Last time we looked at a godly man's responsibility in "carrying the colors" in the battlefield of life. Responsibility can also be seen as one's duty. Faith is a prerequisite of duty. That's why duty is never about doing things out of guilt. A man oriented to duty recognizes that nothing of consequence gets done unless someone puts himself on the line. In an age where men avoid responsibility like it's a polyester leisure suit, a single man who is grace-motivated and duty-bound can make a difference in this world.
In this column, we will look at resolve. The man carrying the colors was always included in the battle plan. He was told of the objective, and was to press on toward that objective with all diligence. He couldn't get caught up in the fray or turn back. He must lead on toward the goal. He was the focus of the advance. All the troops fell in behind him. At the same time, he was the focal point of the attack, for the enemy knew that if the color-bearer could be cut down, his fellow troops could be routed in the confusion.
Facing the full fury of battle and unable to defend himself or retreat, the color-bearer knew that he was the source of hope amid calamity in battle. When the banner was lost, hope was lost. But as long as the banner was flying, there was reason to continue the fight. One color-bearer at Antietam described the dilemma of being the focal point of both attack and hope: "Between the physical fear of going forward and the moral fear of going backward, there is a predicament of exceptional awkwardness."
Single brothers, this "exceptional awkwardness" is real to you, I am sure. The fight can seem overwhelming, and tangible reward for the effort can seem scarce. Resolve is the faith that keeps you moving even when the fog of battle overwhelms you. Jesus had resolve in going to the Cross. Paul had resolve in pressing on toward the goal. Resolve looks ahead. Resolve is clear-eyed, level-headed, sober-thinking. It is fueled by the burning reality that service in this life is the only battle that matters, and that God himself has placed you in it. So spend it all here. As the famous missionary motto proclaims, "No retreat, no surrender, no reserve."
God made you a man for a purpose. Inherent in your masculinity is a call to step forward, not simply to take the flag, but first to ask for it and reach toward it. Masculinity is the raw material of leadership in God's government, but you don't need to wait for a tap on the shoulder to express your innate leadership call. You can lead by influence and example. If you are not being trained to lead, get your Bible out and train yourself! Your Christian single sisters are always looking for men to step out in leadership in areas such as purity, discernment, decisions, and godly conversation. Like Nehemiah, the only things you need to make a real impact are a willingness to sacrifice, the faith to do your duty, and resolve to finish the task.
Men and women, weary of fighting the battles of the gender wars, are yearning for peace. Christian men and women who relish the roles and responsibilities that God has given can provide a way out of the confusion. The beauty of God's way is that whether your singles group is counted by the hundreds or by the handful, you can be a compelling example of the richness of biblical manhood and womanhood if you embrace your distinctive call.
Brothers, carry the colors.
The Rich Single Life by Andrew Farmer: "The truths contained in The Rich Single Life could revolutionize your understanding of singleness. Andrew Farmer skillfully shows single Christian men and women what a rich and valuable opportunity they have. Just as importantly, he explains how to take full advantage of that opportunity. This book will help you live the single life in all the fullness of God." -Joshua Harris, author and pastor. Available from the Sovereign Grace Store.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem: A definitive study of men's and women's roles. Its piercing critique of feminism won it a "Book of the Year" award in 1992. Vital material for all Christians, whether single or married. The foreword is addressed to single adults and contains much encouragement.
Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby: Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading.