As bullying problems land in the headlines month after month, it’s natural that our culture frowns upon any form of fighting. And for Christians, the familiar verse about turning the other cheek leads many of us to a place where we see fighting as a failure in living out our faith.
Do you want my reaction as a father? As a pastor? Teach your son to fight. That’s what he’s made to do.
That’s right—our sons need to learn how to fight. In addition to learning how to fight, more importantly they need to know when to fight and why to fight. They also need to learn when to walk away.
But saying there’s no place for fighting just isn’t true.
And guess who your child needs to hear that from? That’s right, YOU.
The father. The grandfather. The brother-filling-in-as-a-father. The man who knows your heavenly Father, and knows that you were made to fight.
I read a book recently that suggested our culture has tried to turn good men into women—nicer, softer, kinder, more compassionate and fashion savvy. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but men are not women. (For the record, women don’t make good men, either.) After all, God created us differently. “So God created human beings in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, NLT). Both men and women reflect the image of God, but in unique, distinct ways.
God created men with the heart of a warrior, placing within us a desire to stand up and fight for what’s pure, for what’s true. A man has a warrior’s heart. That’s God’s design, not ours. That doesn’t mean all men should be aggressive, alpha bullies. It simply means God has given us a divine desire to fight for righteousness.
Before you train the boys around you to pick a fight for no reason at school, let me caution you. I’m not advocating violence. I’m simply encouraging you to help those around you learn to stand up for what is right.
Why does this matter? A man without a cause from God is often just an angry man who doesn’t know where to direct his pent-up energy and aggression. A warrior with a cause from God directs that war-like energy toward a cause greater than himself.
Until there’s something you’re willing to die for, you can’t truly live.
Your sons are created to fight for righteousness. Until you help them tap into that divine cause, they’ll be bored, destructive, and frustrated.
We need to help re-define the way they think about what it means to be a warrior. It’s not about cockiness and attitude, not about six-pack abs and picking fights, not about succeeding in life and winning everyone’s admiration or envy.
Being a true warrior is about knowing the source of true strength. It’s about knowing your own weaknesses and turning to God to empower you to be the man he made you to be.
You don’t have to become Jason Bourne or James Bond (Sean Connery or Daniel Craig—not those other wimps) to be a warrior.
Not only does God want you to fight, but he wants to give you a cause greater than yourself. Then, once you love something enough that you’re willing to die for it, you’ll be set free to live.
Consider what the leader Joab said to inspire his warriors in 2 Samuel 10:12: “Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God” (emphasis mine). Fight for a cause greater than yourself. It’s in you.
You know it’s there. You can feel it. You have the heart of a warrior.
Maybe you’re thinking, I don’t know, Craig. I’m a laid-back dude, peaceful, live and let live. I’m not really into the whole fight club scene. "Call of Duty’s" an awesome video game, but actually, I don’t even know if I know how to fight.
It’s OK if you don’t think of yourself as a warrior, at least in earthly terms. But God has made you to fight a battle. And he’s given us many spiritual weapons. What’s important for us to remember is that the strongest man is not the one who lifts the most weight, but the one who has the most faith.
Others of you may be thinking, “There really is a battle brewing. And I can’t afford to lose it.” If that’s you, it’s time for you to fight. Maybe you’re in danger of failing financially. Now is the time to fight like your life depends on it.
To get control of your budget and align your priorities with your cash flow. Perhaps you’re playing with a lustful fire.
You keep returning to images and people and places that excite you but also unleash something you’re afraid you can’t control. You’re going to get burned. Decide. Confess and overcome this darkness.
You don’t want your sons to go through life not knowing how to stand up for truth or fight against dangerous temptations. For their sake—fight. And don’t just fight like a man. Show them how to fight like a man—of God!
The best way to teach them to fight is to show them what it looks like. If you want your sons to learn how to fight, show them what it looks like to fight for what’s right.
Your marriage might be hanging by a thread. Determine to never surrender. Use love, patience, and forgiveness. Lay down your life and save your marriage.
Maybe your kids are making dangerous decisions. Get down on your knees and fight like a man of faith!
Learn how to fight with faith, with prayer, and with the Word of God. Then, when your enemy begins to attack, fight for the righteous cause that God gave you.
Draw a line in the sand. Make your enemy pay: Don’t cross a warrior. Don’t mess with this man of God. Come out fighting.
And when you fight—don’t fight clean. Use the weapons God gave you, and you’ll win in more ways than you could imagine. Can you feel it? It’s inside you.
It’s time to fight like a man.
Craig Groeschel is the pastor of the nation's second largest church, LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Okla., and the author of several books. His most recent book is "Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are" (Zondervan) His next book, "Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most" (Zondervan) will be released in October 2013.