objectives that you believe are possible, but only with difficulty. Too easy and they will probably happen anyway; too hard and you’re just being a dreamer. Remember that you can always adjust them later as you test them.
Once you have established all this, you will need to move into implementation. But this is a separate and substantial area worthy of its own essay. I’ll have more to share about the process of planning out and achieving your goals in later articles. For now, I hope this inspires you and gets you started on the right track.
* The name Andrew is from the Greek andros, meaning manly, while Torba sounds much like the Hebrew tovah, meaning good. I am probably being over-interpretive, but then, God is a God of names, and I cannot forget Pete Buttigieg and his partner in covenant abomination, Chasten.