Chivalry Wins

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. I Corinthians 16:13-14

Okay men, here’s the good news…chivalry still gets style points! In a world where the distinctive line blurs between male/female, women still love their men to be manly. The plain truth is that women and men need the seasoning each gender brings to the table. We are completely equal and yet totally different. Real men love to have their life flavored by a good woman. And women need their man to be THE man - it’s a required spice of life, just ask most women. 

There is a "code of conduct” that became popular as the Titanic was sinking into deadly waters. The mad scramble on its listing decks was to get as many women and children into life rafts as was possible. The code is branded into history - “Women and Children First”! This code of conduct that played out on that fateful night of April 14, 1912 is what makes the story epic. Imagine if it was “each man for himself” or “each man did what was right in his own eyes”. This would just be another tragic watery grave of shame. But the Titanic lives on because of heroism, valor and chivalry, more than almost any other reason.

This code has roots that reach back thousands of years. The code of chivalry and respect for women and children was cooked up by God himself. It’s the rightful order of things. And when we get the order out of whack, we lose a wonderful story and gain only shame. We need a revival of the code. And that revival needs to begin with you - soon you’ll have an epic tale that someone else will tell.

Here's a few key steps you can take today to reclaim Christ-like Chivalry:

  • Be a man of God. This sounds mountainous but it's the choice to set down self-will and be God's man, today. Stu Weber coined the phrase Tender Warrior and that captures the heart of true man of God. We aren't called to be soft but to be tender – as tender as our Savior. We also can't be passive. Passivity is a result of the fall but Jesus placed his Spirit in us and we can bravely stand as warriors who reject passivity and take responsibility. 
  • Be an initiator not a responder. You don't have to be a Type A guy to initiate. Some of God's greatest men are quiet but they step up and step out, not waiting for prodding or poking. But this initiation can only be done in response to prayerful surrender to Jesus and submitting to his calling. As a disciple of Christ we listen to the voice of God and move when he calls. Faithful men fail forward and no one faults a man who follows the leading of God.
  • Be a learner. Chivalrous men are learning men. We learn from other men, women, and people who we meet in those God moments of life. But the greatest men on this earth have someone bigger than themselves or others to give them direction – God alone! And men who are learners lean into God's word because they've seen the folly of flying by the seat of their pants. 

Chivalry still gets style points today. Rack the points moment by moment and day by day. Go get a win...God is cheering for you!

Pure Chivalry

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. I Corinthians 16:13-14

Okay men, here’s the good news…chivalry still gets style points! In a world where the distinctive line blurs between male/female, women still love their men to be manly. The plain truth is that women and men need the seasoning each gender brings to the table. We are completely equal and yet totally different. Real men love to have their life flavored by a good woman. And women need their man to be THE man - it’s a required spice of life, just ask most women. 

There is a "code of conduct” that became popular as the Titanic was sinking into deadly waters. The mad scramble on its listing decks was to get as many women and children into life rafts as was possible. The code is branded into history - “Women and Children First”! This code of conduct that played out on that fateful night of April 14, 1912 is what makes the story epic. Imagine if it was “each man for himself” or “each man did what was right in his own eyes”. This would just be another tragic watery grave of shame. But the Titanic lives on because of heroism, valor and chivalry, more than almost any other reason.

This code has roots that reach back thousands of years. The code of chivalry and respect for women and children was cooked up by God himself. It’s the rightful order of things. And when we get the order out of whack, we lose a wonderful story and gain only shame. We need a revival of the code. And that revival needs to begin with you - soon you’ll have an epic tale that someone else will tell.

Here's a few key steps you can take today to reclaim Christ-like Chivalry:

  • Be a man of God. This sounds mountainous but it's the choice to set down self-will and be God's man, today. Stu Weber coined the phrase Tender Warrior and that captures the heart of true man of God. We aren't called to be soft but to be tender – as tender as our Savior. We also can't be passive. Passivity is a result of the fall but Jesus placed his Spirit in us and we can bravely stand as warriors who reject passivity and take responsibility. 
  • Be an initiator not a responder. You don't have to be a Type A guy to initiate. Some of God's greatest men are quiet but they step up and step out, not waiting for prodding or poking. But this initiation can only be done in response to prayerful surrender to Jesus and submitting to his calling. As a disciple of Christ we listen to the voice of God and move when he calls. Faithful men fail forward and no one faults a man who follows the leading of God.
  • Be a learner. Chivalrous men are learning men. We learn from other men, women, and people who we meet in those God moments of life. But the greatest men on this earth have someone bigger than themselves or others to give them direction – God alone! And men who are learners lean into God's word because they've seen the folly of flying by the seat of their pants. 

Chivalry still gets style points today. Rack the points moment by moment and day by day. Go get a win...God is cheering for you!

The Code part B - "Keep It"

Nuturing and care aren't traits that are reserved for woman only. Manhood is never lost in caring for that which God entrusts to a man, manhood is proven by caring for what God has given us, more than just consuming what we can get. The payoff for all men is in the "keeping" of what we've busted our tail to work for. Whatever we hunt, gather, or just plain worked hard to receive, must be closely followed by a passion to never loss it and to actually grow it...nurture it. This is the secret for blessed men, this is how great men are built to last. We're more than marauders who travel through life consuming all we can. Chivalry and chivalrous men know The Code. Real men "work it" and "keep it".

To "keep it" is so much more than holding onto to what you've worked for. This is about carefully and watchfully caring for what you've gained. Most of us men are better at hunting and gathering than we are at cultivating and nuturing that which we've worked for. Don't beat yourself up. Because of our propensity to miss the mark, lack of role models and the constant temptation to take short cuts, we have a battle on our hands. This “keep it” pat of The Code is the high bar and calling of man that requires power beyond ourselves. Bootstrapping and will power won't cut it. But to keep what we’ve worked for is where the huge payoff begins. A woman needs and deserves a man who will lay down his life and invest some sweat equity in "keeping" the woman God has entrusted to him. 

Men, we can work hard to date, woo, and walk our woman to the alter of marriage, but the real jazz of life is in the caring and cultivating of that relationship for a lifetime. Almost any man can go get a bride, but it's a real man who can sacrifice daily and cause his bride to feel that love surrounding her–that man wins big.

Four Big Don'ts

  • Don’t settle into false macho, love is more than an event of conquest.
  • Don’t make empty promises, do everything to be a man of your word.
  • Don’t play the blame game, look at our own life because that we can control.
  • Don’t buy a lie that your marriage can’t get better, God can do anything, and he wants to use you!

Gen. 2:15

Man In The Mirror

It’s a tragedy that men have settled for so little when God offers us so much. The goal is not some brutish bravado, it’s to take hold of a biblical manhood that is humble, teachable and yet untamable–yes, all three must co-exist. But men have been tamed and this modern taming isn’t for the better. We’ve traded in masculine tenderness for softness. We’ve walked away from wonder and adventure and opted for what’s safe and predictable. And too many men have stopped being bold initiators–we’ve settled for being timid responders. Greatness is still calling out for men who will dare to believe that God can turn us from ordinary to extraordinary. And the first turn we must make it to the one who can show us what we’ve become. 

So let’s get honest about manhood, love and marriage. Real men, I’m talking about chivalrous men, have the courage to see themselves as they truly are. They give all praise to God for the good that comes out of them, and beg God for the grace and power to change what is needed. The best way for a man to see himself is in the mirror of God’s truth. Natural man flinches at the point of reflection, but real men belly up to the bar of truth and say, “okay, let me see what’s really going on here”. Finger pointing, a victim mentality, and even the busyness of being a rescuer are all put on hold when we look intently into who we are and not forgetting what we have seen. The promise is amazing, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Now that's promise with some punch.

The tendency for most of us is to veer clear of anything that could threaten our manhood. But God never reveals anything to us out of retribution; rather, it’s compassion and the prospect of real life change that compels God to show us the truth. This is where winners are born (or reborn). It’s at this place of brutal honesty that we have a chance to become the man God always destined us to be. Men who can’t look into a mirror of truth are doomed to live a lie. But the great escape from status quo can begin to happen as we muster the courage to see things as they really are. And courage to face the truth is always rewarded by the favor of God. The greatest gifts from God slip in from the shadows when we courageously stand in the light. The invitation by God to face up to the truth is always followed by a vision–in this case, a vision for great manhood.

James 1:25

Behind 3 Doors (part 3)

Door #3 Captivating

When we’re unwilling to settle for less than God’s best in marriage, we have something attractive and enchanting. Captivating marriages aren’t without challenges or flaws, but they don’t let any challenges or flaws crush them or become a crisis. Captivating leaves room for uniqueness inside marriage and the uniqueness of any given marriage. If you resist a cookie cutter mold for a good marriage you’ll love God’s principles for captivating marriages. Captivating marriages cast a vision of what God always intended. 

Chivalry plays a huge part in a captivating marriage and man who initiates toward his wife is marking a path to a captivating marriage. So we need to imagine what could be if we settled for nothing less than door number three.

  • We must give children a vision to believe in. The cries of fatherless children are growing louder. Only captivating marriages can offer a solution to the crisis of fatherlessness and the crushing effects of divorce.
  • We must leave a legacy that tells a story of running for victory. The staggeringly low statistics of joy in marriage are undermining the institution of marriage. It’s time to captivate the imagination of the next generation with a compelling marriage.
  • We must enjoy the freedom and shameless intimacy that God intended. The amount of people who are seized up with fear, shame and bitterness is truly sad. God invites us out of the shadows of isolation and into the hope of true love.

This is no pipe dream. God doesn’t do bait and switch. We can have a captivating marriage. But if it’s true that behind every great man is a great woman, you can bet your bottom buck that that great man is a chivalrous man. Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just been crushed in our culture and lost in crisis…now it’s your turn to bring chivalry back to life.

Proverbs 5:18-19  

Chivalry: Part 12 - First Hope

“All things are possible…"

"Keep looking up.” “It’s not over till it’s over.” “All things are possible…” These aren’t empty words, these are the mantra’s of people who believe in a gracious and good God–a God of hope and possibility. And what a gift to give away, the gift of seeing the God of hope who greets us with new mercy each new day. This world is starving for hope and there's no better person to offer trays of hope, than to our wife. When a man initiates hope into his marriage, it can dramatically change things. When a husband looks at his wife while they both face a crisis and says, “honey, we serve a God who is bigger than our impossibilities”, hope begins to grow. Chivalry speaks into his wife’s heart the very words Jesus spoke to a person who was struggling with belief, “all things are possible”. Real men look to be the one who offers "first hope”.

Jesus made a habit of breathing words of hope into people with questions or despair. He gave courage and confidence to the disenfranchised, the discouraged, and the displaced. Jesus is our model, men. It’s the life of Christ that is our template for how to love our wife, and Jesus constantly served up hope. We can do this, men. And when our focus is on what’s possible rather than what seems impossible, we join Christ in a message of redemption, hope and real change. One closely held secret of great marriages is that they offer each other more encouragement than correction. Our bride lives in a world that drips with negativity, comparison, and judgment. We can be for our wife a voice that is the first to offer hope.

Now, we don’t need to be a type “A” personality or change a thing about how God designed us. But all of us can choose to offer hope. And there are specific areas that we can speak hope into, that even her best friends can’t touch.

How She Sees Herself - Even the most confident women are bombarded with false accusations and shame. There’re recordings and images running through our wife’s mind that must be sliced up, beaten down and kicked out. When we take the time to speak truth, hope and possibility into our bride’s heart and mind, we’re in our finest warrior posture.  

How Others See Her - This battle never goes away because people are here to stay. We tend to bump into each other and splash stuff that needs to be cleaned up. Often times relational challenges can push our woman, just like us, into a hole. But we have the privilege to “hope” her out. Yes, hope, truth and simple words of encouragement can help our wife from getting eaten alive.

How we see her -  Men, we’re our wife's backstop. I’ve come to believe that God hard wired women for multiple tasks because they have multiple tasks. When life is coming at her a few things can slip past. This is when we step in. When a man rehearses for his wife all the things he sees that didn’t get dropped and all the ways she’s kicking proverbial tail, it brings light and life into her heart. 

Chivalry is still all the rage. And a man who offers first hope is first among equals.

 

Chivalry: Part 6 - It's Time

When men are in full dating mode we have an unusual capacity to think strategically, listen intently, and even act creatively. It’s amazing the laser focus we have when we’re stalking (in the dating sense of the word) our woman. We haven’t lost it men. We still have it. But some dust may have collected on the hunting gear. Yes, we tracked our woman down, pulled all the levers, reeled her in, and took our bride home. And then we made a big mistake. We quite chasing her and she’s been wondering what happened to that guy who had all the right stuff. But we still have it men, and your woman needs to see it. It’s time!

But let’s get real. I believe it’s far tougher to care for our woman than it was to court her. The real work begins when the element of surprise is long gone. When she knows all our moves we have just one thing left to do. Go first. Take the lead each day into the uncharted territory of a life adventure. You don’t have to put your best foot forward, just put any foot forward. Yes, real men go first and when we do, something happens. The fires of intimacy begin to grow again. The courage displayed by stepping into what you don’t fully know or understand, will be rewarded by the woman you love. Any floundering or stumbling will be cheered by her. She’ll soon be thinking, “he’s moving…that’s my man”. Your woman is about to get turned on, and even the toughest marriages can get turned around. This isn’t a pipe dream, it’s real and it’s time.

This isn’t a time to check out, it’s time to step out. It’s time to taste and see how good God really is when we put a foot forward into the path of our calling. It’s time for men to celebrate the total equality of his woman and yet champion our unique differences. It’s time for courage to be seen, tenderness to be felt, and confidence in our God to be put on display. It’s time. And remember this as you consider your next move. Chivalry still gets style points. Real men go first!

Chivalry: Part 5 - First Doesn't Mean Best

Some of us men get stuck in marital paralysis. We know in the core of our being that passivity is something we must reject, but we resist stepping out for fear of failure. Somewhere we bought the lie that we have to master something before we can try something. We think that going first means we need to be the best. But sometimes just being first is the best. Let me give you a classic example.

Women love men who pray with them. It’s powerfully intimate for a man to slide alongside his wife and say “Hey babe, let me pray for us today.” But even the thought of that can cause most men to go weak in the knees. We’d rather kill an entire “honey do” list, or not watch sports for a year, than lead in prayer. And there’s good reasons: We know that she knows our underbelly so this prayer could open the door for her to put my failings in my face. And there’s also a good chance I'll run out of words before a complete sentence is formed. All of that could be happen, but there’s a greater likelihood something amazing will occur. Here’s what we can never forget. A little chivalry covers a multitude of sins. There is more grace from a godly woman who sees her man being courageous than there are sins in our heart. Chivalry scores with a godly woman every time.

Men, we don’t have to be the best. But make an effort to go first and you may well be shocked where this all lands. There’s no rule that we have to initiate in prayer. But the law of love can pull us out of our passivity and the reward will be great. So we may start with a fragmented sentence that is barely intelligible. And she may follow with something that sounds like a sound bite from an epic love story. It just doesn’t matter. First doesn’t mean the best, but when we go first, we’re at our best.

Chivalry: Part 4 - Words Are Optional

Communication is not the average man’s forte. Even great talkers can be at a loss for words. As critical as communication is for a dynamite marriage, words are not always the best way to get our message across. Talk can be cheap, but silence can be golden if it’s mixed with the right kind of action. Most smart men know something intuitively about our dating days. Those cheesy pick-up lines didn't have much lasting impact back then, and now they're just slightly humoring or just annoying. But pick-up that special gift, do that chore, give her a thumbs up with a wink of affirmation, or surprise your wife with her favorite hot drink, just out of the blue, and bingo–it’s a hit! Words are completely optional.

The power of a smile combined with a random act of service is universally appreciated. When somebody grabs that last bag of groceries, brings us our bottle of water on a hot day, or we get outraced to pick up something we just dropped, it means something special–it means someone cares enough to serve. That’s what we’re talking about. It’s the little stuff that makes a big difference. Chivalry isn’t about being THE man, it’s all about being her man. Chivalry isn’t sexist, it sexy. It’s about sending a message to our wife without saying a word. Chivalrous service is saying, “babe, I love you, I care for you, I honor you, I respect you and I just plain enjoy you”, without a word spoken. Now, the goal isn’t silence. The goal is screaming “I love you” in ways that pierce her heart more than anything we can say. But here’s the warning: If you initiate love toward your bride without much chatter, you’ll probably have some ‘splainin' to do. 

Chivalry: Part 3 - Who goes first?

Marriage can’t be treated as a business transaction or a partnership. Sadly, the amount of marriages that languish or fail, rival the amount of businesses that languish or fail. Marriage isn’t a 50/50 relationship with measured parts of contribution. Any "meet you in the middle” agreements will never work. Nobody really knows where the “middle” is, and we always overestimate how far we’ve traveled. We need a new strategy. God knew this would be a problem so he said something real simple but incredibly difficult, “Husbands, loves your wives as Christ loved the church”. In plain terms, “Men go first”. 

The reason headship is so controversial is because it’s either abused or passively neglected. The degree to which it carries any authority, it carries far more responsibility. But servant leadership is beautiful, and gorgeous it can be. When men initiate like Jesus, women have a better environment to respond well. Now, I’m going to recommend a question that is tough for us men to ask. It’s easy to point, deny, explain…et.al. But this is the God sized question: Is there an area of my wife’s life that if I began serving her in, it would radically display my love for her, and thereby deepen our intimacy? I’m not saying that every gap in a wife is tied to her husband, but I am saying that godly men ask a simple question: Am I leading and loving my wife like Christ loves the church? It’s a gut check, but asking ourselves how we’re doing as an initiating man is a great and biblical discipline. 

Chivalry still gets style points. Women still love manly men. Christ initiated in his sacrificial love for the church. So real men go first.

Chivalry: Part 1 - The Code

Okay men, here’s the good news…chivalry still gets style points! In a world where the distinctive line blurs between male/female, women still love their men to be manly. The plain truth is that women and men need the seasoning each gender brings to the table. We are completely equal and yet totally different. Real men love to have their life flavored by a good woman. And women need their man to be THE man - it’s a required spice of life, just ask most women. 

The Code
There is a "code of conduct” that became popular as the Titanic was sinking into deadly waters. The mad scramble on its listing decks was to get as many women and children into life rafts as was possible. The code is branded into history - “Women and Children First”! This code of conduct that played out on that fateful night of April 14, 1912 is what makes the story epic. Imagine if it was “each man for himself” or “each man did what was right in his own eyes”. This would just be another tragic watery grave of shame. But the Titanic lives on because of heroism, valor and chivalry, more than almost any other reason. This code has roots that reach back thousands of years. The code of chivalry and respect for women and children was cooked up by God himself. It’s the rightful order of things. And when we get the order out of wack, we lose a wonderful story and gain only shame. We need a revival of the code. And that revival needs to begin with you - soon you’ll have an epic tale that someone else will tell.