Craig Groeschel, the founding and senior pastor of the LifeChurch.tv megachurch, discussed some of the most important battles in life for men – including pornography – and how they can fight them with integrity during Focus on the Family's Daily Broadcast recently.
The discussion was based on Pastor Groeschel's book, "The Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most," in which he has used the biblical story of Samson to deal with three big battles that every man faces: lust, entitlement and pride.
The book was specifically written for men, and describes lust as "I want it," entitlement as "I deserve it," and pride as "I can handle it." Groeschel seeks to tell men who they are, instead of pointing of how terrible they are, which typically happens on Father's Day in most churches, he explained.
Groeschel, co-creator of the popular YouVersion Bible App, told the listeners that culture tells men they are nothing, but the Bible suggests men are warriors, spiritually, and not bullies. We need to fight for the oppressed, we need to fight for our families, and stand up for what is right, he explained.
Men might struggle with what the New Testament demands, like when Jesus asked people to turn the other cheek and forgive others, he said. However, to forgive when it is difficult to forgive, to get down on one's knees to pray and not fight with fists "like a man" shows strength, not weakness, the pastor said. "The strength to refrain yourself is tremendous strength."
Asked how this has played out in his own life, Groeschel shared an experience in which his younger sister was molested by her teacher for a long time. He was not a Christian at the time and wanted to thrash the teacher. Even after he accepted Christ, he found it difficult to forgive him. Later, the teacher was sick and near death. After months of prayer, Groeschel was finally able to forgive him. He wrote a letter to the teacher, telling him that he and his family had forgiven him. A nurse had to read out the letter to the teacher, and both he and the nurse accepted Christ.
Groeschel also said that it's easier to die one time for those we love, but "a real man lays down his life daily."
Men get excited about something bigger than themselves, including the challenge to live as God wants people to live.
In marriage, men need to ask themselves what they are giving to their wives, as women are reproducers in every sense, he said. "If you give them troubles, they'll multiply that," he said, jokingly. "If we serve and lay down our lives for them, they will love us in a way that is hard for us to comprehend," he added.
Talking about parenting, Pastor Groeschel said he has four daughters and two sons, and that he loves being an example to the boys and show protection to the girls. The first goal in parenting is to be there with them and being involved in their lives, he said. Teaching children to depend on parents and then gradually to God is success in parenting, he added.
Asked what the number one emotion is that men struggle with most today, Groeschel said the biggest fear is that of failure, and the top emotion is often regret as men get older.
Men tend to have the problem of anger, Groeschel said, but anger is not always sinful unless it "drives us to do a wrong thing." We need to have "righteous anger," which moves us into doing something good, he explained.
Groeschel added that whenever he is angry at someone, he challenges himself to pray for that person. The prayer may not change the other person, but "it changes me." He also said he tries to divert his anger from someone to something, to sin, to the root cause.
The megachurch pastor added that he tries not to act when he is angry.
How to fight pride? "As men, we are so tempted to get our identity out of our accomplishments, and that's when we enter into a dangerous ground ... We need to be careful not to own whatever successes we have, because whatever we own we have it as a gift from God," Groeschel said.
On pornography, the pastor said men are wired for visuals and therefore it's easy for them to be trapped by it. It's one of the top issues for men, he said.
"Let's not see how close we can get to the line, but let's see how far we can stay away from the line," he advised. He said men need to plan an offense and a defense to stay away from pornography and sexual sins, otherwise they may not succeed. "We need to hate this sin," he said. "You want to be a great man? Save yourself for your wife. That's a real man."
Men need to confess their sins to and pray for each other, he suggested.