Raising Men Prepared to Stand

Stephen Ashton 2 Comments

Prepare to Stand Your Ground and R.E.S.I.S.T. 

As parents, one of the most important lessons we can teach our sons is to stand firm and be prepared when temptation comes. Ephesians 6 instructs us to, "be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." We are reminded that, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." We are admonished to, "take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand."

We hope the following battle plan Trail Life included in the Promise Keepers Free Man Challenge is helpful to you as a community of men who seek to stand firm amidst a culture of compromise and to raise up a generation of men prepared to do the same.

Prepare to Stand Your Ground:

1. Fill your tank - make regular time to experience God by doing the things he created you to enjoy together: hunt, fish, run, hike, read, paint, cycle, weld, craft, grill, work out … make time for whatever fills your tank and draws you closer to your creator. (Sometimes engaging the family makes this possible and provides a forum to share your relationship with God as you experience him together). 

2. Create appropriate guardrails - take steps to minimize temptations that seek to separate you from experiencing the joy of the Lord which is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) 

3. Find the glory in the ordinary - intentionally seek to glorify God and to “practice the presence of God” in your ordinary daily routine. 

4. Consistently spend intentional time in the word of God and prayer - grow intimacy with God - so that when temptation comes, the Spirit of God can bring to mind the word of God, applying the truth of God to your situation to strengthen and sustain you, that you may stand. (Ephesians 6:13, 2 Corinthians 4:16) 

Then when temptation comes... R.E.S.I.S.T.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7

R - Recognize the Attack
Realize you are under attack. Seek God, pray, ask for strength and wisdom.
(1 Peter 5:8, James 1:2-8, Matthew 6:33, Ephesians 6:12)

E - Identify the Emotion
Identify the emotional target that is being struck. As men we often turn off emotion, but acknowledging the emotion and identifying what is being targeted helps us to apply the truth of God that sets us free from the schemes of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:11)

What am I feeling?
  • Am I overwhelmed, fearful, hurt, angry, lonely, tired, stressed, hungry?
  • Do I feel rejected, disrespected, grieved, ashamed, guilty, inadequate, worried, embarrassed?
  • Is there something else?
  • Is there more than one thing?
  • Is the attack on multiple fronts? 

Define the emotional target being struck. (Psalm 7:9, Proverbs 14:30, Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 41:10)

S - Acknowledge the Source
Our past has a powerful influence on our view of the world. Often the attacks of the evil one stem from hurts in our past for which we have used sin as a means to cope. What is being attacked? What is triggering this emotion and why is it so powerful? What hurts from the past may this be connected to? What lie am I believing? What pain am I numbing with this sin that needs to find strength and fulfillment in Christ?
(Ephesians 6:10)

I - Refuse to Isolate
Too often as men, our temptation is to hide in weakness and run to a fantasy of strength/significance. This can take many forms:  video games, sports addiction, pornography, drinking, drugs, television, or anything that distracts us from glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). That is why scripture commands us to “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).”

Often, the first step on the slippery slope of sin is isolation. Isolation runs from battle and we find ourselves one-on-one against the enemy. Hiding in weakness, we often run to a fantasy of strength that prevents us from acting as men and finding our strength in Christ. Engage with God and with others to fight from a position of strength.

S - Take a Stand - Resting in Truth
Having identified the emotional target, acknowledged the source, and engaged in the battle, pray and ask the Spirit to guide you into truth (John 8:32, 16:13) – Don’t believe the lie you have to fight the battle on your own power. When we strive against temptation to prove ourself to God for our glory, we are living for God’s worship of us. When we rest in the strength of Christ, believe the Truth, and rely on his power, God’s strength is revealed, our lives become an act of worship to God, and God is glorified. Hide in Christ and surrender to his strength and significance.

T - Triumph in Faith
The goal of Satan's attack is to rob us of joy.
What is Satan distracting us from?
What is the opportunity to act in worship and reveal God's Strength that the evil one is blocking with this temptation?
When we believe his lies, we fail to find fulfillment in Christ, seek the truth, seize joy, and triumph in faith.

"In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." - 1 John 5:3-5


For more resources and to access The Promise Keepers Freeman Challenge, visit: 


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About the Author
Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton is the National Director of Marketing for Trail Life USA and serves as an adjunct professor at Clarks Summit University and Anchor Christian University. Prior to his work at Trail Life, he spent 15 years working with at-risk youth in residential therapeutic wilderness programs and served as the Vice-President of the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping Association. An author and a speaker, he has written for journals and published a book chronicling the foundations of therapeutic camping. He frequently speaks on the topics of fatherhood, biblical masculinity, outdoor education, and wilderness therapy. Stephen lives in South Carolina with his wife and 4 sons.

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