Gentlemen, let me free you from a burden, the burden of the history you think you know.

We have all been done a great disservice. We have been taught what I call the statue version of history. By this I mean that we have been taught a version of history that presents the heroes of the past as moral giants who fell flawless from the womb, who achieved fame almost effortlessly. It hasn’t served us well.

No one meant to do damage. Our history teachers probably thought they were simply honoring the great men and women of our past. Yet most of them gave us statues rather than human beings, unscarred giants who achieved and conquered as though there was never any question of their destiny.

It isn’t so. Hear me. It is a lie.

The great heroes of the past you’ve grown to admire were all pitiful human beings whom we remember only because they declared war on some part of their pitifulness. If we don’t know this, we are left to believe that some people are destined to be great but most of us aren’t, and those of us who aren’t should just settle down to our duties and shelve whatever dreams make our hearts race.

I’ll say it again. It’s a lie.

God sets destinies in heaven, but those destinies have to be hammered out on earth one arduous minute at a time. We strain. We bleed. We grieve. We have to conquer each step. No one gets a pass. No one moves to the head of the line, even if he gets a statue. Everyone is flawed...

Manly men know themselves, work to understand their God-ordained uniqueness and their unique brand of damage, and accept they will always be a work in progress, always be a one-man construction project that is never quite finished in this life. They don’t despair. They don’t settle. They don’t expect perfection of themselves. They understand that destiny is in the hand of God. They also understand that these destinies are fashioned in a man’s struggle against the enemies of his soul.

Challenge: In counsel with friends and pastors, make an action plan. Declare war on your weaknesses and the imperfections in your life. Most of us have too many defects to attack all at one time, but by identifying the ones that most undermine your progress toward being a genuine man, you will have established the target of your battle plan.