If you were to ask me, “Mark, what is the essential characteristic that Christian fathers and husbands need in order to succeed with their family and raise their children for Jesus Christ?” I would have to say GODLY COURAGE. It will take a very courageous man who fears God alone, to lead his wife and children.
You may be asking yourself, why would Mark say courage? Let me explain. Everything about being a Christian man with strong Godly convictions is under attack today in our culture. Our Biblical role is denigrated and maligned, our masculine nature is ridiculed and attacked, our faith is ridiculed and attacked, our God-given role as spiritual head of our wives is under attack, both outside and inside the church itself, as a result of Feminism and Evangelical Feminism. Our belief in the Bible as God’s word, as instructions and a guidebook for life, is ridiculed, maligned and under attack. The practice of loving, Godly, Biblical discipline and correction of our children is ridiculed and condemned as evil, and abusive. Our Godly wives and mothers are daily ridiculed and maligned for their roles as wife, mother, and homemaker. Great pressure will often be put on them and us from close family members who want us to march to the beat of their ideological drum. The Biblical moral values that we strive to instill in our children are ridiculed, belittled, and made fun of. You will be called a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe and many other names for simply teaching your children Biblical, Godly morality, the definition of male and female, and the different roles God gives them, especially in marriage, that our great God and Father created. You will be ridiculed and even accused of hatred for defining marriage as one man to one woman! You will be ridiculed and hated for teaching your children that abortion is the murder of a precious baby’s life! You will be ridiculed, belittled and made fun of for teaching your children about our marvelous creator God and His creation that took 6 days to make! You will be told you can’t live on one income, and the gov’t and the culture do all they can to take your money and try to make this seem impossible for you to do. They will ridicule and belittle the many of you who decide to home-educate your children because of the deliberate, liberal, anti-God, anti-Biblical agenda of most schools. Because of the indoctrination that takes place through the school’s curriculum, and the constant drumbeat of their origins agenda, their sexual agenda, their political agenda, the social justice agenda, etc.
My brothers, the list goes on and on. It is my informed belief that in these times we live in, we need fathers and husbands who are strong and courageous, like never before, who will stand against the tide of this wicked, godless culture and say and live boldly, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” and “We will live and practice the Bible’s teachings.”
You may not believe this, but I have faced all of these things on my journey as a father and husband. I started this journey really about 43 years ago, when I radically committed my life to Jesus Christ, to follow Him, no matter what it cost me. When I met the wonderful gal I would someday marry, the pressure and persecution began within months as we grew in our love for each other, and our desire to marry and live our life God’s way found in the Bible. We counted the cost and it was great. When we married and started our family, we knew, from reading God’s word, that God had a plan for Kathy to be home with our children, and that it would cost us to follow that plan. I knew it would mean longer work hours for me, as I worked to provide for our family’s needs. I knew it would involve lots of sacrifices, that we would live with much fewer material comforts and nice things. As a husband, I knew it would take courage to lead my wife and be the head for her that God asked of me to be. That I would need the courage to stand up and be a man, a Godly man in our marriage and home. When we had children, and they reached that age that all children do, when they go from being cute, smiley and sweet, to the little one who wants their own way, who refuses to comply with what is good for them and becomes defiant, I knew it would take courage to follow what God had given us as a loving, effective, God-like way to discipline and correct them. Even though the world says it is all wrong, backward, stupid and useless. It took courage to believe my faith in God and His word and obeying it would pay off in my children and marriage. GUESS WHAT!? IT ALL PAID OFF, GOD’S WAYS WORK!!!
I knew the choices I made about TV shows and music allowed in our home and the ways we treated each other, all these things would take great courage. I knew when I had teenagers and the values that Kathy and I had about dating and the opposite sex, would take great courage to withstand the pressure of others, the ridicule that would come our way. I knew it would take courage to withstand the pressure from even Christian friends who thought I was too directive with my kids, too “controlling” as I was striving to lead, guide, train, influence, and shape their lives. I knew it would take courage to withstand the opinions of others who thought I was too lenient on certain matters and did not understand the God-given wisdom I had for why I did, what I did, in nurturing and winning their hearts, and their love and respect.
As I look back on my almost 40 years of parenting, I can say, courageous leadership paid off and was what I needed most. God-fearing, courageous leadership.
Let me give you a modern example that all of you men will face. You will, in fact, have to decide this for yourself before God, but I use it as an example of why you need courage, and how I would courageously stand on this matter were I a parent with kids at home right now.
THE SMARTPHONE DILEMMA
I want you men to think back to your growing up, in the ’80s and ’90s. Remember when cable TV came to town? I do, and we never bought it. Most of you remember there was the basic cable, a few channels you would get clear, then sports channels, then for the extra money you can get HBO, Cinemax, and the Playboy channel. I did not know one Christian man in my circle, who paid for the Playboy channel in his home. Ever. It was unthinkable. Fast-forward to 2010-NOW, Smartphones are everywhere and 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17-year-old boys carry around in their pocket a Smartphone that has millions of women on it who will do anything they want to watch. We have a porn epidemic ruining young boys and men’s lives. My son Jeromy has courageously spoken to over 20,000 young people in our public schools and church youth groups and their parents on the topic of love, sex, and porn, and the situation is beyond catastrophic. What Jeromy sees and interacts with kids on would blow your minds. If interested, you can go and watch his film on this matter, called “Love, Sex, and Porn” that he shares in the schools.
DAD, DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS, THE COURAGE TO SAY, NOT ON MY WATCH?? I WILL NOT GIVE MY BOY OR MY TEENAGE SON A SMARTPHONE!
Men, did you know that your daughters also have a Smartphone problem? It is called Social Media, texting, sexting, and sitting in their rooms when you think they are safely at home under your roof, and your daughters are getting caught up in all kinds of unhealthy conversations, peer pressure, gossip, and garbage because the Smartphone has become a portal for all kinds of sin, and destructive behavior that has been normalized in our wicked culture. They are being influenced in destructive ways by other friends thru the smartphone.
DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY, NOT ON MY WATCH, I WILL NOT GIVE MY GIRL OR MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER A SMARTPHONE?!?!
I am not saying no phone, I am not saying no computer or internet access, I am talking specifically about Smartphones. I can hear what you might be thinking, “Mark is so unrealistic, Mark doesn’t live in the real world, Mark is stupid, Mark is too radical.”
Let me say this, this decision is one each of you fathers will need to make before the Lord. I can’t make it for you, nor can anyone else. What I am trying to do is awaken you to the realities that you and I face as men who are responsible before God for our children, for there physical, moral, emotional and spiritual well being.
It will take great, great courage to make the difficult, but vitally important life choices. Men, GOD WILL HELP YOU, AS HE HELPED ME. You may be asking, “Mark, where does courage come from? How can I grow my courage?”
I want to close by sharing with you how to grow courage. Godly courage comes from knowing God, from knowing God’s word, and understanding that at the end of things, the only opinion that matters is God’s. God’s approval of you is the most important thing of all. When you live for the praise of God, for the approval of God, your courage will grow, to make the difficult and tough life choices that others refuse to make. Courage comes from the wisdom that God gives you as you seek Him and His word, and come to understand there really is a smarter and wiser way to live, lead, and grow a marriage and family. Courage comes from looking around you and realizing the way most people are raising their children and living out their marriage is not working, it is failing, and millions of children are suffering greatly! Why? Because the advice they are following is wrong and not God’s advice.
Your courage will be nurtured as you fellowship and hang around other men who are truly God-fearing, men of courage, who are making the same Godly, courageous life decisions that you are, who share the same deep values, convictions, and practices, and you encourage each other and band together, standing firm against the tide of ungodliness that pervades this wicked culture.
Courage comes from understanding and believing with all your heart: GOD IS WITH ME! HE WILL HELP ME WITH THIS VITAL, ETERNAL WORK FROM GOD CALLED LEADING MY FAMILY.
I leave you with this wonderful verse, “Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you!” 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NLT) Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”