Everything God creates is good (Genesis 1:31). But we must take this in large measure on faith because under the curse of the fall, our fallen perceptions often don’t see it. And our fallen natures often don’t believe it. We are disordered and pathologically self-centered. We are out of sync.
The only things fallen humans tend to believe are good are those that sate our appetites, increase our personal prestige, align with our preferences, pleasantly interest us, operate within our desired timetable, and are convenient and comfortable. In the scope of the created universe, these add up to only a very few things.
From infancy through our elder years, we so often feel frustrated. We don’t like to be told what to do, what to eat, what to wear, when to go to bed, when to get up, what to study, when to study, where to study, what to clean, when to clean, and on and on. We don’t like limits imposed on us by parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, children, neighborhood associations, government, or God. We buck against the constraints of morality, ethics, law, and even biology.
My point here is not that we shouldn’t challenge the evil that infects any authority or structure. We should. My point is that we have an indwelling evil propensity to challenge what is good. We have a bent to not believe God, that his design for us — which implies limits for us — are best for us (Genesis 3:4–6). We have a fallen desire to be autonomous, self-determining, sovereign gods.
God’s Design Lets Good Run Wild
We must keep this sinful desire in us in mind as we evaluate how we feel about God’s good design for manhood and womanhood. Remember, we buck and chafe against a host of structures, feeling them to be a constraint, a confine, even when they are put in place for our greatest joy.
God designed men and women. He made them complementary. When we as men and women trust what God says about what it means to be a man or woman and obey his instructions, the result is harmony. When we disregard him, the result is dissonance.
G.K. Chesterton said, “The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”
That’s what the new book Designed for Joy is about: the beautiful order of God’s design that frees all that is good about manhood, and all that is good about womanhood, to run gloriously wild. Fourteen young leaders cast a unified vision for Christian manhood and womanhood and how the gospel affects both men and women, as well as identity and practice.
Read it for the sake of your wild joy. And trust God’s promises more than your perceptions.