This week Ryan takes on the show, solo, to help encourage men in five key areas of their lives. Men, you don’t want to miss this and wives, be sure to pass this along to your husband! Or, feel free to listen in to learn more ways you can encourage your husbands in their walk of faith.
Selena: All right, friends, we are so excited to announce that we have our first-ever Fierce Families Conference. It is October 20th and 21st in Tacoma, Washington. So if you’re here, sign up. If you’re not here and you wanna be here, get here, sign up. We would love to have you.
Ryan: We’ll be covering marriage and parenting in light of God’s design in the cultural context that seems to be completely opposed. Speakers include us, Ryan and Selena Frederick, but also John Lovell of Warrior Poet Society. And-
Selena: His beautiful bride, Becca Lovell, will also be there.
Ryan: Space is limited, so don’t delay. To learn more, go to fiercefamilies.com and sign up. That’s fiercefamilies.com. And if you sign up before August 1st, you’ll get the early bird rate. We hope to meet you there in Tacoma, Washington, October 20th and 21st. Until then, stay fierce.
Ryan: Fierce listener, I’m not sure how up on what the youths are saying these days, but the term flex is a term that I’m gonna use here. And the word flex means this. It’s a term used to describe how someone might show off or display their physical accomplishment, their acumen, their success, their competence.
So today, I felt compelled to encourage men, namely, what is the biggest flex that a man can have? Meaning what’s the biggest display of their success in this life? As I was doing research, as I was praying through this I felt like there were five facets of what I’m gonna call fierce men. So today, I’m just gonna encourage the husbands.
So if you’re a wife, you’re watching this, you’re listening to this, maybe you could send this to your husband. Maybe you’ll pick something outta this that you can use to encourage. Or you could actually glean ways, as a wife, you might be able to encourage your husband in these five facets of what it means to be a fierce man. So we’ll see you, or I’ll see you, on the other side.
Ryan: So it’s a bit awkward, I gotta say. This is the first time, now, if you’re watching this, you would’ve noticed this immediately. But I’m here without Selena. I feel as if a great part of me is missing. And it’s true. She is missing. Rest assured everything in the Frederick household is okay with the exception of having a baby who is throwing up today.
Actually, last week, we went to record… And you guys, this is a marriage podcast, so I gotta be honest. We didn’t record because we had a significant argument and we just could not bring ourselves to record. And then we went camping. So we didn’t have time to make up for it. We made up with one another, but we didn’t have time to record an episode and get it out. And we didn’t even have time to communicate that to anyone.
So if you were wondering, we had one listener write in, and she was asking, are you guys okay? Because we rarely, rarely miss an episode. But here we are. So Selena’s missing two episodes. So you have to take that up with her.
If you don’t know who I am, I’m Ryan Frederick. My lovely wife, Selena, normally sits to my right. She’s not here, unfortunately, but I’m hoping to be encouraging to you. Her and I do this thing called Fierce Marriage. We release Fierce Marriage episodes on Tuesdays. We do Fierce Parenting, Lord willing, every Thursday. And we spend our lives writing books, creating resources, encouraging couples in all that it means to be married in light of the gospel.
So thank you for giving me your time today. Again, like I said, this is going to be just an encouraging episode, hopefully, and convicting episode for the men among us. Again, we have a lot of wives who listen obviously. So hopefully you’ll get something outta this. And as you listen, maybe you’ll hear a little bit of how you can be encouraging your husband in one of these or one or more of these ways that I’m gonna describe. And my prayer is that if the men listen that they would feel not just convicted, I feel like conviction is good, but only so far as it changes us, only so far as it changes our hearts.
So I’m gonna share some of my experiences to hopefully help you. And obviously, we’re gonna get into God’s word. Let’s dive into this.
So what do men want? A lot of people have spilled a lot of ink trying to figure this out. What actually are men pursuing? And I would distill it down to this one thing that men want to feel potent. They wanna feel powerful. And what I mean by that is they want to be able to enact change, to do work, and to see fruit of their labor.
So there’s nothing that makes a man feel more impotent when he’s trying to do something and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing. But I think feeling powerful, feeling potent is something that’s wired into us. That’s why we’re called to be fruitful, to multiply, to actively fill the earth, to subdue it, to win, to exert power, God-Given power, God-given potential, right? That’s where the word potent is in there, potential. …to exert God-given potential for the glory of God and for the good of our kin, for the good of mankind, for the good of our family, for the flourishing of mankind because that’s what God set our hands to do.
So, to that end, I think it’s very important. To live effectively now, we must have a strong vision and a view for what our last day will be like. And that’s not something that can easily be conjured. So what I want you to do, if you’re listening to this, you’re watching it… If you’re driving, don’t do this. And if you can close your eyes, or maybe you can imagine this without closing your eyes. But I want you to seriously try doing this.
Close your eyes and imagine, men, you’re in a hospital bed, the pain on the walls is a grayish green, and the sun is shining through the blinds, it’s washing against the walls. It’s a late morning on a sunny day, and the room feels warm. And still you listen and you hear the steady beep of the medical equipment to your side. The smell of the room is sterile, and your vision is blurred as you’ve just awoken from being asleep. As your eyes clear, you feel weak, but you’re strengthened by the feel of a hand grabbing for yours. It’s your bride.
You look up at her, she in her gray glory, having aged beside you and having weathered this life by your side. She smiles through her tears as you blink long and you blink slow. As your eyes open again, you see your first child beside her, then you’re next until the bed is surrounded with your children, their spouses, and Lord willing, your grandchildren. As your mind clears you recall this is your deathbed and you feel now more than ever, and you are sure of it in your weakened bones, that this is your last day.
Hopefully, that created a picture in your mind. You can open your eyes if you haven’t already. But this is a heavy, albeit healthy thing, I think, for every man, every woman to consider at least once in a while. Some of you know my story. I was actually diagnosed with an infection of my heart lining at the age of 22. Selena and I had yet… we hadn’t been married for two years yet. We were in Switzerland. And basically they told me that we’re gonna have to open you up, do open heart surgery, and there’s a good chance that you might die.
So I’ve had this since the age of 22. I’ve had this view of my own mortality that I just can’t seem to shake. So I feel like there’s a constant urgency to… at first it was an urgency to do, do, do, to get things done, to accomplish, to experience life, to see things, to do things that are memorable. And that evolved into a conviction to take action based on what I know to be true, to take risks. That’s the reason why I quit. I had a really secure job. I quit the job, started a business. We lived hand-to-mouth for five years. That’s the reason we started this ministry. There’s this urgency behind what we do.
So I think it’s healthy for us to look at this, to picture in our mind our deathbed. What is it gonna be like on that last day? And envision it and envision how it’s gonna feel and then try to act accordingly. So I wanna ask you this. Who is around your bed on that last day? Who isn’t there? I guarantee you this. Your banker’s not gonna be there. Your stock broker’s not gonna be there. Your boss, your clients, your customers, your accountant, your social media followers will not be there. They will all be absent. But who is decidedly there? It’s gonna be your loved ones. And who will be where you’re going? Christ. Christ.
He will stand as judge over the quick and the dead. And in this case, that would be you. So your family will be surrounding your bed. And then where you’re headed, you are going to see Christ in your death. So what are you going to be thinking in the moments bleeding up to and after your death? What are you gonna be thinking?
Now, again, this is gonna be encouraging, so don’t worry. But the biggest flex, I’m gonna use that word again, the biggest flex I can imagine for any man is this. Because at the end of every man’s life, none of them, at least not the ones that we look up to will brag about what they’ve done. None of them will brag about their accomplishments. Instead, they will either celebrate or they will lament the relationships they built as they reflect on the life they lived that either facilitated the growth of those relationships or fueled their neglect.
So from this thought, I had the idea of the five facets of a fierce man. What does it mean to be a fierce man? So here they are. I’m gonna give them to you in summary, then we’re gonna read a scripture, then we’re gonna go into detail and hopefully give you some really tangible ways to work out each one of these facets. So here they are.
Number one, an unshakable conviction, character, and sense of mission, all rooted in the eternal word of God. Okay? Conviction.
Number two, a fierce man has a wife who is loyal to him, who loves him, who adores him. She submits willingly to his leadership and regularly might ruffle some feathers, makes love to him gladly with enjoyment. Again, we’re talking about the… what’s the greatest flex of a man at the end of his life?
Number three: children who run to him when he gets home and they wrap their arms around his neck, or if they’re grown, these children will call him and ask him for advice regularly. They’ll ask him for help often.
Number four: A fierce man will have a brotherhood of capable like-minded men who are loyal and ready to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with clear eyes for what is right, good, beautiful, and true. That’s four.
Number five finally is discipline on display. What I mean by this is that a fierce man will have visible evidence that they have command over their flesh, right? This is what we’re called to in the Christian life, is your mind, your body, your skill, your appetites, your desires are all subdued and all subjected to obedience to Christ and diligent stewardship.
So all of this sounds great, if you’re a man listening to this. You probably want all those things. I hope you want all those things. But the question is, how do we get there? And this is the subject that I wanna talk about next. So how do we get there?
We have to have a firm object of our hope. And what I mean by that is we need to know clearly what our hope is. So let me ask you this. What is Christian hope? What is Christian hope? We believe, we trust, we follow Christ. But why? Why? Is that we might be saved. But saved from what? Saved in what?
So in other words, we are saved from death in our death through Christ. That is the object of our hope. The Christian life is one lived with a clear vision of Christian death. And what I mean by that is our hope is not in this life. Yes, of course, and I wouldn’t say otherwise, we get to enjoy this life. By God’s grace, we have mountaintop experiences that you can eat incredible meal, you can rustle on the floor with your kids. You can enjoy the moments of life that God gives you that bring laughter, that bring pleasure, that bring enjoyment. But none of them in themselves will bring us abiding, deep, eternal hope.
But instead for the Christian, our hope is in death. Now, our hope is not in death itself, of course, but it is present at the moment of and after our death. It is this view, this clear, stark, plain, inevitable end that is our own death. When we see that clearly, that’s when we gain vision for then how we are to live our lives. That’s the whole premise of this. Each one of these facets stems from having a clear vision of our hope in death so that we can then live our hope in life.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what Paul has to say. So in his letter to the Corinthian church, he wrote this. This is 1 Corinthians 15, starting in about verse 53, I believe. “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Let me go down a few verses to one Corinthians 16:13. It says this, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
The context of Corinth was… It’s a very, very worldly place. There was sex, idolatry, sexual idolatry, [laughs] rampant corruption, and everything that goes along with all that stuff. Violence, you name it. Drunkenness, debauchery of all sorts. This is Corinth.
So his entire letter to the Corinthians, he’s encouraging them. He’s answering their questions for how to live out the Christian life in the worldly context that God has placed them in. The entire letter culminates with a reminder of this single reality that our victor Christ shall return, and therefore this is how we should then live.
Paul has given us a number of imperatives, and he’s given us some participles, which actually support the imperatives. He says this. Be steadfast. That’s number one. Be immovable. Number two. And then the participles “always abounding in the work of the Lord”. Now, what does that mean? It’s describing the verbal action of being immovable.
So how are we immovable? By abounding in the work of the Lord? How are we steadfast? By knowing that our labor is not in vain? So those two things are how we stay immovable. They describe how we stay steadfast. And he goes on and says, “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done and love.”
So to summarize these passages, we have a clear view of our hope in death that Christ will do all that he promised, saving those who have believed in creating the new heaven and the new earth. That is our hope. Then with that hope in minds, we can now do the work of being steadfast and immovable by means of always abounding in the work of the Lord and trusting that our labor is not in vain.
So the question remains, what is the work of the Lord? We’re gonna get to the five facets here in a minute, but we have to set this foundation because I don’t wanna just tell you, men, to just go do, do, do, strive, strive, strive. We have to have a reason. We have to have a context. We have to have our hope firmly secure in the word of God.
Question remains, what is the work of the Lord? For that, we’re gonna go to the words of Jesus. In John 6:25, he says this, “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves…’” Of course, this is right after the miracle with the feeding of the 5,000. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”
So we are working for something. The question is, what are we working for? And what are we working in light of? We’re not working for the food that perishes, but the food that endures to eternal life. Of course, he’s using symbolism here. It says, “Which the son of man will give to you.” Again the object of our hope, Jesus Christ.
Jesus continues. “For on him God the Father has set his seal. Then they said to him, ‘What must we do…?” We’re asking this question too. “What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.
So our conclusion is this, the work of believing is not in vain. But what do we mean by the work of believing? Is it just the thoughts that we think that count as believing? When I hear that, that tends to be how my mind goes. I think all the work of believing, I just need to believe harder. But it’s not just the thoughts that we think that count as believing. But this is the entire point of this podcast episode, is that the things you believe in your mind, in your heart, necessarily men are worked out through the things you do. And therefore they’re worked out into the person that you become.
But someone might say, that’s legalism and that’s the popular response. I say, don’t just do, do, do. But I’m saying even if you don’t feel like doing something, if you feel like the belief is not there, the doing itself is an action of belief. Because if you actually believe something, you do the actions that coincide with that belief, even and especially when you do not feel like you believe. That’s the very nature of it. It’s one of the markers of a mature mind to be able to know and to plan for future outcomes even when the fruit is unseen.
In other words, we act in faith because we have the faith. We don’t have the faith without action. The faith dictates how we act. Farmers do this when they sow seeds. You do this when you go to work. You expect that you’re gonna get paid. You do this when you wake up early to go to the gym or to study for that test or to plan for your week. The proof of belief is in the behavior. The proof of our belief is in the behavior.
So what I wanna do is decouple our actions from our emotions, because our actions should be coupled more closely with our beliefs regardless of what’s happening. It’s like on a foundational level we do the things that we know to be right and good and true because we believe them to be right and good and true. And then somewhere above that, floating above the foundation is how I feel about those beliefs. In other words, we act with conviction.
So go back to these five facets of a fierce man. Number one, a fierce man has an unshakable conviction, an unshakable character, and a sense of his mission all rooted in the eternal word of God. I can tell you firsthand that when I’ve engaged in a task… so I recently just built a fence out in front of our house. It’s taken me weeks. I’ve been kind of chipping away at it. It’s been a lot of work. I’m amazed at one, how many neighbors you meet when you’re building a fence on a summer evening. You’re gonna meet a lot of neighbors that way.
But number two, how many people want to participate? Why? Because people are compelled by a clear sense of mission. They can see what you’re building, ut’s tangible, they wanna participate in it. A fierce man has unshakeable conviction and a sense of mission. And this can only be had by beholding God. You can’t expect to have mission if you’ve never beheld God, you’ve not known Him. You could know about Him, but do you know Him? Do you know his word? Are you resigning yourself then as a result of seeing Him? As a result of reading his word, are you then resigning yourself to the Lordship of Christ and saying, “Lord, do with me what you will. I’m yours.” That’s number one, unshakable conviction.
Number two, fierce marriage podcast. So here we go. A fierce man has a wife who is loyal to him, who loves him, who adores him. Here’s the kicker. She submits to him willingly. He’s a good leader, and her love is expressed to him and her love is gladly expressed to him in ways that are appropriate for a married couple. In other words, intimacy, closeness, communication.
This is number two facet of a fierce man. It’s a flex that if you see a man with a wife who loves him, who’s loyal to him, that to me is one of the most respectable aspects of a man. Does your wife love you? Here’s the thing. You can’t control your wife. You can’t make her think or do the things you think she should think or do. But that’s not the point.
This facet is earned. It’s not demanded. So here’s a question for you, fierce husband. Now, your wife has issues, okay that she’s gonna deal with. That’s between her and God and her sisters in Christ and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking to the husbands here, is that, are you the kind of man who deserves the kind of woman who’s loyal? Are you the kind of man who deserves the kind of woman who loves him, who adores him? Now, her love scripturally speaking, should not be contingent on your actions. So do you deserve that kind of woman or do you blame her for not being the woman you think she should be?
The question is, how do we get there? Let’s go back to Paul’s words in chapter 16, verse 13. He says this, “Act like men, be strong. Let all you do be done in love.” Number one, act like men. Do hard things. Do the actions befitting of a godly man. In other words, lead. Be disciplined. Step up to the plate. Even if you think that you’re not qualified to lead your family, do it.
Number two, be strong. Stand when all others fall. Stand for what matters when all others fade away.
Number three, let all you do be done in love. In other words, love cannot…. It’s impossible for true biblical love… Well, what else is there? It’s only biblical love. It’s impossible for love to be selfish. Love your wife selflessly. Love her in ways that she never thought she could be loved. Serve her. Encourage her. Lift her up. Wash her with the word. Lead her in the things of God. Love her children well. Respect her. Do all the things befitting of a godly man loving a godly woman. That’s what it means to let all you do be done in love. Okay, that’s number two.
Number three: a fierce man has children to run to him when he gets home. They wrap their arms around his neck. And if they’re older, they call him, they ask him for advice, or they ask him for help often. So here’s what I would say. If you wanna see the rawest version of a man, just watch how his children behave when he walks into the room. Watch how his children behave around him. Are they happy to see him? Are they fearful? Are they hesitant? Or are they just indifferent?
Now granted, kids get distracted and they can get into playing, and they don’t even realize their dad walked into the room. But these are all ways to look at the rawest version of a man. But the true test is when they’re grown, right? When they’re grown and they have kids of their own, how do they respond to their father?
So here’s what a fierce man does. A fierce man disciples his children, not just by taking them to church or by praying before bedtime. But fierce men see every moment and emotion as a discipleship opportunity. Then, here’s the key, they seize it as such. Now, that’s not to say you have to be perfect, but we’re trending in the right direction.
The same outbursts that… you know, the angry outbursts that I had last week aren’t the same ones I’m allowing to have myself to have this week. My impatient responses are growing less impatient. My ability to read my children and discern what’s going through their hearts is growing. It’s growing in intensity. I’m getting better at it, not worse. Fierce men disciple their children actively, reading the word, engaging in the word with them, singing with them, praising God with them, praying with them, teaching them how to pray, teaching them how to study God’s word, teaching them how to respond in a way that is in line with the word of God. This is what a fierce man does. So those are three facets of a fierce man.
Number four, a fierce man has a brotherhood of capable, high caliber, high capacity like-minded men who are loyal and ready to fight shoulder to shoulder, here’s the key, with clear eyes for what is right, good, beautiful, and true. So we’ve all heard this tired phrase that you’re the average of your five closest friends. Well, the reason why we’ve all heard it is that it’s true.
So fierce husband, if you are surrounded by impotence and deviance, you are likely an impotent deviant yourself. If you’re surrounded by men who genuinely love God, your love for God will grow. If you’re surrounded by men who are kind to their wives, then you’ll be kinder to yours. If you’re surrounded by men who speak plainly, then you will learn to speak plainly.
What do I mean by that? You communicate what is good and true in a way that’s understandable. Fierce men seek out the types of men that they want to become. And since their eyes are set on their hope in Christ, those types of men will be high caliber, high capacity men. Now, what do I mean by high caliber? High caliber means this, if think about a bullet, right? The bigger the bullet, the more effective it is at demolishing its target, accomplishing its goal.
So a high-caliber man is someone who’s effective at his purpose. A high-capacity man has many said bullets, many such bullets. In other words, they are high caliber to an uncommon degree, which actually leads to the last one, the last facet of a fierce man, and will end it here. They have discipline on display. So the visible evidence that you have command over your flesh. This is challenging for a lot of men. Your mind, your body, your skill, your appetites, your desires, they’re all subdued and subjected to obedience, to Christ and diligent stewardship.
What did Paul say again? He said this, “Act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” Each one of those imperatives has to do with a man fighting his flesh, it’s easier not to act like a man. And what does that mean? That’s kind of an odd phrasing. Well, the Greek verb under there is Andrizomai. And here it refers to conducting oneself in a courageous way. Which is interesting because Andrizomai is very closely related to the noun that is for men. Andros. So conducting oneself in a courageous way. Or this can be said of an old man whose hope in life has been renewed.
So acting like a man, someone whose hope, whose courageous, and perhaps in an eight later stage in life, their hope in life has been renewed. They’re living on mission with that hope and clear view, that hope in clear view.
So here’s some questions for you about this fifth facet is, do you behave with courage, with principle, with conviction rooted in Christ and in his word? Or do you abandon Christ’s word or difficult conversations when culture burns too hot? In other words, do you have a fear of man over a fear of God?
Another question, do you have command over your flesh or does your flesh have command over you? Do you have grit? Do you fight for what you know is right? Do you do what you know? So you’re fighting for what you know is right, but also doing what you know to be right despite how you feel, despite what’s most practical, what’s most expedient. Instead, you do the right thing? Do you do your work as if unto the Lord and not unto men, as Colossians 3:23 says? Are you working toward mastery of your craft for the glory of God and the good of your community or are you content watching the clock as hours tick by?
Do you measure and take risks for the good of your household? Or are you crippled by fear, by lack of ambition, or by faithlessness? Are you mortified and are you actively mortifying your sin? Or does your sin have you in a chokehold? Or does your sin have you against the ropes? Finally, are you beholden to appetites of this life or do you keep them in check fasting and praying as the Holy, holy Spirit convicts?
So that’s a lot to cover. We covered a lot of ground. But here’s a question I have for you. Is a fierce man, someone who’s perfect, and all the things I’ve mentioned? And the answer emphatically is no. Here’s the aspect. Here’s what I’m trying to draw out, is that a fierce man fights. He may not have mastery over every aspect of his discipline, but he’s fighting every day with mastery in view. Why? Because he has his hope. He knows that his work will not be in vain. He knows that in Christ his work will not be in vain.
So finally, I wanna put a bow on all five of these facets. We’ll close with Paul’s statement where he says this, “Let all you do be done in love. Christ did it. And now He’s calling us to do it. And I contend that if we allow everything that we do to be done in love, that we will win at every one of these other facets, that we’ll have strong conviction. We will have a loving wife. We will have adoring children. A loyal brotherhood and discipline will be readily on display.
So fierce men, I’m talking to you, husbands, fathers, friends, workers, you are not long for this world. Death is imminent and the clarity with which you see your final day and your hope for fruitfulness and salvation in Christ. That clarity is directly proportionate to the actions of faith you take today that will transform you into the man that you desire to be.
So imagine death. Imagine your final day. Imagine approaching the throne to meet your king, and then, then behold, the only hope that is yours to have that found in Christ alone. And this is most important. In light of that hope, act accordingly.
Let’s pray. Father God, we love You. I pray for the men listening to this, the wives that are listening to this, I pray that somehow they would take part of this and encourage their husband. I pray that You would use this to strengthen men, to strengthen them to become fierce men who fight according to the faith they have in You, who fight for their wives, who fight for their children, who fight to work unto your glory, to fight for their brotherhood, all because they have beheld You, our worthy, good, righteous God. We love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
All right, well this has been a unique episode. It’s the first time ever I’ve done this without my lovely wife, and I will say I missed her. So I look forward to recording our next episode where she will, Lord willing, be here. But until then… Oh man, I have to say the whole thing. This episode of Fierce Marriage, this unique episode of Fierce Marriage is in the can. And we’ll see you again in about seven days. So until next time, stay fierce.