Most of the stories of men encountering God in the Bible do not take place in church(!). Moses is met in the desert, in a burning bush. Jacob wrestles with God in the wilderness also, in the dead of night. David wrote most of his psalms out under the stars. Paul is met on the desolate dirt road between Jerusalem and Damascus. And most of the stories of Jesus with his disciples don’t take place in church. Not even indoors.
We have got to recover the wildness of spirituality—especially masculine spirituality.
I say this because I know that many of my readers have done a good bit of time in the church, and they’re wanting to know “Where’s the Bible in all this? What about discipleship for boys and men?” The question proves my point—that we have lost both a noble view of the earth and how God uses it to disciple us—meaning, to train, develop, and make holy—and we have lost the wildness of masculine spirituality.
We must put ourselves into situations that will thrust us for ward in our journeys. So much of our daily lives is simply routine, and routine by its very nature is numbing. Get out of it. Break away. I didn’t get my time in the mountains with God this year, and not only did I miss it, but I can tell. My heart is not in the same place it would be in if I had; something is missing. The tank is half full. The connection is somewhat frayed.
God honors our intentionality as men, and while he will arrange for much of the journey, he asks us to take part as well, to engage. Ask, seek, knock, as the Scriptures urge. Though you may still feel very young inside, and at times our Father will be tender with those places, you are still a man and he will treat you like one. Be intentional about your own initiation into masculine maturity, as intentional as you would want to be toward your own sons, as intentional as you hope God is toward you. This is not a spectator sport.
John Eldredge, Fathered by God: Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009).
We have just released a new Bible study on The Life of David as Reflected in the Psalms.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
The Early Years / Psalm 19, 8, 29
The Exile / Psalm 37, 59, 52
The Exile, Part 2 / Psalm 56, 54, 57
The King / Psalm 18, 33
The King, Part 2 / Psalm 24, 110, 60
The Tears of the Penitent / Psalm 51, 32
Chastisements / Psalm 41, 39, 55
The Songs of the Fugitive / Psalm 3, 4, 63, 62, 37