Men Who Bring Life and Not Harm: An Interview with Morgan Snyder
Throughout history, why is the story of many men’s lives the theme of being entrusted with power and then using that power to bring harm to themselves and those under their care? What is the biblical way for men to responsibly be in lockstep with God’s kingdom? What is the path of inner transformation that God intends every man to experience?
Bible Gateway interviewed Morgan Snyder about his book, Becoming a King: The Path to Restoring the Heart of a Man (W Publishing Group, 2020).
What is the “ancient path of becoming”?
Morgan Snyder: Our culture promises quick, cheap, and easy roads that lead to life. Yet Jesus is clear: “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matt. 6:13-14 MSG). For 20 years, I’ve brought the question “What’s the most important thing?” to over 75 sages, and their answers helped recover a path to becoming the kind of person to whom God can entrust the care of his kingdom. In this upside-down kingdom, shortcuts are unwelcome. We excavate before we build; we choose the lowest seat at the table. It’s a path filled with adventure and risk, joy and possibility, and though few choose to take it, the invitation is available to all.
How is the desire to be powerful central to a man’s soul?
Morgan Snyder: In Genesis, God lets us in on his most audacious plan. After his wildly creative work is established, all of earth is handed to Adam and Eve. “Let us make men and women in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth” (Gen. 1:26).
John Eldredge explains in Waking the Dead that we’re meant to exercise fierce mastery over our domain. “Like a foreman runs a ranch or like a skipper runs his ship. Better still, like a king rules a kingdom, God appoints us as the governors of his domain. We were created to be the kings and queens of the earth.”
To be made in the image of God is to have a seed planted deep within us. Just as the giant oak tree is hidden in the seed of the acorn, that seed marks us for a destiny to become the kind of man who can be entrusted with this most central and sacred of tasks.
What are the implications of a man considering himself to be a son to God the Father?
Morgan Snyder: Whatever else we encounter when we engage the life of Jesus, we encounter a person living fully as a son. Sonship is the epicenter of Jesus’ life, and it’s the epicenter of ours (Rom. 8:15).
George MacDonald said, “Since we are the sons of God, we must become the sons of God.” As we grow in our understanding of this identity, we are able to bring our strength—rather than our need for validation—to the world. We become the kind of person who can prevail in any circumstance, and we recover deep and lasting joy.
What do you mean when you write, “Mostly what you meet when you meet a man is his false self”?
Morgan Snyder: After the fall of man, Adam confessed, “I was afraid, because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen. 3:10). Adam’s story is every man’s story. We have become who we are not.
Haunted by fear of failure and taunted by what we lack, we form caricatures to deny our vulnerability and survive independently. Yet the self-protective man is not the truest us. The truest reality of the masculine soul is that we are inheritors of original goodness, magnificently crafted in the image of God. As Jesus promised, putting to death the false self allows a greater life to emerge (Matt. 16:25). God is inviting us to risk engaging in the process of recovering a life of ever-deepening union with God, a life worth living.
Explain the statement, “We cannot live beyond the identity we have embraced.”
Morgan Snyder: Mostly what you meet when you meet a man is an elaborate fig leaf, borrowed from Adam but crafted over decades to make life work apart from God (Gen. 3:10).
We have an inherent need for identity (Who am I really?) and validation (Do I have what it takes?). If we have not found the answers in God, we will bring our souls’ deepest questions, rather than our strength, to our worlds.
The ancient path invites us to become increasingly aware of the self-protective man, so that what is false in us can be put to death and we can pass into greater life.
Briefly summarize the main points in your chapter “Becoming a Generalist.”
Morgan Snyder: To become a generalist is to restore the capacity to do real things and handle real things, to become the kind of man who can handle himself in any situation—fixing a broken toilet or helping mend a broken heart.
The generalist brings skill and harnessed strength to meet the world’s needs. Instead of corrupted power or learned helplessness, he brings humility and confident skill. In all things, the restored generalist brings life and not harm.
Why did you select Becoming a King as the title of your book and the ultimate metaphorical goal for a man?
Morgan Snyder: Each of us has a kingdom, a domain where we have a say, where what we want done is done. This is true for every human being, starting with choices like what to eat for breakfast. Our kingdom begins with our own soul and extends to our body, our mind, our choices. As our borders expand, they include people, responsibilities, and parts of creation over which we’re given jurisdiction.
We were intended to become kings and queens (small k and small q) to whom God can gladly entrust the care of his kingdom. Most of us have too much kingdom and not enough wholeheartedness or character to care for it well, but imagine a world where the news predominantly featured stories of men and women handling power in love and service to others, on behalf of the greater good. From our homes to our communities, churches, businesses, and governments, I believe that through consenting to a path and process, we can become men and women who play a central role in bringing the kingdom to Earth as it is in Heaven.
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What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Morgan Snyder: I showed up in Urbana, Illinois, on a snowy day, hoping for the blessing to marry a woman named Cherie. I arrived with a Bible tucked in a wooden box my grandfather and I had handcrafted. This was no ordinary Bible: the pages were marked by love in the form of sweat and tears, highlights and dirt. It would’ve made Eugene Petersen proud; following his counsel, I’d chewed on those Scriptures like a dog on a bone. For years. They infused my soul and have shaped the man I’m becoming.
Choosing a favorite verse is like trying to explain to Cherie’s parents what part of her personality I enjoy the most. I can’t separate any one passage from this God-breathed, God-initiated, and God-bathed body of literature. I think of the tears I shed over Jeremiah’s urging to abandon leaky cisterns (Jer. 2:13). I remember my soul rising up at Jesus’ invitation to “come, all those who are thirsty” (John 7:37). I was pricked by the challenge to those of us who have become lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) and filled with longing for the refreshing pools sung about by a stout-hearted young shepherd (Ps. 23:2).
The Word is more than the sum of its parts.
Having said that, my most and least favorite portion of that old Bible was its concordance, so limited to help this thirsty young student chase down rabbit trails connecting verses. The tools from Bible Gateway have helped me mine treasures for my soul and bring them to others in ways
far beyond my ability to express. I am deeply grateful!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Morgan Snyder: The greatest revolution in history began through 12 men saying yes to a personal invitation from the King of kings.
Becoming a King is, above all, an invitation into a process of becoming the kind of person to whom God can entrust his kingdom. It’s not easy, cheap, or quick.
Though the path is made available to all, few choose it. Yet those happy few who say yes will recover a life that is truly life, for themselves and those under their care. And the world will find itself in good hands as students become sons, sons become warriors, and warriors become goodhearted kings.
It is an honor and privilege to connect with you in this space. If you’ve made it thus far my hunch is you too are among the like-hearted. I’ve recovered a hidden treasure and it’s my joy to share it with you. Find out more at BecomingAKing.com.
Becoming a King is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Morgan Snyder is a grateful husband of 20 years and a proud father of a wildly creative and witty daughter and a joyful and passionate son. He serves as a strategist, entrepreneur, teacher, writer, and speaker. His passion is to shape the men and women who are shaping the kingdom of God. In 2010, he established BecomeGoodSoil.com, a fellowship of leaders whose global reach offers guidance for the narrow road of becoming the kind of person to whom God can confidently entrust the care of his kingdom. Morgan serves on the executive leadership team at Wild at Heart and Ransomed Heart Ministries and has contended for the wholeheartedness of men and women alongside John and Stasi Eldredge for more than two decades. He has led sold-out Wild at Heart men’s events across the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia. Morgan goes off the grid every chance he gets, whether bowhunting in the Colorado wilderness or choosing the adventurous life with his greatest treasures: his wife, daughter, and son.
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The post Men Who Bring Life and Not Harm: An Interview with Morgan Snyder appeared first on Bible Gateway Blog.
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