One of the quintessential issues men face in every age is that of courage. I remember the first time I stood up to my father, a Lt. Colonel in the US Army and a physical therapist, when he was treating my mother poorly. You see, my entire life up to that point, I was deathly afraid of my father. Even though I knew he wouldn’t physically harm me, I was afraid of him because I knew he could literally end my life with his own bare hands. Perhaps your experience with your father is completely different. Like many young men these days, I know well the pain of an absentee earthly father, but I also know the joy of a present Father in heaven who promises to never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). In this article, I want to explore a couple reasons why, as men, we need godly courage.
Men today are confronted with challenges on every side. With the rise of the internet and social media, we are more distracted than ever (even to the point of ignoring God and our families). The temptation to do everything except be in the Word of God, in the habit of prayer, and regularly gathering in a local Church each week to sit under the preaching of the Word, is a real challenge. When one combines this with the plethora of resources on the internet by which we as men are led into sexual temptation, we can see that there has never been a greater need for godly courage. Thankfully the Bible speaks loudly to this issue.
From Joseph, to Daniel, and King David to Paul, Peter and even to Jesus Himself, the Bible gives us many examples of godly courage. Consider Daniel who had just been taken out of his homeland and brought into a new land; it would have been easy for him to lack courage after all of that. Yet, in the midst of this situation he challenged cultural norms in Babylon and resolved in his heart to trust the Bible when it says not to sin against the Lord (Daniel 1:8). The same goes for Joseph. It would have been all too easy for Joseph to succumb to Potiphar’s wife and her attempt at seducing him, but he didn’t. Instead, he resisted and suffered. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way we are, but never sinned (Hebrews 4:14-16). In Jesus, we come to the sinless, victorious, triumphant and exalted King who seeks now through the Holy Spirit to empower men so that they can live courageously.
Servant-leadership is hard for us as men because, by seeking to be servants rather than authoritarian, we are running head-first into our pride and indwelling sin. Our pride tells us to be tyrants, but Jesus calls us to be humble servants. The gospel is countercultural at this precise point, because it challenges us as men in our marriages to take the lead, even while doing dishes. Perhaps your wife has had a hard day and dishes or laundry are piling up. Rather than asking her to do it, why don’t you lead and take the responsibility on yourself. I promise you, your wife will appreciate it and by doing so you will provide a means of grace to her and a witness to her that you love Jesus.
Godly courage is needed in our day. Men, we are confronted on every side to do everything but be men of courage. Yet, God calls us in His Word to lead our families. Men, we will be held accountable for how we lead. Just as soldiers prepare for battle, so we as men need to prepare for battle in our own lives. We need to prepare by preaching the right message to ourselves instead of a false gospel. We desperately need to take the message of the gospel contained in the Word of God and proclaim it to ourselves. The gospel is the source of our confidence and our joy in Him. The source of godly courage comes from the fount of joy and delight in the Gospel. The Gospel provides the reason for godly courage which in turn empowers us as men to love our wives and children to the glory of God. Rather than sulking around being depressed, and discouraged, men of God arise, and take hold of the inheritance that is yours now in Christ.
Men, we have a battle to attend to, the battle for the hearts and minds of lost people the world over, which requires that we take up the armor of God and stand by the grace of God in Christ. So take up your swords, men, and herald the gospel to the glory of God. Then we will be men of courage and valor—servant-leaders who shepherd our wives (and children) towards the Good Shepherd and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. Dave received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on twitter @DaveJJenkins. Find him on Facebook or read more of his work at Servants of Grace.