The Seven Needs of Men #4

19 07 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men. (see previous posts, Category: Men Today)

No. 4 – Men need to know the right life. Ps. 23:3b

Jesus-Discipleship

When the Psalmist wrote that “He leads me in the paths of righteousness..” he was affirming that God would guide him to always be on the right path. As long as he stayed on that path God would be pleased. That was the pattern for those who lived under the “old covenant” (Old Testament). Being right with God meant obedience to the right way (the Law).

Thankfully, that old way of trying to be right has been superseded with God’s better plan, the “new covenant” (New Testament). Instead of trying to live a moral life we are now introduced to the right life. We are no longer judged on whether we stay on the path or not but on whether we have accepted the One who is the right way. God knew man could not always stay on the right path, he needed to know and live out the right life. If we believe that God still expects us to live according to the right path then our Christianity is no different than any other rule based religion. What makes Christianity so much better is that we are not trying to live by a moral path but by automatically manifesting the right life within us.

Men are especially vulnerable to the old covenant lifestyle because we tend to make life about rules. As little boys we were told to play by the rules in order to succeed or win. When we grew up, we just choose which rules we wanted to live by. But God doesn’t ask us to try to live by His rules. He has put His rules in our hearts so that they are part of who we are. The Christian man must learn to not just follow the external rules of the Bible but the inner revelation of the Spirit confirmed by the Bible. He needs to learn how to discern the voice of the inner man which is Jesus.

When Jesus lived on this earth He personally demonstrated this way of living. He didn’t teach His disciples how to better follow God’s laws but how to live out the life of the Father. It wasn’t about staying on the path but tuning into an inner revelation of the Father’s life and heart. Sometimes this inner revelation actually contradicted the rules (Law), e.g. when it came time observe the Sabbath.

When ministering to men we need to be aware of how important it is to demonstrate this lifestyle. Pastors, leaders, instead of teaching men about the rules of Biblical manhood let’s demonstrate how to walk in God’s revelation. Discipleship of men is not about theological or doctrinal programs but apprenticeship in the spirit life. It is exercising the right life and not just living on the right path. Men need to be freed up from living under the burden of staying on the path and instead be released into the joy of walking in step with Jesus, the free and abundant life within.

Dennis


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