Why do men withdraw from God? Why would a man rather go to the office or to the gym than spend devotional time with God? Why do men voluntarily isolate themselves from the only one who can actually help them? Making disciples starts with figuring out why men are stuck. Here are five reasons that jump out. More than one reason may apply. You will think of other reasons we can add to this list.
DOUBT First is the man who wants to believe but since he can't see God he struggles. He feels God has left him on his own to figure it out. He struggles to believe in God and Jesus because, when it comes to how the world operates, "that's not how I would've done it." Since he would have done things differently than the way God has done them, he lets observer bias pollute his findings.
ANGER Another man feels let down and angry at God, although he has suppressed this anger because he thinks it is unspiritual and sinful. But in his heart of hearts, he sincerely believes that God has abandoned him, left him on his own, and not been there for him when the man needed God the most.
GUILT Then there is the man who is riddled with guilt and feels unworthy to be in God's presence. He just can't accept, or doesn't properly understand, that Christ has paid the full penalty for his sins. He can't forgive himself. He may have past regrets that weigh him down. He doesn't feel worthy of forgiveness. So he withdraws from God. Of course, that's the central idea of the gospel – we don't deserve forgiveness, but he offers it anyway.
SEARED CONSCIENCE Yet another man has committed a sin, or is caught up in a pattern of sin, that has seared his conscience and deadened his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He has either exchange the truth of God for a lie, or the glory of God for an idol. He is likely addicted to something– an idol, a substance, a relationship, a goal, himself. He may or may not feel all alone in the world today, but some day his world will implode. It will be important for you to be there when that happens.
DEPRESSED And then there's the man who has been down so long that he is depressed. He feels lethargic and lacks energy. He finds it difficult to focus on God, and when he does it seems that God doesn't answer. Got seems distant. His Word doesn't speak to His heart. He prays and feels like nothing happens. We all have seasons like this. Don't give this man theological answers. Jesus did not say, "All men will know you are my disciples if you can explain what's wrong with them." He said, "All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another."
When God puts a man in your path who is stuck, discipleship means finding out why and then helping him solve that problem. Hopefully, these five reasons will help you better understand the man you want to help. And let us do everything in love.