Today is the first day of a new series which I hope will carry us through the holidays. I will write about questions I’m sure we’ve all asked about our faith–from the mundane to the serious. I’m not going to pretend to have the definitive answers. Those would come from people who have studied and thought about the Christian faith much longer than I have. No, these questions come from the heart of an ordinary Christian woman trying her best to rest in God’s grace as His daughter and to have the heart of Jesus as she lives in this world between the now and not yet of Jesus’ coming back for us. Ordinary, just like you.
So, with that being said, let me describe what brought me to the first question. A few months ago, I was looking for another devotional since I had finished reading and writing through the devotional 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs. I received an email one morning saying that the free giveaway at Lifeway Christian Store for the week was a copy of the devotional The Devotional for Women which was edited by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson. Wow, it was something I needed, and it was free. You can’t beat that. I went to the story and picked it up. I’ve been using it since then, and it has been God honoring though more female focused as you would expect of a devotional with the title The Devotional for Women. I don’t have anything personal against this particular devotional or any other female Christian author I have read, for that matter. They’ve all blessed me tremendously. I have gained insight about my faith and my life from all of them. But, I got to thinking this morning. Why do we have devotionals for men and for women? Why aren’t there devotionals that both sexes could use. So, that’s my first question for this series. Why do we have devotionals for men and for women?
Now, first, I want to say I do understand about marketing to different groups. If someone is trying to sell a book to children, it doesn’t make sense to aim the advertising dollars at men who like sports. The same thing could be said about baby equipment which, I would think, would be marketed towards people who can have babies and not to retired people. The same thing could be said of any product one is trying to market. Anyway, back to the devotionals. I took a look at the books on a shelf in the Christian section of the bookstore, and there were books and Bibles available for almost every group of people. Girls, boys, teen girls, teen boys, young adults, women, single women, married women, men, single men, married men, married couples, retired people…I could go on, but I think you get the point. The Christian book industry has this marketing thing down. They market the same way that the secular book industry does.
I thought though that we were supposed to come together when we studied God’s Word. Brothers and sisters learning about our Lord and Savior. I thought God wanted the church to be a body of one with all of our differences and diversities. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently as I’ve considered the divisions in my country and in the world. Especially in the church. We fight about anything and everything most of which doesn’t matter. Sometimes, I think Jesus looks down on us and cries with all the division in this world. I know it isn’t what God wants.
Why do we segment people into groups then for study material? We have covers of men’s books with sports, hiking, mountains, hunting and military representation on them. We have covers of women’s books with flowers, butterflies, cups of coffee, and coloring opportunities on them. I also found that even if the words women or men weren’t on the cover, I could still tell who the book was marketed to through the pictures, colors, and genders of the authors.
So what, you ask? Aren’t men and women different? Aren’t they interested in different things? Yes, they are different. I don’t deny that. What I do think though is that we don’t need to be gender divided in the church. I tried an interesting experiment a little while ago. I looked at the first several topics in two men’s devotional books and two women’s devotional books. The topics looked very similar to me. I’ll post the lists so you can get an idea.
Kingdom Man Devotional by Tony Evans
- A Kingdom Man Seeks Priceless Treasure
- A Kingdom Man Aims for the Goal
- A Kingdom Man Follows His Rule Book
- A Kingdom Man is Prepared
- A Kingdom Man Makes the Right Choice
- A Kingdom Man Brings Freedom
- A Kingdom Man Builds a Legacy
- A Kingdom Man Rules Under God’s Authority
- A Kingdom Man Takes Responsibility
- A Kingdom Man Trust that God’s Got It
- A Kingdom Man Longs to be Great
- A Kingdom Man Finds Strength in Meekness
- A Kingdom Man is Free to Pursue Greatness
Daily Wisdom for Men – 2018 Devotional Collection compiled by Barbour Staff
- Start with God
- Teaching Obedience
- Loving Other Believers
- Morning Meetings with God
- Spiritual Prosperity
- God’s Revelation to Man
- A Valuable Employee
- Preserved for the Kingdom
- Who Will Trust You?
- Open Your Home
- Don’t Wait
- Speak No Evil
- Hide the Word
- Family Managers
- God Shows No Partiality
Daily Wisdom for Women – 2018 Devotional Collection compiled by Barbour Staff
- Delight in His Word
- A Daily Walk with God
- The Delight of My Life
- Just Following God
- Unity with the Father
- Consistent with Prayer
- Lovingly Connected
- Faithful Friend
- A Sure Foundation
- Christlike Compassion
- This Very Moment
- His Promises are True
- His Hands and Feet
- Living the Truth
Be Still and Know: 365 Devotions for Abundant Living by Julie Rayburn
- Facing Life’s Challenges
- Priority of Prayer
- Total Commitment
- Getting Your Life Back on Course
- The Idol of Success
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Wicked vs. Righteous
- Stages of Our Christian Life
- Sufficient Grace
- Barometer for Spiritual Growth
- Church Fellowship
Pretty similar, right? In fact, they are almost identical in some cases. All topics that we all need to study. So, why are there different devotional books for men and women? Why can’t we all have a Bible study from the same book? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think they are good ones to ask. I’ll challenge us a little further. Why can’t we all have a Bible study or devotional book written by a female author? I think it would be a great way to promote unity in the church and a great way to bring different perspectives into our study of the Scriptures.
God bless you all today!