Fight or flight?

When faced with an imminent threat your body releases adrenaline, your heart rate picks up, your brain activity skyrockets, your muscles tense, and all your senses are on “go.” 

Fight or flight?

The conversation turns volcanic. You didn’t mean that comeback to sound so visceral but you just verbally napalmed the other guy in front of his buddies. He’d been pushing you around the court all game and, after his latest hack-attack under the basket, you just let him know in very colorful language how you feel. He’s dropping the ball and walking straight over to you.

Fight or flight?

You are not getting through to her. She’s dug in. You’re dug in. There’s been the usual “you always” statements and “if only you would just” clichés but now you are way beyond jabbing – low blows are being thrown.

Your face is getting redder by the second, your voice is getting louder, and you are pulling out the heavy armor-piercing bullets. Mentally you are loading a new magazine of firepower that will surely cut through the emotional metal of your sweet bride – eventually killing the argument and any chance at intimacy. 

Fight or flight?

She’s cute. Really cute. You have no business returning her eye flutters with a smile but you did. "What in the world are you doing?" says the  voice inside. Images of your wedding, your wife and your kids flash across your brain. You just noticed that you are hiding your wedding band beneath the table on purpose and feel very conflicted right now. "Your on a business trip – alone," says the dark side. "No one has to know and people do this all the time." While you were battling these thoughts, she has closed the gap from 20 feet to two feet and is standing in front of you! "Buy me a drink?"

Fight or flight?

Your new neighbor needed to borrow a dolly to move his fridge. You helped him and got to talking. He’s just moved here from back east. You’ve got a lot in common and, it turns out, his company is a vendor for guy at church you know from Bible study. "Wow, what a coincidence!... Small world!" You sense a pull to ask if this guy he has a church family and, if not, tell him about your men’s group that meets on Thursday mornings. "You just met the guy," the dark side calls out. "Step into the water – it’s warm. Go for it!" says God’s Spirit.

Fight or flight?

You knew when they told you that the your group was going to be flying back to corporate for some meetings that this would be the case. Your regional sales team (all men) were going to have free time and they will want to go where they went last year. Last year you went because that’s what you always did. This year is different. You made a new spiritual commitment at the Every Man Conference. You checked that box to "Commit your life to Christ" and the other box "Live A Life of Sexual Integrity" with God’s help and the help of your brothers. Your marriage has never been the same since that conference, you are connected to a great group of guys, and you are reading God’s Word because you want to not because you have to. Suddenly you hear, "Bill, we are going to Hooters, you coming?"

Fight or flight?

Cancer is something that happens to someone else. Right up until yesterday’s biopsy you were still thinking it would belong to someone else’s wife – not yours. Sitting in front of the oncologist right now is bringing home the reality that it’s you – it’s her – your beautiful bride, not one of  her friends or an email request for prayer. Lowering the brim of his glasses and closing the chart, the doctor breathes in deeply and gives you a long stare. You think, "This can’t be good."

Misfortune.

Flare-ups.

Temptations.

Circumstances beyond your control.

Manipulations.

Unjust suffering.

Unwelcomed responsibility.

Trials.

Losses.

All of these test our faith. All of these inspect our hearts and reveal what’s really there. All of these have the capacity to perfect our faith or produce sin. It’s all in how we choose to respond. And that response under pressure will always produce a chain reaction, a wake behind you that will honor God and people, or not.

I don’t know the personal circumstances of every reader but I do know this: the Holy Spirit (that voice in your mind calling you to be God’s man today) is not failing in your life. Work with that voice more and the other voices less. Work toward producing a good wake beginning now.

Kenny Luck is the Men's Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is also the Founder and President of Every Man Ministries which helps churches worldwide develop and grow healthy men's communities. Please visit www.everymanministries.com for more information.