Week of Monday, August 9 ­– Sunday, August 15
Shoot Straight – Man as a Battle Buddy

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
—James 5:16

Do you have a guy in your life who just tells it like it is? James was a guy like that. His book in the Bible is known and loved by many for its practical wisdom, but it is also blunt and straightforward. James did not see answers to life’s questions in shades of grey. He didn’t dance around the issues. Instead, he offers a strong dose of truth. James shoots straight. For example:
  • Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (1:22) 
  • If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. (1:26)
  • For whoever keeps the entire law, and yet stumbles at one point, is guilty of breaking it all. (2:10)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (2:26)
  • Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment. (3:1)
  • Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. (3:10)
  • So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God. (4:5)
  • So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it. (4:17)
James hits us with truth like an Old Testament prophet, almost like a punch in the face or at least a swift kick in the rear. That kind of confrontational style can make us uncomfortable, but men, we all need people like that to shoot straight with us and challenge us in the ways we need it. And as a Battle Buddy, we must be that prophetic voice as well from time to time. Our friends need us to be that voice that shoots straight with them, especially when they are getting off track with God.
Confessing sins to one another and praying for one another are twin issues where once again James didn’t beat around the bush. In chapter 5, he specifically pairs those practices with being a part of a faith community. We need to confess our sins to God as individuals, yes. But we also need to confess them to one another. We need to pray to God as individuals, yes. But we also need to pray about our struggles with other people. That’s an integral part of being a battle buddy—knowing that you need to depend on God together in the battles with sin, sickness, or whatever it might be you are struggling with as a man. 
We might be tempted to reason that our business is our business, and anything we need to talk to God about is just between us and God. But James makes it clear that if we take that “Lone Ranger” approach, we’re wrong. Yes, you have a personal relationship with God and will stand before Him as an individual. But guys who don’t confess their struggles to one another and pray together miss the bigger lesson. 
See, God has given us other guys to fight alongside as battle buddies for a reason. God has put us in a situation that requires us to rely on each other to make it through life. In the process of sharing these struggles (and triumphs) in confession and prayer with another guy, the honesty and transparency strengthens that bond between you. When we come before God together in prayer over our difficulties and our victories, we also demonstrate our agreement that He is Lord, we need Him, and His promises are true. But it all starts with our willingness to shoot straight with another guy and his willingness to do the same.
  • Pray and ask how you can be that prophetic voice and shoot straight with another man who needs it and who is willing to do the same with you.
  • Identify a particular sin or area of temptation where you struggle and would benefit from sharing with a trusted Christian man. How does confessing our sin to another man benefit us?
  • If you don’t have a prayer partner or two, take the initiative to form those relationships with a couple of guys. Make a plan to get together regularly to pray about anything and everything, including your struggles with sin.