6/18/11 – Dads…Wake Up. Life’s A Battleground! – Pastor Shane Idleman

Visit the home page of www.WCFAV.org for a special fathers day message for men entitled Life–Battleground, Not Playground.
It was last year, but I remember it well. I was taken by a comment that I read in the AV Press. The comment was, “Men don’t need to come to church and get beat up with sermons on fathers day.” Its hard to determine the motive behind such a comment, but taken at face value, these types of statements often represent our desire to hear “feel good” messages. Men do need to be encourage, but they also need to be challenged and convicted by the Word of God. Sadly, this is lacking in our day.
Foundational doctrines such as the cross, sin, and repentance are often used by God to break the heart: “So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God…” (Joel 2:13).
Today, these foundational truths are often neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of not offending and securing a large audience. As I’ve said before…Judgment is rarely mentioned; repentance is  rarely sought; and sin is often excused. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a cross-less Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance.
We are in desperate need of broken, humble men—men who are not afraid to admit that they need God; men who are more worried about prayer than about status and recognition; men who petition God rather than position themselves.
While we may want recognition, respect, and honor, God first wants brokenness, humility, and a servants heart. Many men want the recognition, but not the brokenness; the honor, but not the humility.
When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive behaviors, we are, in essence, confirming them. We cannot change what we will not confront. The state of the family today is disheartening. Men have largely forsaken their God-given role as spiritual leaders in their homes…that, no one can deny.
While dads jockey for position, build reputations, chase careers, go out with friends, and so on, its often mothers who pray, petition, nurture, care for, and lead.
Men, give your wife the best present of all this fathers day, begin leading your family in the fear and admonition of the Lord. You’re not called to be a passive, weak, indecisive partner—you’re called to protect, lead, and guard your family.
You are to initiate prayer, defend your wife, shepherd your children, make your home a holy sanctuary. You’re called to fight the enemy, not flee from him. I’m tired of weak, passive men who never contend, stand, or fight for anything worth dying for.
Our nation is looking for character, our wives are looking for leaders, are kids are looking for fathers. Dads…wake up. Life is a battleground, not a play ground!
As I was concluding this article, I remembered a prayer that my mother had during my teen years. On it, she listed several character traits that men should strive to possess.
Seek to be a man who…
…above all, sincerely desires to love and serve the Lord.
…hungers for a righteous spirit, and is honest at all times despite the cost.
…chooses words and actions that are wise and well thought through; considering first the consequences.
… does not act impulsively in anger with words or actions.
…desires to protect, preserve, appreciate and encourage.
…focuses on the needs of others rather than his own, and is not critical and domineering when communicating.
…works hard, and will stop at nothing to accomplish what God has set before him.
…stretches the limits of his body, soul and spirit to excel in every area possible and to recognize those areas.
…seeks excellence in all things and lives to that end.
As a word of encouragement to those who have failed: if you feel discouraged, don’t be! You can get back on track. Often, you’ll have two choices: to fall backward or to fall forward. If you choose to fall forward into God’s forgiveness, in time God’s grace will heal and restore you.
As a word of encouragement to single men: develop humility and godly character now so they can strengthen your future.
As a word of encouragement to those who’s fathers may have failed them: God has given us the freedom to choose, and, in relationships, the choices of one can greatly affect the life of the other. But God can honor and bless your circumstance if you trust Him and forgive others. He can rebuild your life and open doors you might not have thought possible. Meanwhile, continue to pray and contend for the restoration of the relationship.
When confronted by bitterness or un-forgiveness, God wants us to run to Him, not away. Which way will you run?