That men fulfill their role as protector of their family and community is intuitive to such a degree that we assume it will happen. When it doesn’t, the world takes notice.
General Revelation (God’s disclosure of his nature and law through creation and conscience) teaches that the strong ought to protect the weak. Individuals and governments have a duty to protect their citizens from oppression and exploitation. Each husband has an obligation to protect his wife and children. Sons, when they have reached maturity, should defend their siblings—especially, their sisters.
WE ALL HAVE FAILED AT THIS
While few question its validity, all men have failed as protectors. Our first Father, Adam was guilty in this respect; so he began a pattern inherited by all posterity.
As Christian men, our battle is to fight against inaction and abdication, the sin of failing as protectors. The trajectory of our culture presents unique challenges for being a responsible, courageous biblical man. It is a formidable, but not impossible task. Each generation of Christian must respond in faithfulness within his specific context.
Here are three ways husbands and single men can be protectors in their respective contexts.
APPLICATION FOR HUSBANDS:
Protect Time with your wife. For Christian men, especially those with demanding careers, a recurring temptation is to neglect your spouse because of a busy schedule. There is a subtle deception that justifies neglect on the basis of a “greater good.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Set aside blocks of time that cannot be infringed upon. Shut off your phone; close your blinds, do whatever it takes. Guard this time religiously.
Protect the Eyes of your family. Husbands and Fathers in the 21st century must be especially vigilant in light of media accessibility. Any video posted on the web can be accessed through a smart phone—and now even elementary school children have them. Movies and TV have always been a challenge, but the modern level of immorality conveyed through media makes resolved vigilance an imperative. Husbands must not bend to the cultural drift. In protecting your children’s eyes, you are certainly helping to protect their hearts.
Protect the Minds of your household: This may not seem an apparent to many, but it is essential. The culture’s worldview increasingly finds itself at odds with the Christian one. As a husband and Father, we must be intellectually informed. Subtle cultural messages bombard and undermine the Christian worldview. If we locate the source of the messages and the prevailing framework that guides them, we can discern what is good, true, and beautiful from what is evil, twisted, and false. Moreover, our families will know why they believe what they do, not just what they believe.
APPLICATION FOR SINGLE MEN:
Treat every Christian girl as if she were your sister. While this certainly should be applied to all females, a young man has a special responsibility to the “household of faith” (Gal. 6). Paul tells the young pastor Timothy to “treat younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim. 5:2) Much of our cultural would have us believe that treating women as an object of self-gratification is fitting. Single men have a unique responsibility to protect their sisters in Christ. In an age where women are as vulnerable to sexual abuse as ever, the men of the church must testify to a savior who protects his own by the way they protect their sisters.
Treat your brothers like brothers. Like many obvious truths, they are not so obvious. Christian men are your brothers, in every sense of the word. Christian brothers look out for one another, they defend one another, and they guard each other’s souls. Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” You do not have a choice as to who is your brother. It has been given to you. True brotherhood is often difficult to attain. It requires authenticity, truthfulness and sacrifice.
Treat the church like your wife. Millenials are notorious for their lack of commitment to organizations, relationships and sadly, the church. Single men have unique opportunities for ministry that married people cannot always do. Churches are desperate for reliable, committed, consistent men who will serve the bride of Christ. Find a local church, become a member, teach, disciple, play in the band, lead a college ministry; find a place to serve. In short, stop dating the church. Committed young men are rare, committed single young men are rarer. Make the most of your singleness through service in the church.
Being protectors as men is a task that takes many forms. It is neither easy, nor expedient. Nevertheless, it is a calling given to us by Jesus. Because of this, it is both possible and joyful; the world will take notice.
A helpful source for understanding worldviews is Francis Schaeffer’s classic Trilogy set which includes: The God who is there, Escape from Reason and He is There and He is not Silent. See The Francis A Schaeffer Trilogy (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1990). For a contemporary resource for evaluating worldviews in the movies see Brian Godawa, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment (Downer’s Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009).
Ryan is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Sonoma, CA. He is currently pursuing a PhD in historical theology at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. He and his wife, Janai, are expecting their first child in January. You can follow Him on Twitter @RyanRindels
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