Week 45 in the year of our Lord 2021

A simple fix for many confusing problems in your life

7 minutes to read

One of the great blessings of a man’s sex drive is how it urges him to become more than himself. Ultimately, it is not just about having sex, because a man’s sexual desire drives him to headship: to become responsible not just for himself, but to take to himself a woman as a wife. One flesh joins with another, and they become a single flesh. From this union, forged in sex, God is pleased to bring forth new flesh: children. What better demonstrates the “one fleshness” of a marriage than the creation of an individual made of those two fleshes? Moreover, this new person magnifies God all the more in that he also bears God’s image.

The desire for sex is central to filling the world with the image of God. Our desires— when submitted to God’s created order—compel us to extend God’s rule, and to fill His world with more image-bearers. The sexes are designed to be productive, to be fruitful, and this fruitfulness requires cooperation. We are made to complement each other to such a degree that the creation mandate is impossible without male and female.

Hence, it is not good that a man be alone. He requires a helper suitable to him—a woman. And she needs someone whom she can help. Sexual cooperation is God’s design.

But notice one more thing about this design: what it builds. Man and woman are not made to form bonds for merely sentimental reasons, without being fruitful. Union is not the end goal: it is the means to fruitfulness and productivity. But neither are we made to come together merely to produce offspring, and then part ways again—as if union were irrelevant. Rather, we are united in the bond of marriage, and this bond exists to establish a community that builds upon itself. The bond expands to encompass more than the original couple; yet rather than reducing them, it instead magnifies them by establishing them at the head of a new community.

This is a glorious point, worth pondering in a world that has normalized cohabitation, divorce, and consumption.

God has precisely calibrated sex to produce households. Sex is an engine designed to generate this particular kind of fruitful community; a community that is central in all of life and Scripture. It does not just produce homes. It does not just produce families. It produces households: the total sum of a husband and wife’s fruitful work, bound together by covenant love.

—Excerpted from It’s Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity, Chapter 3, “Sex Is Very Good.” The book is now available for preorder from Canon Press.

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Let’s talk crises of faith.

There is a common pattern that plays out in nearly any crisis of faith—whether we’re talking full-blown apostasy, or just deep angst about the assurance of salvation.

The pattern is this:

In the vast majority of cases, the crisis is the product of moral failure. It has little to nothing to do with whatever the professed issue is.

Here’s an example:

A guy lacks self-control. It may be that eats or drinks too much. It may be that he uses porn or sleeps around. It may be that he wastes time on worthless things. The particular manifestation is neither here nor there. Regardless of what it is, it leads to a disorderly life, and that works its way out both physically and emotionally.

He may feel sick. He may be sleepless. He may be anxious.

He tells himself that it is spiritual. And it is. But he connects it to his struggle with this or that doctrine. Is the Bible trustworthy? Can you lose your salvation? Is church membership biblical? And so on and so forth.

He thinks that if he can bring order to this particular doctrinal issue, it’ll bring order to his life or troubled mind. But he has things backwards.

He fails to see that his “crisis of faith” is really a crisis of self-control. Another doctrinal dilemma would pop up if he solved the one that is currently causing him anxiety. It would become a game of whack-a-mole.

He would likely posture this as him being a deep thinker, or a man of tender conscience.

But it really is the anxious manifestation of a disordered life. He, and all under his headship, will remain unstable until he brings basic order to his own life.

There are two related ditches to avoid if you are counseling someone in this kind of situation (including yourself):

  1. You can take a man’s struggles at face value, without any real knowledge of his day-to-day life. A lot of the theological arguments we see, look like guys avoiding tackling their real issues. This is why, when we counsel men, we tend to ask about why an issue matters so much—and then follow up with questions about their real life relationships/practices. We want to know if there is an issue under the issue. There often is…but this leads to the other potential danger:
  2. You can engage in a never-ending downward-spiral of looking for the issue beneath the issue beneath the issue beneath the issue, etc. You shouldn’t take things at face value, but you should also know how to stop digging. Sometimes the issue really is the issue.

Leadership in the home flows like so:

Model → Teach → Correct.

  • Model: Embody your principles
  • Teach: Explain your principles
  • Correct: Exhort them to fall in line

In time, this creates a virtuous cycle.

Here is a helpful tip as a corollary to this:

As a general rule, the children mirror the emotional state of the mother, and the mother mirrors the emotional state of her husband.

Hence, as the father goes, so goes the household. Many, if not most, of your home’s problems can be traced to you.

If this sounds like us blaming men, you’re missing the point. We aren’t telling you this principle in to lay a greater burden on you. We’re telling you so that you can start shifting the burdens you’re already carrying. The power of a man in his household is good news, because it means you can fix a lot of seemingly mystifying and intractable problems simply by dealing with yourself.

If you’re focusing on trying to discipline your children and wife before disciplining yourself, you have things backwards, and you may well be treating symptoms rather than causes.

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Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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