Monday, July 28, 2014

Yes Please Lord, These Traits In Our Boys...

One of the great privileges of parenting is our opportunity to help our children establish their worldview. The crazy, sometimes scary thing is that they will establish a worldview whether we influence it or not. Our children are poured into daily by someone somewhere and often times rather unintentionally they are gaining thoughts and answers to such questions as who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose in this life? Their worldview also encompasses the ideas they have as men and women, answering questions like, What does it mean to be a man? a woman? How do I as a man, view women? How do I as a woman, view man?

And for the Cowboy and I, we believe that their worldview is key to how they will one day function in society. How they view themselves has a great impact on how they will treat others, how they will come up under authority and exert authority in their work place, in the church, in their homes. And so we are very intentional to speak into them what the Word says about them and this world and their place in this world.

The following is a powerful list that any passionate, Christ following couple would be honored to pray over their sons. There is a whole other list to pray over our daughters, but this post is about our sons. And truthfully, it's not enough to simply pray over these things, (although the Lord is able to do in our children all that pleases Him despite what we do or don't do) but it is necessary and beneficial for us as parents to strive to live these things out in our homes, to exemplify these things to our children in our day to day.

And although our actions often speak louder than our words, our words are still incredibly powerful and worthy of our time. So the Cowboy and I will sit down and read these with each of our sons when the time is right. (We're going through them currently with our oldest). We read through each one and chat about it. (at this stage our goal is simply to exemplify it in our lives and put it out there for him to ponder. As our boys grow we will be able to talk more deeply about each of these things.)

And the conversations we have put these traits at the forefront of our minds and enable us to converse about such qualities in our day to day lives because I guarantee you that every single day in this farmhouse there are moments, interactions with one another, where we can pursue these things or we can pursue ourselves. I long for the former and I pray for it without ceasing because the character of our boys is what will bless or burden the people with whom our boys interact with throughout their lives.

It is such a privilege for me and the Cowboy to pour these truths into these boys that they might become godly, selfless, strong men who are willing to serve others the way Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as ransom for many.

This is an extremely LONG post, but I promise you that it will be time well spent... Each sentence, in my humble opinion, is RICH, and I pray that it soaks into the marrow of all who live under this roof... for my boys that they would be confident in what it means to be a godly man, and for my girls that they would know what to look for in a godly husband and that they would settle for nothing less...

So here it goes...
Seven desires I have for my boys as they grow into
mature manhood." by Joe Rigney...

"1. I want my sons to grow up to be true men 
of God—first in, last out, laughing loudest. 
Around my house, this is our way of expressing the glad
assumption of sacrificial responsibility. It’s a summary of
King Lune of Archenland’s words about kingship in The
Horse and His Boy.
For this is what it means to be a king: to be first in 
every desperate attack and last in every desperate 
retreat, and when there’s hunger in the land (as 
must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer 
clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than 
any man in your land.
Kingship (and by extension true masculinity) means being
the first into the battle. If there’s a danger to be faced, a
true man will face it first. If there’s a burden to be borne,
a man will bear it first. A man will see to it that pain and
hardship fall in his lap before they ever fall upon those
under his care. Too many men think that male headship
means making demands, getting their way, and riding
around on a high horse. But godly leadership doesn’t give
us the right to lord our authority over others; it means, as
my friend Toby Sumpter says, that it is our glory to die first.
While many of us will never be called upon to fight in
a physical battle to protect our families, all of us are called
to look for opportunities to be first in, last out, laughing
loudest. “But the Son of Man came not be served but to
serve” (Mark 10:45). Therefore, a man of God comes home
not to be served, but to serve. After a hard day’s work, a
godly man enters his home, not with a list of demands, but
with an eagerness to give. He comes to relieve the burdens
of his wife, not add to them. He comes to play with his kids,
not shunt them off to their rooms while he puts his feet up.
serve” (Mark 10:45). I want my sons to aspire to be men who give until it
hurts, and whistle the while. I want them to lean into
sacrifice with unconquerable laughter in their hearts. “I
will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls", Paul
says to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 12:15). Godly
masculinity ought to be the happiest thing you ever saw.
A twinkle in the eyes, a brightness in the smile, a laughter
in the bones__ these are the qualities of a man who has planted
his feet upon the ROCK and will not be shaken when the
earth gives way and the waters foam (Psalms 4:1-3).

2. I want my sons to embrace their calling as 
protectors of the weak.
One of my central responsibilities as a father to my sons
is to train their hands for war. At our house, sword-play
is practice for life. When we don our plastic armor and
foam swords, we are getting ready for real sacrifices. I want
them to see that the primary burden of defense—whether
of home, family, church, or country—lies with them. The
world is filled with gardens, and, as one pastor says, gardens
always attract serpents. Therefore, my prayer is that they put
on their armor, keep their swords sharp, and play the man.
What’s more, part of their training is learning to fall
down and get up again. I want my boys to fall down. I want
them to get skinned knees, bumped heads, and bruised
arms. I want them to experience pain (in small doses) so
that they learn to laugh it off. “What do we do when we
fall down?” I ask. “Laugh and keep playing,” they answer.
Masculinity is about taking responsibility for the
physical, emotional, and spiritual safety of those in our
care. For me, this means, among other things, locking the
doors at night, giving hugs and kisses away as if fatherly
affection was snow in a Minnesota winter, and praying
for mighty angels with swords of flame to guard the bedrooms
while we sleep. It means identifying threats and
enemies of whatever kind and taking steps to guard and
keep those entrusted to me. Most importantly, it means
killing the dragon that lurks in my own heart. The greatest
threat to those in my care is my own sin and rebellion.
Therefore, protecting others demands a single-minded
and glad-hearted pursuit of holiness.

3. I want my sons to gladly submit to lawful authority.
The prerequisite for being in authority is recognizing that
one is always under authority. Many men think that leadership
is about being “the boss,” when in fact it’s first and
fundamentally about recognizing that God is the Boss
(Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). Masculinity welcomes
accountability, authority, and oversight. The foundation of
godly manhood is cheerful obedience to lawful authority.
A man is in no position to expect obedience from others
if he is not first eager to render it to those over him in
the Lord. I want my boys to grow up with a deep awareness
that their father is a man under authority. I want to
model for them glad submission to God in his word, to
the elders of our church, to my boss at work. God is calling
them to honor, respect, and obey me; therefore, I want to
show them how.
The flip side of submission to lawful authority is resistance
to unlawful authority. Part of teaching my sons
godly obedience is helping them to grasp the differences
between authority that is established by God and that
which is usurped by ungodly men. And I want them to
defy the latter precisely because they desire to obey the former.
This means celebrating the examples of men like the
apostle Peter (“We must obey God rather than men”), Martin
Luther King, Jr. (“An unjust law is no law at all”), and
Robin Hood (“If an outlaw is the last available occupation
for an honest man in England, then I will be an outlaw”).

4. I want my sons to practice self-control for the
joy in it.
Paul singles out self-control as one of the fundamental
callings for young men (Titus 2:6) and old (2:2). This selfcontrol
is the result of the grace of God in the gospel (Titus
2:11–12). It is grace that trains us to renounce ungodliness
and live self-controlled lives in this present age. Paul identifies
self-control as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23),
which means that it is more than mere willpower. One
of the fundamental aims of the Spirit of God is to restore
control of me to me, so that I work out what God is working
in (Philippians 2:12–13).

The Bible teaches that the glory of young men is their
strength. But inactive strength is idleness and passivity,
and therefore strength must be directed to some end. On
the other hand, unbridled strength is reckless and dangerous,
and soon causes harm and destruction. Strength
governed by wisdom, strength guided by the Spirit of God,
strength aimed at the good of others—this is what God is

For my sons, this means controlling their angers and
outbursts, not collapsing into whining and fussing when
they don’t get their way, and learning the time and place
to be silly, loud, and crazy. As they grow, self-control will
be necessary in getting out of bed for school, completing
so that joy can be unleashed. A godly man respects and
delights in the fences built by God, and then rides bareback
across the bounded plain, wind whipping in his hair.

5. I want my sons to celebrate the wonders
of femininity.
Too often magnifying the virtues of one sex leads to the
denigration of the other. But God designed masculinity
and femininity to complement one another. Men and
women were made to dance. And the whole point of men
leading in the dance is to showcase the beauty of women.
Therefore, there can be no godly masculinity where
feminine virtue is not celebrated. Godly men love the glory
of women, because her glory is his glory (1 Corinthians
11:7). This means that in general we can measure the faithfulness
of men by the flourishing of women. In a Christian
family, the fruitfulness of the wife and children is the evidence
of God’s blessing on the husband. If you want to see
whether biblical masculinity is present in a congregation,
look to the women and children. Are they thriving? Are
they cared for? Are they holy and happy and hopeful?
I want my sons to be awed by the bright strength and
life-giving wisdom of women. I want them to hear their
mother’s praises sung by their father, in season and out of
season. When I bless them at night, I want them to eagerly
hope that my prayers for them come true: “May the Lord
lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace, and
some day a wife like your Mommy.” I want there to be no
hint of male superiority or dominance, but only gratitude
to God for the tremendous blessing of women.

6. I want my sons to put to death any vestige of
false masculinity.
My boys were born as sons of Adam, which is “honor
enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame
enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on
earth.”8 Adam was called to keep and guard the garden
(just as the Levites kept and guarded the tabernacle), but
instead, when the Dragon approached his wife with his
lying words, he stood there in passivity and silence. He
was commanded not to eat from the forbidden tree, but
when his wife offered it to him, he chose to defy his Father,
to listen to her voice, and to worship the creature rather
than the Creator. He was expected to take responsibility
for her protection and provision, but when God called
him to account for his sin, he blamed his wife, effectively
demanding that God put her to death for their sin.
Passivity, idolatry, abuse. These are the hallmarks of
Adamic masculinity. It is the opposite of the glad assumption
of sacrificial responsibility. Instead of first in, last out,
laughing loudest, we find last in, first out, and sulking all
the way. I want to train my boys to recognize the Old Man
who lives in their hearts and to take up their cross and put
him to death daily.
I’m under no illusions that Adamic masculinity will
be utterly destroyed in this life. But there can be progress,
and we must begin where the first Adam last failed: with
responsibility and repentance. When I counsel newly-married
men, I remind them that in a marriage of sinners, conflict
is inevitable. Some say that love means never having
to say that you’re sorry. For a godly husband, love means
that you have the privilege of saying you’re sorry first.

7. I want my sons to see Jesus Christ as the ground
and goal of their masculinity.
Christ is the ground of our masculinity. He took Adamic
humanity into the grave with him, and emerged with
a new way to be human, and a renewed way of being a
man. Unlike Adam, Christ killed the dragon to get the
girl. And he killed the dragon by dying himself. When he
saw his bride heading down the broad road to destruction,
what did he do? He didn’t blame, he bled. He didn’t damn,
he died. He didn’t gripe and grumble and groan. Instead
he gladly and graciously gave himself up for her, that he
might purify and beautify his bride.
Christ died for the sins of Adam and all the sons who
follow in his steps, that he might make a way for us to
return to our Father and recover our royal calling. The
gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for failed and fallen
men, and it is a living and abiding hope.
My prayer for my boys (and for myself, and for the men
who read this chapter) is that we would embrace this gospel
and answer Christ’s call to be his little brothers, following
him into the breach, laying down our lives for
others, and doing so for the joy set before us. First in, last
out, laughing loudest."

Yes, Yes, Yes! May our boys grow to know that the Lord gave them a great privilege to grow up and be like Jesus... to serve joyfully, to love extravagantly and utterly selflessly, to provide and protect and be men of The Word, and to express the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. I'm soaking these seven qualities up and praying them fervently over my boys.

Yes please Lord... these traits in our boys... all_day_long! :)

{These seven traits are an exert from a wonderful ebook entitled Good. You can find it here at}