"Is it harder or easier to be a Christian man today than 25 years ago?" This was a question put to me on Monday night at a Bible study of about 20 younger men, prompted by the release Tuesday of the 25th anniversary edition on The Man in the Mirror. Here's a better answer than the one I gave Monday night.
A lot has changed over the last 25 years. Positively, our productivity and material standard of living have soared, thanks to the digital revolution. Who would want to give up Google, Amazon, or their smart phone? Not me! Negatively, our moral/spiritual/relational standard of living has plummeted. Think Internet pornography, explicit primetime sex, and how the institutions of marriage and family have been gutted.
Yet when it comes to what it takes to be a man, not much has changed. Jesus Christ hasn't changed. Human nature hasn't changed. The human heart hasn't changed. What it means to be a disciple hasn't changed. How men become disciples hasn't changed.
What has changed, however, is the ability of men – especially younger men – to "execute" their manhood.
In some ways, it is easier to be a Christian man because the difference between a secular man and a Christian is more highly contrasted. The choice is more clear. And there are more excellent discipleship resources available than ever before. This is what I told the men on Monday night.
But that's only part of the story. In other ways, it's harder to be a Christian man today. Why? Because an increasing number of younger men do not have a father figure to show them the ropes of biblical manhood. And to make matters worse, not enough mature Christian men have the guts to get out of their comfort zone and disciple these younger guys how to be godly men, husbands and fathers. That is beginning to change, but we have a lot of work to do and a long way to go.
The "net net" is that while what it takes to be a man hasn't changed, many younger men don't know what biblical manhood looks like. They have been abandoned to figure it out for themselves.
But all the young men I speak to genuinely want mature Christian men to show them the ropes. So if you have been discipled, remember that it is your solemn duty, and privilege, to disciple others. And if you have not been discipled, find someone to show you the ropes – no matter how old you are. The fate of young men, their marriages, and their families hangs in the balance. This battle for men's souls is a battle we can win. We cannot, we must not and, by God's grace, we will not fail. I can't wait to see what the next 25 years will bring.
Until every church disciples every man…