Seven Needs of a Man #5

13 08 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.

Men need a “rod” to count on. v. 4.

As a shepherd, David counted on his rod or staff to protect himself and his sheep from harmful  predators. He saw God’s protection in the same way. He learned that when he was journeying through dangerous life zones he could count on God’s rod and staff to be his safety.

21st century men still need the protective power of God. Men still need comfort and protection not only physically but in the dark valleys of depression, temptation, moral failure, discouragement, etc. Where do men go to overcome the fear and shame of condemnation that lurks in their souls? Many have taught that they simply need to go to the Bible, the commonly understood “rod” of today. The premise is that the Bible will answer all of man’s needs if he would just read, memorize or quote it’s passages in the face of fear or problems.

But is that what is implied in this passage? The psalmist is talking about God actually being present, not just having his written scripture or a law. He is referring to God’s very real omnipresence surrounding his life. For King David that reality was primarily extrinsic. God was “close beside” him. For us living in the “new covenant” that reality has also become  intrinsic. We know that God is not just outside but inside our lives as well. He has come to live in, as and through us. His presence is witnessed as an inner reality or the “voice” that we hear deep in our spirits. We now live not just by external words but by the voice or the witness of God’s Spirit within us telling us that we are His sons and that He is our Father. (Rom. 8:15,16) We have come to know whose and who we really are. The Bible is not the rod but the confirmation of the rod, the inner presence, telling us what we already know to be true.

The assumption in men’s discipleship is that men will grow spiritually if they study their Bibles, be in a men’s group, pray regularly, memorize scripture, attend church consistently and serve God with all their hearts. But what we have learned over the years is that spiritual growth is not a matter of attainment of certain benchmarks but recognition of the inner voice or the Truth. A man grows in his confidence not by his many disciplines but by recognition of his divinity. When a man knows who he is in Christ and that Christ lives in him he can face anything. He can go through the valleys of darkness because he knows the presence of God as his inner peace and strength. Spiritual disciplines can help with this realization but are not the source of it in  themselves.

Men need to recognize this voice, this deep inner identity, if they are to survive the onslaughts of life. As Christian men our job is to help each other live by this inner presence of God. We need to encourage each other to know His voice, obey it and remain in synch with it. Only then will a man feel the comfort and protection of God as he walks through life and successfully navigates its dark valleys.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. “ John 10:27 NKJ

For a power point video teaching of this entire series “Seven Needs of a Man” go Here.



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