How is it that the bullet of a sniper can travel hundreds of feet and still hit its target with precision, accuracy, and strength in such a way that a grenade could not?
The answer is that it first travels through a long, unyielding, barrel, where it is confined so that when the bullet is free of the barrel, it still has direction and purpose.
Recognize something else: the confines of the barrel have not reduced the power of the shot but rather concentrated it so that all the force is directed at the target.
As men we have been lied to about our identity.
We have been told that a real man can do what he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants.
We have been taught to think that commitment hinders our manhood, takes away our freedom, and reduces the force of man.
We are told to be lawless.
I would challenge this way of thinking and say that it is a childish mentality.
A grenade causes a big bang, with a lot of force, in every direction. No bounds. No confines of a barrel. It also doesn’t travel the distance a bullet can travel, and usually has a small radius.
The child wishes to do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. He can make a big scene, in a small radius, and cannot accomplish the mission without undesirable effects (ex. child throws tantrum and gets what he wants every time, therefore remaining a child).
Would you not agree that parents setting rules for that child would be a more effective way of raising the child to be a mature adult?
The same goes for relationships.
There are rules to dating.
There are rules to marriage.
There are rules to friendships.
Do these rules confine your ability to do whatever you want?
That’s kind of the point.
Author Jason Evert uses the example of a river.
Does the bank of a river impede it from flowing out in every direction? Well…yes. But rather than weakening the flow of the water, it makes it more powerful.
It has direction and aim. It flows strong with a purpose.
How does eating crap food now or drinking till you’re unable to make the right choice affect the rest of your life?
How does watching porn, sleeping around, or taking drugs affect the rest of your life?
These are destructive to living a life of purpose and freedom. The negative effects are spread out and often result in collateral damage, like a grenade.
When it comes to sexuality, society says do what feels good. Once again, be lawless.
But this idea is being challenged by more than just those who are religious.
The front cover of Time in April was pointing at the very issue of pornography. More than one article inside was recognizing the strong negative effects of porn.
Is there a reason porn is wrong?
Yes. Many reasons.
The rules are being broken. Love will not hold to broken laws. It will cease to satisfy.
The big bang and instant gratification of the grenade will not accomplish the mission.
There will be no glory.
Being raised by parents or guardians is one equivalent of traveling through the barrel.
Adhering to moral law and spiritual law, as well as governmental law, are other equivalents to traveling through the barrel.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, being prudent is
taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.
Prudence itself can be a barrel. Rather than being lawless, prudence allows us to move with direction, purpose and power.
As men, our mission requires precision.
It requires self-sacrifice for the sake of others.
Set the boundaries you know you need to set.
Allow yourself to travel through the barrel for whatever length of time is necessary. Exposing yourself to the right material and closing the doors to destructive media is one way of choosing the barrel that will give you power, purpose, and precision.
Another example can be deciding not to date until the time to pursue a relationship can be done with respect and honor to the woman who could potentially become your partner for life.
Some barrels, like mentorship can last a lifetime, as can accountability groups.
You will find that when you travel through the barrel, you are stronger, have direction, and can live with purpose.
Decide as a man, to travel through the barrel and you will have the chance to go the distance and accomplish the mission.