What is the state of men’s spiritual health? It’s a question that we should ask ourselves from time to time. Many well-known authors have written on the subject and have given us a good overall picture of why men spiritual health has fallen over the years. But if this information is available to the public, and to the Christian community in particular, then why are men still suffering spiritually? Why do we have so many men living a dual life-style for example? And why are the divorce percentages of married “saved” men equal to or greater than those of “unsaved” men in some cases? The report below taken by the Barna Group, who are a well-read and respected provider of statistics in the Christian community gives us valuable insight of possibly where some of the problems of men spiritual health lies.
Divorce Adults Who Have Been Married
|(Base: 3792 adults)|
|Population Segment||Have Been Divorced||No. of Interviews|
|Evangelical Christians (Hold to a Creed Belief)||26%||339|
|Non-evangelical born again Christians (Opposite as above)||33%||1373|
|Notional Christians (Speculative or Imaginary)||33%||1488|
|Associated with non-Christian faith (All World Religions)||38%||197|
|Atheist or agnostic (No Recognition of God as Creator)||30%||269|
|All born again Christians (All Reformed Denominations)||32%||1712|
|All non-born again Christians (General Population)||33%||2080|
|Upscale (Income greater than $75k)||22%||450|
|Downscale (Income less than $20k)||39%||367|
|(Source: The Barna Group, Ventura, CA)|
From the above table, one-third of All Adults surveyed and even those among the Christian community at-large have been divorced at one time or another. Why is this happening when it was never meant to be? Matthew 19:6-7 says, “They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Divorce was never designed by God for mankind. So consider the following, “Did we choose the wrong person or are we the right person for the one we chose? Is it simply that we’re missing out on “that thing” that causes us the most temporary happiness and we mistakenly view this as long term joy and self-satisfaction, which will ultimately and inevitably lead to my success among my work associates and friends. “That thing”, that will be the turning point that gives us the psychological and emotional edge in life. “That thing”, that when we finally recognize it as “that thing”, will mystically bring things together with very little effort on our part. Now, if you have been totally honest with the state of your spiritual health up to this point, then you should start to unfold the callus layers that cement your feet, obstruct your view and bind your heart and hands. For thus says the Lord of Host, “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2). We don’t have to go looking for “that thing”, because chances are “that thing” will come looking for us. To be humble is not to display weakness, because this is the man whom God is seeking.
So, if “that thing” has a hold on you and describes you at some point in your life, then FRET NOT…all is not lost. We have been there with you, ALL OF US! Some more than others, but we have all been there none-the- less. In order for men to overcome spiritual sickness and improve our spiritual health, we must look at our root cause. Yes, our root cause, and not my neighbors root cause. Don’t deflect the attention we so desperately need in order to improve our overall spiritual health. Deflection causes us to draw attention away from ourselves and put that attention on others, especially if it has negative over or under tones. These root causes, such as addictions or conveying various forms of untruths, however painful they must be at the time, must be examined, diagnosed and treated. And if left untreated, it will lead us down a pathway of uncertainty and a slippery slope of unforeseen pain and personal discontentment that will spill-over to other areas of our lives, which could affect the spiritual health of other men you come in contact. Some might require spiritual as well as psychological or physical treatment, but our message today is God has the power to lead and direct you where to go to get what you need. Talk to someone!!
I would like to offer the following for men who feel like they cannot talk to other men about matters of the heart. After all, this thing we call communication is the first step of freeing ourselves from ourselves. The Lord speaks to us through Paul when He says, “We know that our old self ] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6: 6-8). Freedom is relief from the cares of this world. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)
This leads us another question, Why is it that women can discuss their matters of the heart more freely among themselves with a comfortable ease, and, I might add with great conviction, while men struggle with talking about the most general of subject matters, however personal. Answer, because we don’t want to appear weak to our associates or society. Society has given men a bitter pill and men have swallowed it. Society has dictated that you shouldn’t cry and not show a softer side, because you’re a man! But God says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good”. (Proverbs 15:1-3) Just the mention of a softer side or even speaking in a softer tone tends to project an image of femininity to the unlearned, and we can’t have that or we might be perceived as effeminate. So we project a faux image of male spiritual superiority, while we are slowly decaying from the inside out. Spiritual Health Awareness or SHA as I like to term it begins at admission. Admission before confession, confession before omission and omission before submission (ACOS). Men like doing things themselves, we like being in control or at least giving others the impression we are in control and for the misinformed few, this might be their antidote to the poison pill taken from society to be a man at all cost. But if we don’t first admit that anything exist, then what would we have to confess. If you REALLY want to be a godly man…admit it. And if we don’t confess it, then how can we omit it from our lives. If we say we believe God’s Word, then “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) And if we can’t omit it, then the only other choice is to continue to cling to it, and if we continue to cling to it, then how can we submit it to the very God that has called us to Himself for the purpose of glorifying His name and advancing the gospel. Remember the fig tree in Matthew 21: 18-19, “In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. Two things we can take away here, one, there is power in the Word of God, and two, there is power in your words you speak. Didn’t Jesus say, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37. But let us also not forget that an unproductive tree is not good for anything. So, are we producing fruit because we have deep roots, or are we producing very little or nothing at all because we only have surface roots.
Men need not shy away from the attention of addressing an issue, but rather confide in someone you can trust and be held accountable to that person when you feel yourself starting to waver. The man to whom you confide in, is as, if not more important than the one who is confessing. The listener should not hold anything against the person confessing, because one day, we might be in a similar situation. Neither should we view a confessing matter as something that’s part of a person’s permanent nature. They can be delivered because we have been delivered. Let the Lord’s words through Jeremiah 32:17 ring out when he says, ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” There is strength in numbers, and within that number, there is wisdom waiting to assist you whenever and wherever you might need it.
Finally, in the twenty-eight years of ministry, I have seen several major root causes of men unwillingness to be the steward that God called them to be in this life. However, one thing tends to resurface time and time again. Men within the church lack the proper biblical understanding and/or teaching as to their role as husbands, fathers, protectors and providers. In most cases, the women has seized authority from their husband. Okay, I stand corrected, men have relinquish their authority to their wife, because he doesn’t “feel comfortable” making decisions for the household. Or she seizes, oops, he relinquishes it by default, because if nothing ever gets done and a decision must be made, then trouble will begin to loom on the horizon. Listen to the Word of God, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26) He said, she said always resort to blame and there is plenty of blame to go around. We might give this reason as an excuse, ‘I’m not getting the proper teaching at my church” or if “I am getting that teaching, it’s not consistent or reinforced on a regular basis”. So, have you made it known to your church leadership? Oh wait a minute, if you say anything about this to them, then the leadership just might ask you to volunteer to head up that discussion, so you’ll just remain silent and complain from a distance to someone of a like-mind. Or we might have thought…“But my leadership doesn’t listen to what I have to say, and if I make a suggestion, they won’t ever use it so I feel like I’m never listened to at all.” Didn’t God speak through Paul these words, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15). Because after all, if those of like-mind understand me more than my church leadership, then maybe some of those like-minded people needs to be leading. Might I remind you, Spiritual Leaders are called first, chosen second, or rather called to be chosen. What about this one, “I don’t want any discord in my home and my wife might be a better decision maker than me.” “Oh, did God get it wrong by placing the man over his household?” Doesn’t the Word of God say? “Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.” (Gen. 2:19-20) Well, if that’s not authority, then I don’t know what we can confidently say otherwise about how authority is defined.
Have we ever said, “My children need their privacy, so I don’t want to invade their space.” “Excuse me, are they paying rent while still in middle school, high school or even college?” If not, then there is no sacred space under the roof where you dwell, and as protector and provider you MUST protect those things that come in and go out of your home. Proverbs 10:1 declares, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.” And Proverbs 11:29 says, “Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.” Why then do we have to suffer needlessly? God has made provisions to insure our victory, guard our sanctity and preserve our liberty.
Pastor True Worship Baptist Church
(All Scripture mentioned in this document is taken from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible)