It’s no mystery that our boys love fighting and adventure. They are drawn to TV shows and movies that involve blood, battles, bombs and booby traps. In their play, someone is always getting killed or blown up. Our boys thrive on fighting evil and taking risks. In our episode today, we’re going to find out why God created our boys in this way.
WELCOME TO EPISODE 19 OF REDEEMING THE CHAOS, WITH LAURIE CHRISTINE.
WILD AT HEART
In the last episode of Redeeming the Chaos, we looked at the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. We learned that our boys were created to uniquely reflect God’s image in their masculinity. We learned that God created our boys to be wild and dangerous. And we learned that God created our boys with the desire to fight battles and live for adventure. If you haven’t yet listened to that episode, go back and listen to Episode 18.
Today, we’re going to look a little deeper into these two desires: An adventure to live and a battle to fight.
BOYS WANT AN ADVENTURE TO LIVE
First let’s take a closer look at our boys’ desire for adventure.
John Eldredge says that our boys so often hear the word “DON’T” in their young lives.
“Don’t climb on that, don’t break anything. Don’t be so aggressive, don’t be so noisy, don’t be so messy, don’t take such crazy risks. But God’s design,” eldredge states, “which he placed in boys as the picture of himself — is a resounding YES. Be fierce, be wild, be passionate.” p. 36, Wild at Heart.
Moms…when our boys are being loud, aggressive and passionate, remember that they are reflecting God’s character. How can we allow our kids to take reasonable risks in their lives? How can we say yes more than we say no? Am I willing to release some of my control and allow my boys to be wild and dangerous?
Our boys are just not happy unless they are pursuing adventure and taking risks.
I’m sure you can tell me countless stories of your boys living on the edge… perhaps quite literally!
All of my boys have been climbers from the time they were able to crawl. Pretty much every time we go to a playground or a park, a worried mother or grandmother comes running over to me, points to the top of a tree or a rock or the swingset, and asks in a terrified voice, “Are those your boys way up there??” To which I always smile and nod and reply, oh yes, they are just fine.
John Eldredge recounts a time when he found one of his boys with a rope tied out his second floor bedroom window, preparing to rappel down the side of the house.
He says, “The recipe for fun is pretty simple raising boys: add to any activity an element of danger stir in a little exploration, add a dash of destruction and you’ve got yourself a winner.” p.13 Wild at Heart.
LIVING BY FAITH MEANS TAKING RISKS
We talked in the last episode about how our life as a Christian is all about taking risks… about stepping into the unknown with God and trusting that he is good. That’s what living by faith is all about. Living by faith always involves an element of risk.
Eldredge says that God “created the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say, only when we live by faith.” p.202, Wild at Heart
So, when we allow our boys to take calculated risks in their lives; when we allow them to try, and fail, and start again; when we encourage them to pursue adventure in their lives… we are preparing them to step out into a life of faith in God that will follow them into adulthood.
Eldredge quotes Oswald Chambers in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest: “Certainty is the mark of the common sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.”
WHY AREN’T MY BOYS EXCITED ABOUT GOD?
But I have often wondered about something. If what Eldredge and Chambers say is true, then a life lived by faith in God is the epitome of adventure. Our boys long for adventure, yet they often seem disinterested in the Bible, or in getting to know God.
I wonder… Are we portraying the character of God to our sons in a way that reveals the dangerous and adventurous aspects of God’s character? Or do our boys see Him simply as a rule enforcer… someone who just wants to kill all their fun? I don’t doubt that if our boys truly understood the heart of God and how they reflect his image, they might be more passionate about getting to know Him.
As moms, we too have an adventure to live, right alongside our boys… We have to step out in faith every day, putting our sons in God’s hands and trusting that he is working to transform their hearts, trusting that he is working to redeem the chaos. Especially as our boys get older and more independent from us, it will be a daily act of letting go and surrendering them into God’s hands.
Now, just in case you’re wondering, with all this talk of risk and danger… Eldredge says he is “not suggesting that the Christian life is chaotic or that a real man is flagrantly irresponsible.” p.215 Wild at Heart.
A real man doesn’t abandon responsibility for his work or the welfare of his family. Eldredge is simply emphasizing the importance of teaching our boys not to live in fear… not to wait for a guarantee of success before making a commitment.
He says, “The only way to live in this adventure – with all this danger and unpredictability and immensely high-stakes – is in an ongoing intimate relationship with God.” p. 216 Wild at Heart
And so, mommas, I truly believe that one of the best ways we can prepare our boys to become men — to step out in faith and follow God into the adventure of a lifetime — is to ground them in the Word of God and to model for them what an intimate relationship with God looks like.
BATTLES, BOMBS & BOOBY TRAPS
So, now let’s talk about our boys’ desire for a battle to fight. We talked last time about how God is a warrior, and our boys reflect his character in their desire to fight battles.
Eldredge says that “Capes and swords, camouflage, Bandannas and six shooters – these are the uniforms of boy hood. Little boys yearn to know they are powerful, they are dangerous, they are someone to be reckoned with…. If you do not supply a boy with weapons he will make them from whatever materials are at hand…. p.10 Wild at Heart
I’m sure all you boy moms listening can relate to this! I know for my boys, any game they play involves some aspect of fighting the bad guys. We are very blessed to live in a neighborhood with a lot of boys… between our house and the 3 houses adjacent to us there is a combined total of 10 boys between the ages of 4 and 14. And they all play together, the little ones following the big ones around.
From building forts to making weapons out of duct tape and PVC pipe, to playing with army guys or battling with light sabers, and even digging an ammunitions bunker in the back yard, I know that our family will be well protected from any evil that may befall our neighborhood.
When my boys were a little younger, they loved playing “house” or “family”. There was always a dad and a mom and a baby, and of course the bad guy. Most of their “House” playing involved defending the house against the bad guys.
I remember playing house with youngest son last fall. We were playing outside in the leaves and I was creating cute little rooms and hallways out of leaf piles… All the while, he was busy building booby traps all around the yard to protect whoever tried to get into our house.
PART OF A BIGGER STORY
Eldredge says that when our boys play at fighting and battles, they are rehearsing their part in a much bigger story.
My boys are fascinated by weapons, battle scenes, building bombs and blowing things up. As moms, it may be tempting to be concerned about such interests… but unless it becomes a morbid obsession, try to look at it as God preparing your sons to fight alongside him in the battle against evil in this world.
GOD INVITES BOYS TO JOIN HIM IN BATTLE
So, let’s examine this desire to fight a battle a little more closely.
“Why does a man long for a battle to fight?” Eldredge asks. “Because when we enter the story in Genesis we step into a world at war; the lines have already been drawn…. Somewhere back before Eden… there was a rebellion… Lucifer, the Prince of angels, … rebelled against the Trinity. He tried to take the throne of heaven by force, assisted by a third of the angelic army… They failed, and were hurled from the presence of the Trinity. But they were not destroyed, and the battle is not over. God now has an enemy… and so do we.” p.51 Wild at Heart
God invites boys (and girls, and moms and dads…) to join him in the battle for God’s glory, the battle against evil, the battle for our very souls.
God is calling our boys to join him in the great battle against the enemy. God made our boys for a purpose and he gave them a mission – to join him in fighting against his enemy, the devil, and his influence in the world.
I Peter 5:8-9 warns us to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
The book of Revelation describes the enemy as a “dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan.” (Revelation 20:2).
“Yes, there is a dragon.” Eldredge says. Let’s teach our boys “how you slay him.” p.157
HOW DO WE FIGHT THE DRAGON?
So, what does this look like? How do we teach our boys to fight this dragon, who is the devil? How do we teach them to recognize his schemes? When bank tellers are trained to recognize counterfeit money, they don’t waste their time studying the fake stuff… they study the real thing! The more we guide our boys to know Jesus, the better they will be able to recognize the lies of the devil.
But here’s the good news. God doesn’t merely ask our boys to join him in battle and then leave them to their own devices. He has provided them with armor with which to fight off the schemes of the devil. He has promised that he will fight for them. He will go with them and never leave them.
The Bible says that Satan is the father of lies. He tries to convince us that God doesn’t love us and that God isn’t for us. He ultimately tries to attack our identity in Christ.
Eldredge says that “The big lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than a sinner saved by grace. You are a lot more than that. You are a new creation in Christ. ” p.146 Wild at Heart
One of the most important things we can do for our boys is to teach them who they are in Christ. In Christ, they are loved, forgiven, and redeemed. In Christ, they are bold, strong and courageous.
Now, this isn’t to say that we downplay the significance of sin. It’s important for our boys to understand the gravity of sin and how our sin separates us from God. But once they have received Christ’s gift of salvation, God gives them a new heart. A heart that is good and not a slave anymore to sin.
Mommas, my challenge for you today is to tell your boys that they are strong and dangerous and courageous. They are mighty warriors that Christ has called to join him in battle. Let’s equip our boys to fight the dragon.
Lord, you are the God of angel armies. You are a warrior. Thank you for giving my boys the desire for an adventure to live and a battle to fight. Thank you that you have called my boys to fight alongside you in the great battle against the evil dragon. I pray that you would give them a passionate desire to know you and your word. Help them to recognize the lies and schemes of the evil one. Please help them to remember that you are always with them and you will never leave them or abandon them. Amen.
Real quick, before you go… Do you know any other moms who are feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of raising courageous boys? Would you share a link to this blog post with them?
Also, I would love to invite you to join me in our new Facebook group. It’s called “Raising Courageous Boys,” and it’s a place for Christian boy moms to connect and encourage each other on this wild, wonderful, chaotic adventure of raising boys.
Thank you so much for joining me for Episode 18 of Redeeming the Chaos with Laurie Christine.