February 25, 2022

Ep. 17 | A Theology of Violence: Family Leadership

Christian men need to be diligent when it comes to protecting their families, and that requires faithful leadership. Being disciplined in exercising dominion over self is prerequisite for considering the role of violence and self-defense in the…
Life on Target
Life on Target
Ep. 17 | A Theology of Violence: Family Leadership

Christian men need to be diligent when it comes to protecting their families, and that requires faithful leadership. Being disciplined in exercising dominion over self is prerequisite for considering the role of violence and self-defense in the family. In this episode, Nathan discusses Biblical qualities for leadership and how they inform the way that men should build and defend their family life.

Welcome back to the Life on Target podcast. I’m your host, Nathan Spearing. I hope as always, this is coming to your ears as you are on mission, doing what you are best at, continuing to remake this earth for God’s glory. And I hope that this episode will continue to enable you to do that better. Today we are going to expand upon a theology of violence that we’ve already talked about a few episodes ago after a quick break, to give you some practical tools to stimulate brain health, which will be an essential part of you having dominion over self.

Our theology of violence that we’re working from also has a critical structure to it in that we handle things in the right priority, that we are working on having dominion over self, body, soul and spirit, specifically in this comfortable age in which we live focusing on our bodies, our physical bodies being in shape, not being pudgy theologians, but being theologians that are also serious about the benefits that come from working out, from having mental toughness and being multi-disciplined in what we do as individuals, not shying away from those things that are difficult.

Centering on Meekness

Also, the theology of violence that we are working to build has as a fundamental pillar the proper understanding of what it is to be meek, meekness not being maybe what current evangellyfish-type people would define it as, as always turning the other cheek, always submitting, always letting those around abuse us and those that we are responsible to take care of and protect with just understanding  Well, somehow as I just keep turning the other cheek and just letting people abuse, everything that, and just being quiet and peaceful, somehow God’s going to make this all better.

No, realizing that part of God working all things together equals us being obedient, us being able to make this earth—remake this earth—moving it towards where God would want us to take it, taking responsibility. And part of that is as men being in shape and being dangerous, being able to protect those that are within our care and being ready to stand up for righteousness, stand up for the cause of the downtrodden and to protect. We talked about how Jordan Peterson, a very popular personality amongst those of us that are working to cultivate a culture of responsibility and a good level of masculinity and he says, “A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.” Pastor Rich Lusk saying, “The essence of masculinity is controlled capacity.” We’ve already talked about that. So, we’re going to move quickly past that to the next sphere.

Pacifism Isn’t an Option

So once you have dominion over yourself, body, soul and spirit, the next step is taking responsibility. And if you have already have a family and kids and everything, it is simultaneously getting you under control and also seeking to have your family under control, and to lead your family well. And I would like to quickly talk about an example of how bad things get when good men are not able to do violence, when good men are pacifists, when good men aren’t serious about standing up for those they love. And that is going to the Jocko Podcast Episode 98 with Jordan Peterson. But in the beginning, he does about a two-and-a-half, three-minute reading of an article by Zainab Salbi who was a Yazidi woman in Iraq under ISIS control and was abused by the ISIS insurgents, by the ISIS terrorists, by the ISIS animals that had denied the truth, denied their image bearing capacity had been given over sin and lies and were wreaking havoc.

So, I would encourage you, I’m going to put the link to that episode, the YouTube video in the show notes. I would encourage you as a man to go and to watch at least the first three to five minutes of that episode. It is rather jarring content, it is rather explicit content, but as men, I think especially now, we need to take some time and understand not just at a theoretical level, but understand how evil is manifesting itself in parts of the world that don’t enjoy the level of comfort and freedom that we do. And let that soak in and let us remember similar to studying what the culture was like under Nazi control when masculinity, when truth was being crushed by violent men motivated by the wrong reasons. But Jocko talks about these Yazidi women that were consistently and repeatedly abused by ISIS men and how it affected them psychologically, physically, spiritually.

And I don’t have firsthand knowledge of this, but when I was leading the military, when I was getting out, I was involved with a lot of different efforts in the area and defeating ISIS, and I was getting intelligence from open source channels of these abuses from friends of mine that were former case officers in the agency and different things and trying to ingest that in to the department of defense system to go to our intelligent sources and explain to them these women that were sending back info about where they were and where the captors and abusers were, and trying to help from that perspective and just seeing the machine essentially being callous to what was happening. And the fact that we have become so blind to, at a policy level, or at a higher level, of our objectives in war to not be extremely focused to eliminate this type of behavior.

So, it’s not just articles like Zainab Salbi’s article, but it’s me seeing these intelligence reports. It’s me also being involved in counter sex trafficking efforts here in the U.S. and volunteering locally and volunteering with organizations that doing that and just it is happening all around us, it is happening all over the world when men are using their masculinity, “their strength as men” to abuse those weaker. And us as good men, as Christian men need to cultivate a ability to stand up against that. And by that one of those ways that we build this up, that we reform the culture is by having dominion over our families, by being in charge of, or leading those that God has placed within our care and understanding that by us living out a more excellent way, we are showing others the way.

Men Are to Model a More Excellent Way

It starts with living a more excellent way, it starts with us loving our wives well, it starts with us having children that are obedient, that are joyful, and that’s a testimony. It’s a testimony to those around us. It’s a testimony to our neighbors that may not fear the Lord. It is a testimony when we walk down the street, when we go into stores, when we eat out, that we are proclaiming Christ in our behaviors, and that people are looking at us, not as a man looking at and trying to get glory for ourselves, but to point to the heavenly father, to speak about how God’s being faithful to us, and God has blessed us and point to the heavenly father as the one that is enabling us to live that way.

There is a great podcast that’s The History of the Christian Church specifically on sexual morality. And he talked about how in this sexual perversion that we’re seeing this exploitation of those weaker, this gender fluidity, as it is called, that we see is not really that unique in history, the pagan cultures, the Roman cultures, they all societies have gone through this breakdown before. And I really like how The History of the Christian Church podcast, talked about how our role as Christians is to model a more excellent way, to not be necessarily picketing these different gatherings, but to just live well, to live boldly and to show the world through our behavior. We do that by tending to our families.

Protecting Our Families by Tending to Them

Now I spoke about this a little bit earlier on in this podcast, Romans 8:28:

“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purposes.”

Romans 8:28

And Keith Giles talks about in this quote here, that “We should stop quoting this verse to say that God will make it all work out in our favor somehow. Instead, we should allow this verse to remind us that we are called to work together with God, to bring joy, peace, healing, compassion, justice, and love to the world around us.” We do that by leading our families well, by leading ourselves well, by having dominion and not jumping all the way to the city in the order of responsibility which we’re going to get to later on, but first tending to ourselves then tending to our families.

So, we saw that in Genesis 1:28 that “God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” News flash for our perverse culture: The only way to be fruitful and to multiply is to take what a man has and a woman has and combine it to have more children. And by man and a woman getting married, having sex, creating children, we are able to grow organically our families, and to continue to have dominion as a family, combining with others in the church. And that the result of that will be our societies having blessing through the work of what Christians are doing in the family and in the church.

Comfort Leads to Complacency

We see in Deuteronomy that we’re supposed to:

…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 6:5–15

And I highlighted this in our men’s group a few months ago, that we have to take care lest we forget the Lord. In a lot of ways, the benefits and the comforts that we are enjoying here in modern day America—we didn’t build out of our own abilities or our own efforts. We are reaping the blessing of work and foundations laid by godly men at the beginning of this country.

And in a lot of ways the church has forgot, the church and men, families, and Christians have forgot, because we’ve eaten our full and we forgot the Lord. And we are going after the gods of the people around us, the gods of social recognition, of having a “good testimony,” of being at peace, not saying anything that will upset other people and just being a good little Christian in my heart, but it not affecting any area of our life. This is sin and our God is jealous and he will have his anger kindled against us if this is how we are living.

The Biblical Requirements of Masculine Leadership

So how do you do this as a man? We see in 1 Timothy, the requirements of what it is to be a leader in the church. And essentially this should be something that we hold up as a gold standard for what we are to do as men, even if we’re not leaders in the church, even if you’re not an elder where you are, even if you’re just thinking that you’re just going to attend church and walk out the door and not actually get involved and lead, you still should be seeking to uphold this standard as a man in your family. So, we see the requirement that “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? … Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.” (1 Timothy 3:4–5, 12)

We see a lot of this going on. A lot of people are not managing themselves well, they’re not managing their household, and they’re jumping to the third ring of responsibility without building that foundation that the Lord says in his word is required if you want to lead, is to manage your own household, manage yourself, and also your children and your wife.

Leading Means Providing

We also see that we should be providing for our family. We’ve talked about this some in other episodes, but in Proverbs 22:29:

“Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men.”

Proverbs 22:29

Is your work exceptional? Is your work amazing? Are you always getting better at what you do, or are you on cruise control? Are you clocking in and you’re giving your employer 39.9 hours a week taking an hour-and-fifteen-minute lunch break maybe, and just doing the minimum so you can get back to your Netflix shows and yell at your kids who are making too much noise while you scroll on Instagram, or are you providing, are you excelling? Are you increasing your earning potential and growing so that you can stand before kings—not so that you get glory for yourself, so that you give glory to God?

Leading Means Protection and Defense

We’re required to protect our family physically. We see in Genesis 14:14, and we’ve talked about this before, that Abraham taking his 318 men having the capacity within his household to attack by night and rescue his family from kings that had risen up. And this looks a lot different in a modern society, but still as a church, we should have a plan. We should have coordinated this amongst the men in the church. We should a capacity organic to our family and to our church to protect those around. We see violent mobs springing up. We see the people not being able to handle what is going on, that the local leadership not being willing to do what is required to protect its citizens. This is maybe not going to get much better before it gets worse.

Honoring Your Wife

We’re supposed to protect our family spiritually and emotionally. We see in first Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” If you’re not treating your wife well, if you’re not treating her as a co-heir, if somehow the way you live is in any way at a meta-narrative level communicating that she is less of an heir of the kingdom than you, that reality that she is weaker emotionally means that she’s less of an heir, that she is less an image bearer of God, shame on you. You need to live with your wife in an understanding way and realize—we’ve talked about that in Women: Creators of Infinite Compounding Value—that a lot of us have become hyper-patriarchal and oppressive in the way we are.We need to repent of that, and we need to live with our wives in an understanding way, for God’s glory.

Protection Includes Content and Technology

We need to protect our families digitally. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Are we letting stuff into our home via these streaming platforms, via our kids having devices that is exposing them to things that are not pure, lovely, commendable? Are we passive in our digital rule of life as a family? Are we wasting our resource of time? And does that come out of us as men being digitally disciplined ourselves? We don’t need to talk about this too much. We can go back to the porn and virginity episode, Pastor Toby’s episode with commending men or encouraging men to lead our sons in a pornographic era.

Lead Yourself to Lead Your Family

If you’re not doing it yourself, if you’re not leading yourself, then how do you expect to lead your family? And if you can’t do both of those, why are we surprised if the city, if our culture is falling apart? Controlling our flesh and devotion to one woman forms the foundation that men, we as men, build upon—build a family upon. If we’ve messed up, this isn’t necessarily going to your wife and whining to her and saying, “Baby, tell me it’s going to be okay.” This is having a brotherhood of men around you that you can confess to, that you can confess to your wife in certain situations as well, but we see in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

What do you guys think about this? Is any of this hitting home for you? Is any of this convicting you? I’m not saying any of this out of a position where Look at Nate. Look what Nate’s doing. I got it all together. These are just things that I let wash over me every single day as I’m trying to interact with my family, my wife, and I know that that spills outward into my business, it spills out into my relationship with neighbors. It is how I conduct myself on social media. We are required to lead ourselves well, to lead our families well. And as men, we will answer for that. And the byproduct of us not doing that is what we are seeing in culture, is what we are seeing in ISIS controlled territories abusing women, in sexual perversion throughout our culture. It’s time to stand up. And part of standing up is focusing inward, focusing at your family and making sure doing this well, that you’re building household practices and that you’re standing up for those around you, within the proper authority structure, with wisdom, but with the ability to be violent, to be strong, to protect if necessary.

As always, please share this episode with one friend. Every time you listen to an episode, and you think it’s great and it gave you value—every single time, share it with one person that you haven’t shared with before. Help me get this into different people’s ears for God’s glory, for reforming our culture, for living a fuller life for God’s glory. Go back and get some extra credit, share the previous episodes you like with different people. If you did, if you listen to it and it convicted you and you started putting stuff into place, and it forced a conversation that you had with your wife or with another man in your church, share it with someone. That’s how my construction business is doing well, is if we do good work, they share it. Thank you for listening. Looking forward to talking with you on the next episode, have a good one.