"All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune make for a finer, nobler type of manhood."
— President Theodore Roosevelt
It only takes a few moments consuming today's media to determine that the world is at war with manhood. At the core of this epic battle is intense combat that is ripping apart our families. The casualties are threefold: our children are left fatherless, our women have to go it alone, and men have lost their sense of identity and greater purpose.
Several years ago, my daughter made the following comment to me: "Daddy, I don't understand. Most of the families in our neighborhood are divorced." She was right. Unfortunately, the street we live on is likely similar to yours. The family is under a full and relentless assault, and, sadly, many men are not engaging in the battle.
While not every case is related to a disengaged man, the statistics will tell you that many cases are. I recently read an article in which the writers predicted the "end of man." In essence, they were pulling from studies from the past twenty years that portrayed the "great decline of manhood" in every sector of life. The numbers don't lie. It would appear from the hard data that men are walking away from their jobs, families, and responsibilities as men.
What most concerns me is the failure of dads and husbands to step up against this onslaught that is determined to remove the inherent and God-given influence of the devoted family man. Let's face it, the prevailing leftist culture and mainstream media appear to want men to fail. They seemingly enjoy reporting the moral failures and mishaps of men that break up marriages and cause a wake of destruction that their kids will carry with them well into their adult years.
This moral contest begins within the heart and soul of every man.
I recently came across this quote from Theodore Roosevelt. I believe it is quite befitting for all the men that want to put a stop to the assault against what it means to indeed be a man:
"If during this century the men of high and fine moral sense show themselves weaklings; if they possess only that cloistered virtue which shrinks shuddering from contact with the raw facts of actual life...if they stand aside from the pressure and conflict; then as surely as the sun rises and sets all of our great material progress, all the multiplication of the physical agencies which tend for our comfort and enjoyment, will go for naught and our civilization will become a brutal sham and mockery. If we are to do as I believe we shall and will do, if we are to advance in broad humanity, in kindliness, in the spirit of brotherhood, exactly as we advance in our conquest over the hidden forces of nature, it must be by developing strength in virtue and virtue in strength, by breeding and training men who shall be both good and strong, both gentle and valiant — men who scorn wrongdoing, and who at the same time have both the courage and the strength to strive mightily for the right."
When I read this quote, I am reminded of the simplicity of the conflict before us. It is one of purpose and priority. As a man who follows Christ, my highest mission is this: To love God and to love others. Nowhere is this God-given assignment clearer than within the walls of my own home.
In a day where it seems that many men are running away from the battlefield that encircles their families, it's time we once again capture the same passion that a young teenager had when he ran to meet a giant-sized adversary on the field of battle.
"When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine."
— 1 Samuel 17:48
Not only did David meet his enemy, but he ran to do so. For today's man, the enemy that wages war against our manhood and families is also giant-sized. But before we start running, let's not forget what we need most to engage in the battle. Before David ran to meet Goliath, he said this:
"For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand." (verse 47)
Like David, we can only advance in this divine calling, if, indeed, God is fighting the battle for us. For me, and I'm guessing for many men out there, it is all too common to start running into action without first acknowledging and trusting in the One who will deliver us from all evil. Before taking on the enemy, my life purpose needs to be defined by my relationship with Jesus Christ. The more I make my life about Christ, the more He makes my life about Him. This is where a man's true identity becomes unwavering — when God is at the center of it.
What's remarkable is that as we move closer to God, He moves closer to us (James 4:8). As we rely on Him and His Word to guide us, God provides us the passion and determination to make our lives about Him. Our priorities become shaped by God and not the world around us.
Regardless of what the world says or does, our battle cry is for our families. Our wives and children need to know that we will lay our lives down for them — not just in a figurative way, but by stepping up to be godly men in all areas of our lives:
• to share God's Word with them,
• to openly pray with and for them,
• to honor and protect our marriages,
• to help out with the daily household chores,
• to mentor our sons and be examples for our daughters,
• to cling to what is right and to abhor evil
• to be there when our fellow man is in need
• to speak truth and life into our children
• to never give up on each other.
"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
— Micah 6:8
I pray that you will join me in resolving to make God and family our highest priorities. I'll close with one additional quote from President Roosevelt.
"We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life."