Why Men Need to be in Discipling Groups – Part 6

Four men in ten will get divorced

This is really no different than men who are not in church.  Why?

DivorceThese days many men are not discipled as young men to understand about marriage and what the Bible says about loving our wives.  I know I wasn’t.  All I knew was that I was to grow up, get married, and have children.  To be honest, I didn’t even really know what love was in a marriage.  As I became older and grew spiritually, I began to realize that most people have confused infatuation with love.  And when we marry because of misunderstanding infatuation for marital love… well, to use an old cliché, ‘when the newest wears off, the marriage begins to crumble.’

For me, no one – and I do mean no one – taught me how to be a husband and the spiritual leader of my home.  Including the pastor who performed pre-marriage counseling with my wife and I before we were married.  A fine man and I thought a lot of him; but, his pre-marriage counseling was basically, “She has a personality, you have a personality, they are different and you are going to have to learn how to live in the same house with different needs and wants.”  Sorry Mr. Counselor, but there is much more to this – much more!

Prior to my marriage and for many years’ no one taught me about being the spiritual leader of my home and the responsibility that goes with it.  I had fine examples as through my parents that marriage is for life; but, no one taught me how to be the Prophet, Priest, and Protector of my home.

It wasn’t until my wife and I attended a Fall Festival of Marriage at Ridgecrest, NC that I began to understand my role as a husband.  Still it took years for me to come to an understanding.  And after 40 years of marriage I am still learning.

Men let me ask you some questions if I may about your wife.  If I was to ask you these questions would you be able to answer them;

  • What color is her eyes?
  • What is her favorite color?
  • What is her favorite flower?
  • What does she like to do to relax?
  • What does she need from you the most?

Brown – Yellow – Daisy – Read – To feel valued, that she is significant.  That is the answers for my wife.  How do I know?  By asking.  Observing.  Communicating.  One of the problems in marriages today is the lack of communication – or if there is communication it is the wrong type.

Men, we need to be discipling our sons on how to be a spiritual leader in the home.  We need to be teaching them to reject passivity, to accept responsibility, and to lead courageously in the biblical standards of a husband.Husband Praying  Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  Husbands are not commanded to submit to his wife but instead tells the husband that he must give himself up for her.  Husbands are to love their wives in a self-sacrificial manner, following the example of Christ, who gave himself up for the church in a loving self-sacrifice.  This is a biblical picture of a husband laying down his life for his wife which is directly opposite to what the world teaches.  This goes beyond submission.  The husband is bound by love to ensure that his wife finds their marriage a source of rich fulfillment and joyful service to the Lord.

1 Peter 3:7 tells us, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”  Interesting information for us men there are the end of this scripture.  If you do not want your prayers to be hindered, you better live with her in an understanding way and show her honor.  Living in an understanding way focuses on living in according to God’s will, which includes understanding the needs of your wife.

Men, here is another interesting fact.  Did you know the Bible does not tell our wives she is to love her husband?  Only the husband is commanded to love his wife.  Why?  Because God made woman to naturally love those who live with them in an understanding way, to show them honor, and demonstrate love to them by loving them as Christ love the church.  WOW!  So if you want your wife to love you – start loving her as Christ loved the church and sacrificially gave his life for the needs of the church – in your case though, the needs of your wife.

I wonder how many divorces could have been prevented if as young boys, men had been mentored and disciple to understand what the Bible says about loving our wives?  I will surmise that many marriages would have been a lot different.  But it is never too late to start.  If we are honest with ourselves and examine why we got married in the first place, we would probably discover we went into marriage for selfish reasons – what will I get out of it instead of what can I give.

You can repent of this if you need to by asking God for forgiveness and asking Him to teach you how to love your wife as Christ love the church.  Then you need to ask for your wife’s forgiveness.  Your next step is to get yourself into a relationship with another man who can disciple and mentor you to be the man – husband – God wants you to be.

We need to be teaching our sons how to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  How to live in an understanding way with their wives.  This is a subject that I could write much more on and probably will in future posts.  But right now, I want us to understand the need for men to be discipling or mentoring young men and each other on what it means to be a Biblical husband and a spiritual leader in their home.

Remember Men, love your wife as Christ love the church and gave himself for it and live with her in an understanding way.

Why Men Need to be in Discipling Groups – Part 5

Five in 10 men will have a major problem with pornography.

This is one of the biggest problems in American churches today.  Never in the history of the church in America has there been such a secret sin.  Charles Swindoll calls it “the no. 1 secret problem in the church.”  Recently I heard a Clinical Psychologists state that three-quarters of the men he councils regarding porn addiction can accurately and effectively explain the plan of salvation.  Men who consider themselves Biblical Christians has allowed themselves to get captured in this addiction.  It is very possible you know someone who is and possibly someone you would never suspect.

With the on-set of the internet age pornography can be easily access in the privacy of the home: never having to venture into the local strip clubs or porn theaters or even into the local convenience store to purchase magazines.  Without realizing it we regularly give our sons and daughters their own personal pornographic magazine wrapped up in what we call a Smartphone.

However, we treat men with this problem like the plague.  It’s easier for a man to admit he is having an affair, going through a divorce, being a drug addict, or being an alcoholic than admitting he has a problem with pornography.  Men with this problem need to feel they can freely talk about this issue and seek help within their men groups.

God knew from the very beginning inappropriate sex would be a problem with us.  When He gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 God told us “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14).  Jesus took this even further when He said in Matthew 5:28, But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

So men, even when we look at another woman with lustful thoughts we have committed adultery.  Jesus said that “Out of the heart comes evil thoughts … adultery, sexual immorality…. These are what defile a person” (Matt 15:19-20).  But there is hope.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”. There is always an escape.  All we have to do is look for it when we feel the temptation of having lustful thoughts or to view pornography.  This could be calling friend, picking up the Bible and read, praying, or just being busy with activities.  Idleness is the biggest cause for us to fall into sin.

Paul and his fellow missionaries set an example of diligence for the church.  “You yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.  We were not idle when we were with you. . . . On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8).  Idleness was not a part of Paul’s lifestyle, and we can’t afford to countenance it in our lives, either.

Yes, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  The Lord knew that He needed to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49), and so should we.  Jesus told us to pray for “workers” to be sent into the harvest field, not idlers (Luke 10:2).  There is work to be done for the Kingdom, and we must not be distracted by the things of the world.  Though Paul was speaking of people not working when he wrote (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8), this it is also true from the viewpoint that if we are idle it is a time that Satan will entice us into sin.  So a great escape from the temptation of lust – the desire to view pornography – is to be busy, hopefully in the Lord’s work.

There are also several accountability programs available for men.  You can google porn accountability and get a list of these programs such as Covenant Eyes, Safe Eyes, and X3Watch.

But, once again men need to be discipled in living an abundant life in Christ.

Why Men Need to be in Discipling Relationships – Part 4

Six men will only pay the monthly minimum on their credit cards.

Money is intoxicating.  Who doesn’t like to have a wad full of money in their pockets.  It can be as addictive as easily and as completely as the iron grip of alcohol or drugs.  Its power to change us is close to that of Jesus Himself.  Money possesses the power to rule our lives.  It will lure us, like a moth, getting too close to the flame until, finally, our wings are set ablaze and we financially tumble out of control.Financial Burden

Howard Dayton, financial author and founder of Campus – a financial traini
ng ministry, has counted about 500 verses in the Bible on prayer but over 2,300 verses on how to handle money and possessions.  One would have to study the entire Scriptures to have a total grasp of what the Bible says.

For many it’s more than being unhealthy; it’s as stated above – out of control.  We have become a society of pretenders, bent on portraying an image of financial success whether or not there is any substance to it.  And there is little marginal difference between the way Christians and non-Christians handle their money in our secularized culture.

I know in my own life at one time I really didn’t give much thought to the comings and goings of money in regards to my family.  I was the spender between my wife and I and she had to unpleasant duty to try and keep me from spending foolishly.  She had the responsibility of managing our bank accounts, paying the bills and making sure I didn’t do something foolish when it came to money.  Because of my spending we had huge credit card bills and were basically paying the minimum payment on our bills.

That began to change one weekend when we attended a Fall Festival of Marriage in Ridgecrest, NC.  I began to recognized my errors.  The topic that weekend was For Love or Money.  It was during this weekend that I realized as a husband and the spiritual leader of my home it was my responsibility to manage the finances and be responsible for the financial well-being of our home.

As a result of this weekend I began to study what scripture had to say about money.  I read numerous books on the subject of money and the Christian life.  Larry Burkett at the time was well known for his teaching on Biblical understanding of how to handle money.  Though it was not something I did naturally, I learned with God’s help the responsibility of managing the financial affairs of my home.

Men it is vitally important we handle our finances biblically so it will bring honor and glory to God and bring security to our family.  I think we have all read the statistics that most marriage problems are somehow related to finances.

There are resources to help us understand how to manage our monies and if you are one who has large credit card debt, how to reduce that debt.  I would encourage you to spend time educating yourself on the responsibility to be an example to your family on how to properly manage your finances.

I know of an individual who recently was afraid they were going to lose their job through a layoff and realized that if that happen the debt they had accumulated would be hard to overcome.  It was a wakeup call for them to get their financial house in order.

Our culture has blindly led us into believing that the more you have, the better off you are.  And as a result we continue to obtain possessions until we can barely pay our bills – if at all.  We need to reverse this attitude.  We need to trust God for our provisions.  Scripture tells us that Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”  And Luke 12:27, it is recorded that Jesus said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”   If God will provide for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, why would we not think he will not provide for us.  If we trust in Him, he will provide what we need at the time we need it.

Great verse to memorize to help you remember that God will provide for your needs is Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

We all need help in this area to properly handle money.  There are courses and great ministries out there to teach us how to biblically handle money.  Talk with your church leaders and they will be able to direct you to these courses.  Some churches even have studies periodically that helps individuals to understand the scriptures in regards to finances and being responsible stewards of what God has given us.  Take advantage of these opportunities.

We need to be discipled in the area of financial responsibility.

Why Men Need to be in Discipling Groups – Part 3

Eight of ten men will not find their jobs satisfying

A couple of weeks ago we started looking and unpacking a list of statistics the authors of the book No Man Left Behind share that men in the church struggle with.  In this post we are going to look at the statistic that eight of ten men will not find their jobs satisfying.

We constantly hear men talking about the negatives of Men Work Struggletheir jobs and never the positives.  Men many times feel as if they are in a rut when it comes to the careers.  They get up early in the morning.  Take a shower and get dress.  Grab a quick bite of breakfast, kiss the wife and kids goodbye as they rush out the door.  Deal with the pressures and stress of work.  Come home to dinner.  Maybe to a wife who had a rough day and is discourage.  Kids tugging at your pants wanting attention.  You want some down time – just a few minutes to unwind.  All of a sudden you boil over and you release some of that stressful energy on your family.  You realize what you did and you feel bad.  You go to bed and get up the next morning just to start all over again.  What a life!

I must confess there was a period of time in my recent past I was not satisfied with my career.  And just like I described above, if you listen, you will hear men regularly talk about wishing they could make a career change.  I was stressed out.  I was actually depressed and just wishing something would happen that would prevent me from going to work.  Now I wasn’t looking for something to happen to me or any of my family but some little thing that would keep me from work.  Men that is not a good place to be.  It will affect your quality of life, your relationship with your wife and children, and it will affect your spiritual walk with God.

The reason I ended up in the career I was in for over 40 years was because Carolina Power and Light was hiring the day I walked into their offices looking for a job.  I needed a job as I had just left college.  I was going to work a couple of years, save some money, and then go back to school.  Instead, I meet a beautiful girl, we got married and now I was stuck in a career to care for her and eventually two children.  I had a responsibility to work and provide for my family.  Though I would not trade my wife or children for anything; how many of you have had the same or similar situation?

I spent no time in asking God what He wanted me to do when it came to my career.  As I recognized this later in life and repented of not following Him in the career path He was preparing me for; He allow me to become satisfied in my career by moving me into a position I thoroughly enjoyed until my retirement.

Many men are dissatisfied in their careers or they have a sense of lost.  They feel as if something is missing and they can’t really put their finger on it.  I believe it is because we have missed what God has called us to do.  When God created us, he created us with certain gifts and talents.  He has a plan for our lives and we need to rely on Him to direct us and show us the plan.

Today, I encourage young men to discover the talents and skills God has given them; discover their passion (or calling as we sometimes call it) and then apply those talents, skills and passion to a career.  God has called all believers to a career.  We typically think of a “calling” as being some type of ministerial vocational career.  But we can be “called” into any career.  God can call you to be a mechanic; or a contractor; or a lawyer; or a doctor; or a teacher, or into any other profession.

According to Romans 11:29; “The calling of God are irrevocable.”  Just like when God did not reject Israel when they were disobedient God will not reject us when we have failed to follow His plan for our lives with the gifts and talents He has given us.  He does not change His calling just because we went a different direction.  His calling remains the same.

Several years ago a friend of mind gave me the book Half Time by Bob Buford.  I would recommend a reading of this book if you are dissatisfied imageswith your career.  But more importantly spend time with God examining yourself and asking God what He has called you to do.  We spend a better part of a third of our lives in our careers.  Why would God want us in careers that causes us to be dissatisfied?

Maybe you need to repent of not following His leading.  If so just humbly ask God to forgive you and he will.  He may answer your prayer by working in your life to allow you to become satisfied or He may move you to make a career change.  Whatever the case, seek God and surrender your career to Him and allow Him to direct your path.  As Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

All of us will touch many lives with the Gospel of Christ no matter what profession we are in.  Never think of your job as a menial task just to pay the bills.  Think of it as your calling to reach the lost for Christ or to encourage your brothers and sisters in the market place.  God has a purpose for your life and that purpose is to glorify God no matter where you are at this moment.

Get with a group of men and talk about God’s calling of each of your lives.  Pray and encourage each other to seek God’s guidance and direction in your careers.

Men need to be discipled to prepare them for the calling (careers) God will place on their lives.