Let me share the root issue beneath what we've been saying about America’s “man problem” on this blog over the past few months. Here are 3 observations on that I think we, the church, are missing.
1. There is no clear vision or “picture” of disciplemaking today that is compelling and useful to most Christians, particularly to men. Men especially need a clear picture of where they are going and/or what they are aiming at. However, most men do not see clearly what being a true disciple would look like, or how to become one -- i.e., how to get there. This is true despite the abundance of materials being produced and efforts being expended in the name of “discipleship.” This situation often leaves Christian men feeling guilty, frustrated and discouraged.
2. The reasons for where we are in disciplemaking are systemic. That is, they are built into the way we “see” and “do” what we think is “disciplemaking.” It isn’t that we are doing disciplemaking pretty well and just need a few tweaks here and there to do it better. On the contrary, we are way off the mark, generally missing some vital fundamentals about disciplemaking and some basic understanding about the principles and practices of disciplemaking as God intends it and Jesus modeled it.
3. At the root of every aspect of what’s missing is the reason Jesus gave for why we miss God’s best or otherwise mess up with errors, wrong thinking, bad decisions, and even sin: "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29 NIV).
Years ago, I was struck by how Jesus’ reply to the religious leaders about a specific theological question in this particular situation is really the root explanation for every situation where I sin or otherwise err. Either I do not know what God says with regard to the right thing to think, say, and do in the situation, or I do not think God’s way can work, thereby doubting His power. Not knowing what God says reflects ignorance and misunderstanding, the opposite of “science,” as we saw in the first chapter. And not trusting that God’s way will be successful is the lack of true faith; it’s actually unbelief. Faith isn’t really faith until trust is put into it and it is acted upon.
The reason for every error and bad decision I have made is that I only know and/or only trust what I or others (“the world”) say and can do, rather than knowing and trusting what God says and can do. I view my ways as better than God’s. In short, in my approach to the situation, I am too big, and God is too small!