What is the “win”?

Our pastor has challenged the ministers of Dauphin Way Baptist Church to “define the win” in each of our ministry areas and then develop a “game plan” to achieve the win. This process is healthy and necessary if we are going to succeed. We must consider what success is in order to achieve success. Can we all agree that winning does not occur by accident?

The same is true in marriage and parenting. One of the easiest yet deadliest traps to find ourselves in is that of simply going through the motions. We become so busy juggling work, and family, and home, and church, and school, and recreational activities that we find ourselves doing what we think we have to do and not what we know we should be doing. We react to this and react to that and pretty soon external “uncontrollable” circumstances are driving the fight. We go into survival mode, switching on the autopilot, and allowing the tyranny of the urgent to kill what is important.

I’m sure the Marines are not the only ones who use this term, but we had a word for those who allowed circumstances to overcome their ability to lead – cocooning. When the training became long and hard, food was scarce and sleep even more so, and just to top it off the temperature dropped in the 40s and it started raining, some would begin to cocoon. They would continue to go through the motions, but for all intents and purposes they were combat ineffective. Their only goals were simply to survive and try to stay as comfortable as they could until the evolution was over and the pain ended.

Being a leader is not easy, whether on the field of combat or in the home. We cannot let our circumstances dictate our game plan. We must constantly be able to lift ourselves from the trenches of the immediate fight to be able to look at the big picture and make sure we are still moving in the right direction.

Thus, we arrive at our question, what is the right direction, or how do we define the “win”? Defining the win in combat can be a little easier. When our boots are occupying the ground that we want to occupy and the enemy can no longer resist us, we have won the battle. In the home success can be a little more challenging to quantify.

My question to you men is have you even considered what the “win” is? If you are married, you are a leader in your marriage. If you are a father, you are a leader to your children. The question comes down to where are you leading your spouse and your family. Remember, the goal is not to the survive the battle, but to win the battle.

Now the temptation is for me to define the win for you by providing a list of bullet points for you to follow or pursue. What I will do is develop what this looks like for me in the coming weeks. I want to leave this with each of you to consider in your own marriages and families, but before I do, two final thoughts.

First, what about God’s grace? Yes, God’s grace is both necessary and sufficient for us because we are weak and far from perfect. (2 Cor 12:9) However, we should never presume upon God’s grace. In other words, God’s grace is neither a license for us to continue in sin nor an excuse for us to shirk our duties as the leaders of our marriages and families. God has given you a wife and perhaps children. They technically still belong to Him, but He has entrusted them to you as a steward. You will one day give an account of everything you did and failed to do as a husband and father.

Second, do not let the analogy here fool you. We are engaged in a very real battle and at stake are the very souls of our wives and children. While we may be lulled unintentionally into a reactive mode, the enemy is hard at work, and he is very intentional. Todd Starnes wrote an article in 2017 about the reaction to catholic schools in Canada refusing to allow a play to be performed for children as young as five years old. The play is entitled “Boys, Girls, and other Mythological Creatures,” and features an eight-year-old cross-dresser who is struggling with gender identity. The enemy very much understands how valuable the early years are in influencing the worldviews of our children. We do not have the luxury of time to waste.

So, husband, what is the win in your marriage? Father, what is the win for your children? I urge you to think about it, pray about it, and write it out.