I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Unfolded: The Story of God.
Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer who fought in World War II. As the story goes, Onoda actually refused to believe the war was over and spent 29 years continuing to fight. For 29 years, he lived in the wilderness, hunted animals, and raided villages until his former commander was brought in to personally issue orders relieving him of his duty. Onoda believed the wrong story about the war and it had devastating implications. He spent his life fighting a fight he did not need to fight and working to achieve peace instead of receive it as the war was over.
The same could be said about the story we believe about God. When men believe the wrong story about God, the implications can be devastating. We will chase after things that don’t matter, fight fights that aren’t worth fighting, and pursue things that aren’t worth pursuing.
There are two common yet inaccurate stories men (and women) often believe about God and the Bible.
1. The Me Story: The Bible is about me
Edmund Clowney once famously said, “It is possible to know the Bible stories yet miss the Bible story.” Many men in our churches know such stories as David and Goliath and somehow try to make themselves the hero. As if they are like David standing before the giants in their lives. But, like Clowney would say, they’ve missed the story the Bible is telling altogether. The Bible is a story that points to Jesus. Not us. As much as we want to be the hero, we are not. Jesus is. We are the Israelites trembling on the sidelines facing destruction when God sends a Hero to stand before our enemy in our place and defeat him when we couldn’t. It is this 1 singular story of rescue, redemption, and freedom that the Bible tells over and over again in various ways from Genesis to Revelation.
2. The Moralistic Story: I must do more for God
People can often read the Bible with a moralistic lens. People who do this see the Bible as an instruction manual with a list of commands that must be accomplished in order to earn the approval of God. This is devastating. In this view, God is a hard-nosed taskmaster and we begrudgingly submit as a way to flag God down with our goodness and show Him how awesome we are doing so He will approve of us.
When we give men commands such as, “stop looking at porn”, “pursue your wife”, or “work hard”, that aren’t rooted in the news of what Jesus has done for us, what we are doing is giving men a list of things to do without the power to actually do them because their hearts haven’t been changed by Jesus and His message. As an example, in Ephesians, when the apostle Paul challenges husbands to love their wives, he doesn’t just bark orders to the men in Ephesus. He says, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” He is essentially saying, “If you’re having a hard time pursuing your wives, maybe you’ve forgotten how much Christ loved you.”
To help fight these two incorrect stories and point men to the Story of the Bible, I was honored when the LifeWay men’s team asked me to write a Bible study for men entitled Unfolded: The Story of God. When men have a healthy understanding of the Story of God and live in light of it, their families, churches, and communities will be greatly impacted.
Today on the blog, we’re giving away 2 copies of the Unfolded: The Story of God Leader Kit. Enter here or in the form below before 11:59pm CT tonight, January 11, 2017. We will notify the winner within a week via email.