By Cindy McGarvie
Youth for Christ Australia – National Director
Read: 2 Samuel 23:8-23
Further reading for the week: Deuteronomy 20:1-4, Matt 16:18, Matt 18:18-19, Deuteronomy 28:7
The experts tell us that girls learn emotional intelligence and boys learn heroic intelligence.
Boys have the potential to become the most constructive forces in our societies. They are the courageous risk-takers, resourceful, inventive, protectors, leaders who forge forth in life with incredible sacrifice. God made men with masculine attributes, in His image and complementary (not competitive) to the wonderful feminine attributes of women who are also made in His image.
But our boys are in trouble, culture is not conducive to the flourishing of boys.
Every week in Australia there are over 2,000 ambulance call outs for boys and men experiencing acute mental health issues related to self-harm. One quarter of those either threatening suicide, attempting suicide or committing suicide. These are our sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, and friends. Western nations are in the grip of a male suicide crisis. Boys’ suicide rates go from only slightly more than girls before age 15 to three times that of girls’ between 15 and 19, to 4 1/2 times that of girls between 20 and 24’.[i] Only last week I learned of a young 21-year-old university student who ended his life by throwing himself in front of a train.
Obviously, depression and suicide are symptoms seen in many of the casualties from this full-on war on boys. These symptoms are the result of a number of destructive enemy strategies. Strategies like fatherlessness, pornography, feminisation, gender confusion and the teaching of nihilism or purposelessness. Our Adversary is seeking to destroy the Church, Christ’s bride. And to destroy and weaken the Church the enemy must target the ‘centre of gravity’ or the strength of our forces — our men, the fathers, husbands and guardians of the faith, mighty warriors. And to get our men, like a ‘roaring lion’ the enemy goes after the most vulnerable, the young ones, our boys. Apparently, this is not a new strategy:
“In the late 500s BC, the military dictator Aristodemus took over the Greek colony of Cumae. He slaughtered his enemies en masse and undertook to ensure that no Cumaean man would ever be more than his slave. Here is how he did it, according to the essayist Dionysius of Halicarnassus. ‘To ensure that no noble or manly aspiration would arise in any of the citizens, he decided to feminise every young man by means of his upbringing in the city’s schools.’ Aristodemus had the boys of Cumae wear long hair and embroidered gowns; he made them listen to soft music and keep out of the sun; he starved them of adult male guidance. This was so none of them would ever grow up strong enough to stand against him.”[ii]
It is time to stand against this spiritual assault on our boys to ensure that indeed ‘noble [and] manly aspirations would arise’ and flourish. Our boys must understand their true identity and purpose. Christians need to understand, “If boys are in trouble, so are we all.” [iii]
We are indeed more than conquerors; it’s time for the Church to rise up and stand with our Commander to fight for our boys. The victory is ours.
The spiritual battle for our young men and boys.
In Luke 10:19 we read that Christ has given us ‘authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy…’ Like the Iron Dome Missile Defense System invented by the Israelis that intercepts missiles in the air before they hit their target, we must take up our God-given authority to intercept and prevent the lies and deceptions from reaching their targets. Buckle yourself with the belt of truth, Ephesians 6 (in Roman times, all armour was removed when not on duty except the belt) so that even we as Christians are not deceived by similar lies.
- Pray for LIFE for our young men and pray against the spirit of death that is sweeping across our nation, that the suicide escalation in our boys and men will be stopped. Jesus said that He came that we may have ‘LIFE and have it more abundantly’ John 10:10
- For young men to know their identity in Christ.
- Pray for courageous Christian leaders to rise up and for those already in the front lines to stand strong in this epic spiritual battle for our young men.
- Pray for young people you may know who are under attack; rebuke demonic influence in the name of Christ, claim that person from the enemy’s territory; give thanks for the victory Christ has won for us.
For churches to undertake a rescue mission to find the despairing, the lonely and the lost.
- Pray for Christians to reach out with the life-giving and life-affirming message of the Gospel.
- Someone said, the church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. Pray for more paramedic evangelists to reach the broken, more ‘workers to the harvest’.
- Our focus is that the lost will experience the healing love of God.
- Pray that churches will be ready to welcome with open arms refugees of our secular moral culture and be a place of healing and health.
- Pray that God would raise up more champions for the faith who will set their faces like flint, and who are not afraid of the threats of the Adversary. Pray that no weapon is formed against these champions, and pray the Church will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).