Anyone who has lived any amount of time realizes that life, at its best, is hard. Our fallenness, combined with that of the world, makes trudging through our days as a maddening experience of unfulfilled desires and expectations, both of self and others. Why is it so hard! We get lost and confused in the mire of details, difficult relationships, disappointment with our selves, and a general sense of meaningless of it all. Surely, the writer of Ecclesiastes knew something of this condition. Depression of some sort is not far from each of us.
The Bible’s view of marriage is lofty and magnificent. Because of our tendency toward sinful, selfish thinking, and culture’s profound influence on us, viewing marriage rightly is a formidable task. We must think and study hard, and depend upon God’s word and the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see. And, we must want to see! Jesus’ high view of marriage is demonstrated in His disciples’ reply to Him after His correction of the Pharisees concerning divorce. They were so stunned by the content of His rebuke that they replied, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:10)
As a matter of habit, being the generally friendly guy that I am, I often find myself engaging in conversations with other men at the gym, seeking an opening to talk about the Lord. What is also often the case is that I find a brother in Christ, who shares a common faith and wants to talk about things pertaining to Christian life. At other times, men are open to talk about Christ but have no faith of their own. With all that said, the point of my concern in this blog is that of what appears to me as a dichotomy of two opposing worldviews held by a person claiming to know Christ. What I have in mind in particular is that of a Christian man’s view of women and his battle against (or giving into) the flesh.
One of the greatest dangers facing the Christian church today is our tendency to evaluate the essence of our faith by paradigms borrowed from the surrounding culture. It is not uncommon that these paradigms are based on how to know your needs and then find how God is useful in meeting them. Many are the books written to help us with this, labeled with a “how to” subtitle. We live in a pragmatic culture, where things are valued and pursued based on their usefulness. And usefulness is related to immediacy and good feelings, identity and position. The way we understand Christianity and try to live it out is oftentimes affected by the misguided and foolish notion that it (being a Christian) is a means to a greater end—that end being getting more of the stuff we want now and less of the stuff of life that we don’t want. The gospel is reduced from an authoritative revelation from God that is true and necessary to a means that is useful in meeting needs as defined by man. It is a sad commentary on the Christian church of today that it is more affected by this pernicious disease of pragmatism, learned from a materialistic culture, than it is affecting the culture by pointing to the greatest value, namely God Himself.
Each of us has a way of thinking and living that grows out of what we believe will make us right, make us happy, and make us secure, something that will give us identity and purpose. We all seek treasure, satisfaction, and security. Our natural tendency is to seek this apart from God. By this, however, it not meant that God is necessarily excluded from our lives, but rather that if He is considered at all, He is used instead of worshiped, and manipulated rather than trusted. The question about the seeking is whether this will be found in God or something else that might involve God, but isn’t God. Among these things we call “something else” are religious systems—ways of dealing with reality without giving up self-reliance and pride.