Beautiful Design #3

You feel it every morning you wake up and every night when you go down to sleep. You watch it on the news and see it in movies and television. In every conversation, relationship, thought and desire. 

It’s sin. Such a typical Sunday school answer, but consider the real results of sin in everyday life: all types of pain, stress, anxiety, aggression, strife, selfishness, dishonesty, passivity, anger, stealing, just to name a few. We feel the alienation from God, nature and each other in all sorts of ways we can hardly wrap our minds around. James 4:1-4 says, 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Our beautiful design as men and women made in the image of God has also been tarnished. If you pay attention to current issues at all, you have probably noticed the changing nature of conversations on manhood, womanhood, marriage and the like. For some of you, it’s scary. For others, it is a daily battle of identity and self-worth. 

Clearly, sin affects all aspects of manhood and womanhood, but also in specific ways. Women are more inclined towards endless comparison (shape, size, tan, clothes, success, etc.) and perfectionism (the perfect selfie, job, relationship, measuring up to an impossible expectation set up by who knows!). Men, on the other hand, are prone to selfish passivity and selfish aggression. Just read statistics about pornography, fatherlessness, and incarcerations. It is truly a wilderness we live in. 

Is there any way to be free from these temptations, struggles, pitfalls and failures as man and woman? Or are we doomed to be tossed about by the winds and waves of whatever our culture defines as good, or pleasurable or desirable in a man or woman?

Perhaps a better question to ask is one that takes us back to the Garden of Eden where humanity fell out of love with its Creator God. And that is, do you trust God? Can you trust His design, purpose and love for you?

If we were honest, I think we would say “no.” Our actions, thoughts, values and beliefs make the case. We need overwhelming proof of this love, this beautiful design and destiny with God, right? Then be glad, Friend, for Romans 5 says, 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What kind of reaction does that stir up in you? Knowing you can’t save yourself is depressing, but the reality of God’s love is one of self-sacrifice and victory for you and me. There is power and freedom in the name of Jesus for men and women alike. 

Reflect:

  • What are some common struggles both men and women of all ages experience? What are some different types of struggles they each face?
  • How does the truth of God’s love and salvation in Romans 5-6 change your perspective on your own worth and value as a man or woman? 
  • What might be your next step in engaging a healthy, biblical perspective on manhood and womenhood? How can we honor the unique image God has placed on each?
  • Parents: What might be some next steps in encouraging your student’s value and worth as a young man or woman? How can you encourage their passions, gifts and beauty beyond what culture tries to value and encourage them in?

Keep an eye out for many more posts, interesting articles and helpful tips as we journey together through Beautiful Design. 

 

Nick Binsacca - Director of Youth Ministry