On December 8, 1941, a joint session of congress convened in Washington D.C. The President of the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, stood before them and declared a short seven-minute speech. The most memorable line from it was the first. Most of you have heard it…
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Seventy-six years later military tacticians say that event he’s referring to was the greatest example of the power of the element of surprise in the history of military combat. It was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. With little to no warning, at around 8 a.m., 353 Japanese aircraft along with their naval forces launched an attack that lasted only 110 minutes yet killed nearly 2,500 Americans and wounded over 1,100 more.
Christianity is not a playground. It is a battleground. The Bible is explicitly clear that we have an enemy that is out to destroy us and take from us everything we hold dear. If we are not prepared for his attacks, men, the result will be a massacre!
In talking to pastors and leaders of men’s ministry all over the country, here are what I believe to be five of the primary attacks on the souls of men:
Pride is one of the primary ways the enemy takes down a man because it is the sin that is below every sin. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Unchastity, anger, drunkenness, are merely fleabites in comparison… Pride leads to every other vice.” Pride is when you are focused on “me” in the center of your life. When you think about you and your pleasure and your happiness more than anything else.
Pride pushes other people around you away. It diminishes your capacity to love them. When you are full of you, there is no room for anyone else. So, the result is that everyone around you feels devalued.
This plays out in many ways in the lives of men. I grew up in Alabama. In that state, college football is crazy. I’ll be honest, it borders on idolatry in my own heart. I have seen many a man feel superior or worthless simply because of how their college football team of choice performs on any given Saturday. I bet you know someone who feels like less of a man because his buddy kills a bigger deer, lifts more weight, makes more money or has a more successful career.
The Bible is very clear that Christian men are to seat their identity completely in their sonship to God. However, if the enemy can convince us to find our identity in something other than this, we will be in a constant cycle of frustration and insecurity. Think about it, if you look into the eyes of others to find your sense of identity, what happens when someone disagrees with you or doesn’t approve of an action? You feel inadequate and insecure. But, when we fully recognize that our primary identity is as a son of the King, we recognize that through Christ we are already fully approved of and have no need to look to anyone else for it.
Passivity is an abdication of your responsibility as a man to work to create flourishing and usher God’s Kingdom in your home, church and community. This was the sin of the garden. Sure, Eve was first to eat the fruit. But having been tasked to lead his wife spiritually, Adam stood passively by and let the enemy pick her off. Now this sin beats in the heart of every man. God gave me the grace a few years ago to realize that for most of my marriage, though I was physically present, I was often not emotionally available for my wife. Pursue her heart, men! Lead her in the Word. When is the last time you said to your wife, “Let’s just pause and pray about this”? If you can’t recall a date, that’s good indication that you’re being passive.
We often do the same thing with our kids. Are you more concerned with your hobbies than with training your children to run hard after the heart of Jesus? Be aware men, if you are passive, the enemy will devour your wife, your kids and the people you love the most.
1 Peter 5 calls the enemy a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Which animal does a lion pick off? Not the weakest. The one that is most isolated. Isolation is the reality for everyone in whom the enemy has sunk his teeth deeply into. Think about David. When he was at his best, he was connected to his friend Jonathan or his mighty men. But, the moment when David fell the hardest was a moment when he was isolated. The moral of the story: If you want to fall into sin, a surefire way is to isolate yourself. You are not strong enough to endure by yourself and neither am I. We were not designed to operate that way. We were created out of community (the Trinity) and for community! Men, we must have a band of brothers with whom we are willing to be courageously vulnerable.
Every man on the planet, regardless of socioeconomic class, social status or fitness level, struggles with this issue. Barna Research tells us that 64 percent of men look at porn at least once per month. This is a devastating reality. Biopsychologists tell us that upon sexual arousal, synapses fire in the brain communicating to the to body release chemicals that create feelings of closeness and intimacy. It’s easy to see God’s handiwork in this science. He has designed sex to bond spouses together in a very special way. But, sexual gratification of any kind outside of the marriage relationship will actually short circuit that reality that God has designed. This is why Paul says to the Corinthians, “Flee sexual immorality.” In other words, don’t treat it casually. Run away as hard and fast as you possibly can!
After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” I hope that this post does that for you. D.L. Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God will do with one man fully consecrated to him. By God’s grace, I will be that man.”