This message covers the differences in strengths and weaknesses that men and women have, highlighting the profound and sobering responsibility that a man has as the protector over his family, carrying his God given authority to influence the lives of those around him. Women are the helper, however, this message briefly addresses the misintepretation of this word when used out of context.
You, Man, The Protector - **28th Oct 2012 – Men’s Camp**
(These are the notes to the audio sermon available above.) What I have to say is truth, and will probably be helpful, but having said that, it is a heavy word so all that I can say to you guys is, take it like a man. I am going to tell you some things that your wife would probably want to tell you but can’t. It will probably ruffle some feathers, but please, just take what is applicable and be open minded. Please, you are welcome to discard anything not applicable to your life.
As you have all discovered by now, men are very different to women. Wired and thinking differently. Men have instincts that women do not, physical strengths, more often than not, greater technical ability (I have found) what than women do. You men have certain instincts and physical strengths that empower you to be tough minded, sacrificial in many regards, stamina, a competitive drive, desire for dominance and assertiveness. Most men have a strong sense of fairness and ethical conduct, everything built in a man for one of the greatest purposes in life, and that is to protect. God has given men physical and mental powers that they need to protect their loved ones. The instinct to protect lies at the centre core of a man’s masculinity, and can be an extremely powerful and influential thing.
I just want bring the differing strengths of a man to a comparison of a woman, and just unpack one of the scriptures all of us know very well.
1 Peter 3:7 - Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
The word says ‘treat your wife with respect as the weaker vessel, not ‘treat your wife as the weaker vessel.’
Does being weaker mean that she is less intelligent than a man. Certainly not.
Does it mean that she cannot be as gifted as a man in spiritual gifts? Certainly not.
The gifts are not subject to gender and the Holy Spirit does not work more effectively with a man than with a women, and men need to realise this.
Are woman more easily tempted than men? 1 Tim 2:14**And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. It is very easy and convenient to take **a scripture and make a whole theology of it to suit one’s preferences.
No. Let’s not look at one example of Adam and Eve and create a rule through it. In Adam sharing the fruit with Eve, did that mean that he was not tempted? Of course not. Adam was weak to give in to Eve’s persuasion and it was the very reason that he compromised that instinct and God-given authority to protect, that both of them were banished from the garden, because they both failed.
Are women weaker in being more easily tempted? What about David committing adultery? Sampson telling Delilah his secret? Esau giving up his birth right for a bowl of soup? Solomon, the wisest of all men, marrying with other nations that God forbid. What about Judas willing to betray Jesus with the temptation of money… So do not think that temptation describes woman as being a weaker vessel. The only two major weaknesses that woman have in far greater measure than a man is being physically and emotionally weaker. Not intellectually and spiritually weaker and men need to realise this. In many cases, woman are far more intellectual and spiritually stronger than men, why? They can be emotionally more discerning, and have a sharper intuition than a man a times. Women are generally softer and often allow the Holy Spirit to work with and through them, more effectively than what men do.
When seeing your wife as the weaker vessel, it means that you need to honour her as the weaker vessel, physically and emotionally. Not one who is weaker in being able to offer council, wisdom and direction, and not one who can hear God less clearly than you. Many men need to get godly perspective on this and give their wives more credit than what they do.
Howdoes a man protect his wife as the weaker vessel?
It means to honour her as the weaker vessel and what does this entail?
Phil 4 Vs 8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things
As men, how do you protect your family based on this scripture? Are you a bringer of bad news that distresses the family? Do you relay unhelpful or cruel stories, finding humor in people’s reactions, enjoying the attention you get by telling them? Do you protect your family from fear or do you instigate it – For example, hearing about the murders and crime etc stating that unfortunately we are screwed in this God forsaken country and that there is no future for the white man, or do you bring your family back to the Majesty of God, with his promises over your lives and fruitfulness? Do you remind your family that for e.g. God says in Jer 29 vs 11 that he knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us a hope and a future? Plans to prosper us and not to harm us?
General protection over your children:
Something that was quite a shocker of a revelation to me the other day, was something that God dropped into my spirit. This is so obvious, well at least should be, but we do not live to this. This is that God’s standard, is absolute, unchanging, unwavering, and consistent. It is uncompromising and cross cultural. He said to me that whatever His standard is for a child, is the standard He sets for all. His standards are not subject to gender or age as He is a perfect and righteous Father, in absolute holiness. If we do not live by God’s standards, we are simply living by our own standards.
What does this mean? If your child can’t watch it, you shouldn’t (according to God’s standards) Rom says that we must be excellent at what is good and innocent of evil. Rom 16 vs 19 Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. It is not God’s will that we expose ourselves to these things.
Do you protect your sons from vulgar music videos with half naked men and women dancing seductively and flirtatiously? In boys, you all will know all too well that this stimulates interest to see more and want to find more, to be exposed to more and even try find a way of being a part of it in various ways.
What about watching age restricted movies with sex scenes in them, or is your logic that they’re going to find out anyway, what the heck. No. do things God’s way, and you will be putting your family in a situation to find real grace and favor from God, where they can live victorious lives by what you model out as a dad. The areas you compromise on as a dad, are the areas you compromise you protection in, and who then becomes responsible to intervene when necessary?
How do you as a Father protect your sons in relationships? Do you encourage your son to have many girlfriends to figure out what is best for him/ what he likes, or do you teach him wisdom and trust in God to wait for God to show him who his wife is. Teaching him that you do not go out to see if that lady is going to be your wife, but rather teaching him to find his best friend and marry her, someone who loves God with all her heart.
A Father’s role is to protect, even if it is painful and can make you unpopular, your children will love and respect you for it, even if only evident more so later in life. Not only do you protect your children, but that protection extends beyond your immediate family to your future son and daughter- in-laws. You protect them from issues or carrying issues that your children have instigated through compromising themselves before marriage. It is such a weighty and sobering responsibility to see the big picture when protecting those God has entrusted to you. The protection of your children/lack thereof can also have impact on the people’s lives who are involved with them later on in life.
Girls - music videos. Girls are bombarded with what society dictates to be seen as what is modelled out as ‘sexy’, and the media will eventually get the better of her if you do not protect her against this and be conscious of what she is exposed to and the magazines that are read. Again, it is not a popularity contest. Fathering is not easy, but you will be accountable for what you choose to ignore or what you choose to address.
Do you protect your daughters in what they wear before they leave the house, or are you rather influenced by society in dictating to you that your children need to express themselves and be individuals? Do you compromise on protecting for the sake of keeping the peace? Do you protect your daughter by communicating and spending quality time with her often, so that she knows she has a protector who understands her? Because if you don’t, she will try to find that love and security in other boys/men, and we know all too well how unhelpful that can become. Affirmation from a man is so utterly important in a girl’s life. She is discovering who she is and wants someone to look up to who can give her assurance and direction. Make sure you as a father are the only one giving that to her. Every girl is looking for a hero. Be that hero, the ultimate standard, the one with expressed God given authority, and the one who loves her unconditionally. If you as a father can get this right, in God, she will always be comparing every ‘pathetic boy’ to her mind, to her dad, and continually be disappointed by the ‘wimps’ she perceives to meet within society.
How do you protect your children in relationships? God knows what He is doing and has a perfect plan regarding the future partners of our children, but do we teach our children that, laying a godly foundation, or do we encourage them to go out, play the field, find out what they really want and don’t want. God will reveal and bring revelation to your children in this area without them having to find it in an ungodly and unwise way if you as a father help them find their identity in Christ and get the proper council and wisdom from an earthly Father as God directs you. In giving the right council and support in relationships, you protect your children from hurt, making mistakes, wasting time spent with the wrong person/people, not to mention the protection in dissuading them from premarital sex, only by building on the right foundation in the first place. We cannot stop our children from being tempted, but we can set them up to be godly and focus on God’s will with a strong identity found in the Lord, and in protecting them in this way, like our Heavenly Father protects us, when we allow Him to, they will not succumb to the temptations of premarital sex as the sin of that temptation just won’t appeal to them. Their love for God and the acceptance and confidence in who and what they are and where they are going will override any desire to sin against God and their own bodies, but you as a Father need to lay that foundation.
Do you encourage God’s choice, or are you rather quite trusting of your children and quite lenient towards the decisions they make regarding relationships? Remember that God has entrusted you with the protection of your children. No matter how self-confident or strong willed a child is, or how persuasive that they have found someone great, you are still accountable to protect them, and realise that they are not always mature enough to make wise and godly decisions, so you have to be there for them until the very day they leave the house.
Let’s look at the protection of your wife and your daughters or even sisters:
Do you protect your wife and the females in your life? Remember that man was inherently given that protector instinct, and this is not something coming naturally to a woman, so a woman who is not protected will either become aggressive or nasty to defend herself or selfish and will be perceived as one who is a little bitchy. Why? Because she has to stand up for herself and assert herself in order to not be disappointed or hurt in anyway. She must do what she must do to protect herself. Alternatively for a different personality type, she will withdraw, lack confidence, be confused and ultimately have a very low self esteem.
If you are in a situation where your wife does not appear to be understanding you or respecting you, you need to ask yourself if you have truly been there protecting her. Protecting her against irrational thoughts, low self-image, any form of neglect and disapproval, protecting her from working too hard for everyone with little or no appreciation. Do you protect your wife’s self-image or do you make her self-conscious to have to impress and work hard for your affirmation.
Do you protect your wife from stress, protect her from becoming someone who she is not… If you are having marriage problems or periodic conflict with your wife, I suggest you just spend some time with the Lord to let Him show you if there is anything you need to change. Marriage problems are two sided, but as a man, this is where you can start from your side, and find out where have you not been protecting your wife because this is usually where marriage problems start, besides the obvious of lack of communication, unmet expectations and pride from either side. If a man shouts at his wife or calls her undermining names or insults her, at that very moment he chooses to attach her and not protect her. It is possible to be in conflict situations with your wife with differing opinions and unmet expectations, but still in all of it, remaining her protector and not her accuser, displaying rejection towards her because she has disappointed you. Again the scripture says be considerate to your wives and respect her as the weaker vessel. This scripture does not become null and void and no longer applicable when you fight or argue. Men have authority in the home and once you abuse that authority, that which is supposed to be a god given blessing becomes a threat and dangerous to the loved ones around you.
A challenge to men? Do you even know what your wife’s and family’s dreams are in the first place and secondly, in having this knowledge, do you protect the dreams of your family or crush them? Many men believe that women as the helper, means that her existence is for man’s benefit alone to help him reach his dreams and goals, and the woman in a marriage relationship is there to support that. The is her calling and job. But, let us look deeper into this… David said in Psalm 121. The exact definition of the word as Eve being the ‘helper’ and the word ‘helper’ in this Psalm is the exact meaning. Helper here is not defined as ‘maid’, and ‘slave’.
Psalm 121 - A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven & earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
The help spoken of here is a protection from harm and support in being there no matter what to offer security and a partnership. It is not help as in ‘the maid, the one who has to give up everything to make me succeed…’ Again it is help that offers protection, support, security and a partnership. Many men need to change their understanding of what that word ‘helper’ is.
Protection VS Ego:
Identity - Do you protect your son’s identity by affirming him as a man, and praising the efforts he puts in, and not just whether he comes first or not? Some Fathers are too proud to acknowledge and affirm their sons who do not noticeably achieve above others and are always striving in an unhelpful competitive way to be the best, because they see it as a reflection on them. It is not about their son, it is about them looking good what their sons achieve. If the son does not make the father look good, he does not get praised irrespective of the effort put in.
Relationships: Some men boast, Oh my boy is so popular, all the girls are always after him, he has had so many girlfriends, such a charmer… No well in fact, that is shameful for a Father to say that, and means that he is not protecting his son and fathering well. Why? Because the son does not have the identity and confidence that he should to know who he is and what he wants based on God’s standards.
Protection in love – Truth above love:
Do you protect your family from the rules of society by setting a godly clearly defined standard in your home? Outside of your protection, when your children are rubbing shoulders with the world, you have to rely on God’s grace for protection, but you cannot presume this grace if you as a Father are not walking in wisdom and instilling good and godly values and perspective starting within the home. That is why we are instructed as parents to bring up your child in the way of the Lord, and when he is of age, he will not depart therefrom. Now there is something beyond this. Do you implement truth above love. Remember the word says that the Spirit gives life, but the letter kills. You can be a ruthless disciplinarian in the name of the Lord opposing anything in your child that looks like the world or the world’s influence, but if you do not bring up your children in love and understanding, implementing the word without love will only breed rebellion. But the Spirit gives life and the word coupled with the leading of the Holy Spirit will produce life and a blessed conviction from the Lord.
Have you ever seen some pastor’s children who turn out completely contrary to the way people would think they should? Why? The reasons are usually that the word has not been implemented in love with understanding and open communication. It is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance but a harsh judgmental and a dictator authoritarian of a father will never grow confidence, security and a tender heart within his child. Discipline without relationship will also breed rebellion. If a pastor puts the church above his family, how should he expect them to respond with a passion and support towards this. They will run when they eventually get the chance.
When the Pharisees brought the prostitute before Jesus, what did He do? The law stated that she should be stoned (the law i.e. the truth of the time) but what did Jesus say? He who has not sinned must cast the first stone… Am I saying do not discipline your children? Of course not, but do not let truth override love, but bring perspective in love. What would be a good way of disciplining a child? When a child has done something wrong, to not discipline in anger, but to talk them through what they have done, why it was wrong. Ask them why they did it…. Let them know that there is a price for disobedience, and you want them to do things God’s way. Let them understand why they are being disciplined and thereafter to reaffirm them hug them, no matter how angry they are, and they will love and honor as you be fair, even though it hurts both ways.
Consistency as a dad, protects your child’s confidence and ability to obey. It is paramount. One day you will be in a good mood and instruct your children not to do something. They take chances and disobey, so you repeat yourself over and over and offer a threat if they do not listen. You have taught the child that you are lenient and do not need to be taken that seriously.
On another occasion you have had a bad day, are irritated and have no time for nonsense. They do the same thing. You tell them not to, they don’t listen and there is an immediate out burst from you with harsh discipline. This will only confuse and create insecurity in your children’s lives. Dad is unpredictable… Make sure you catch him on a good foot… You can get away with murder if he is in a good mood, but if not you are in for it. You just got to know where he is at. What do you model out as a Father? That our heavenly Father must also be caught when He is in a good mood. He does not always listen to your prayers if you have been bad. Sometimes he answers prayer, sometimes he doesn’t Just depends on His mood. Non sense! As a Father you need to discipline in love with consistency. Do not allow your children to push you over the edge before you discipline them otherwise your discipline with lead to rebellion and resentment within them. You can only discipline out of relationship. Again, discipline outside of relationship breeds rebellion. You cannot be an absent Father and expect to discipline when required. The children will end up hating you as to their minds, they will believe that they are misunderstood and that you are just out there to ‘get them’.
Protection of your parents:
Do you as the protector, protect your parents? 1 Timothy 5:8 says “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”(NIV)
(2 Timothy 3:2-5). Even if a parent was not all they should have been when they were raising us, we are still responsible to see that they are properly cared for in their old age out of respect for God’s laws, because, in God’s eyes, it’s the right thing to do(Philippians 2:1-4)(Matthew 7:12)(Matthew 6:33). Exodus 20:12, 1 Timothy 5:4
In conclusion, as men, being head of the home, it is so important to ask God for wisdom, even daily, even if you have been given the gift of wisdom. Ironically, you will find those with the gift of wisdom, asking for more, and more often, far more than people would who do not have the gift. There is no one who has enough wisdom, and so as Fathers, consciously, let God lead you daily to make a wonderful and powerful impact on your family’s lives.