SUMMARY: As men face battles in life, we often are confronted by worldly aggressiveness. In the face of these spiritual attacks, we may be tempted to run, when sometimes we are called to lean into the fears we have. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller interviews Dr. Greg Bourgond, author of “A Rattling of Sabers” and president of Heart Of A Warrior Ministries on the fears that men face and how to battle with them as a man of God.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Podcast. Where we make men better. I am Vince Miller, your host. And today we’re in a series we have entitled, “Preparing for the battle.” And today we’re discussing the topic of leaning into our fears.
Men welcome back to the program. If this is your very first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Resolute exists to make men better because we know men today face unique challenges in their quest for Godly manhood. Therefore we desire to help men grow, by providing them with a spiritual game plan that will launch them toward being better men, fathers, husbands, and leaders. Because we believe when you make just one man better – everyone gets better.
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Well, today I’m joined by Doctor Greg Bourgond. He is president and founder of Heart of the Warrior Ministries. He holds previous leadership experience, including 10 years in the defense industry. And over 18 years in a variety of ministry positions throughout the country. Greg serves as a consultant and teacher in the specific areas of leadership formation and personal spiritual development. He’s got an incredible heart for men, and men’s ministry. We’re excited to have him with us today. He has authored the book, “A Rattling of Sabers.” So Greg, welcome to the show.
Greg: Well it’s good to be here. Been an admirer Resolute, your ministry for a long time.
Vince: Oh thanks, thanks so much. Well, I want to dive into this, because I – I really enjoyed your book, “A Rattling of Sabers.” I just thought it – it really captured the heart of a man. It had some powerful symbols in it. And the very first one Greg, that clearly is the – kind of the pinnacle or the focus of the book – is this idea of rattling of sabers. Tell me a little bit about that imagery. Because it was so picturesque as you were describing the battle that a man of God fights.
Greg: Rattling of Sabers is not a new concept. It’s been around for centuries. Enemies would beat their shields, or they’d cry out, or they’d make all kinds of noise trying to intimidate the people that they were going to engage in battle in – in hopes of deterring them from actually engaging. Putting their fear into them, so that they would be unwilling to go ahead and do what they needed to do.
And so it’s – it’s a – it’s an idea about a battlefield that every man is called to. And he knows it’s an important one when he hears the rattling of sabers. Which is the enemy trying to deter him from engaging the purpose God’s given that man to engage. Generally, God has given every man a passion, and a passion either has to do with a people group he’s called you to serve or a cause he’s called you to embrace. So when we hear the rattling of sabers, it should draw us to the battle, not deter us from the battle.
Vince: So I’m – what I’m hearing you say then is that there are some things in this world that we hear as men, that deter us from engaging in the battle. Now, what are some of those things? Because I know – of course, I’ve read your book. So I know what some of those things are. But I – I just thought the picture of a sound or a word or a phrase or of marketing – that creates fear in a man’s heart, is so true. And it’s so hard to capture that – this idea of this rattling of sabers. Really unnerves a man. What are some of the examples of this? What does this look like in real life?
Greg: Well in the world there are, there are all kinds of battles that are being waged. The pervasiveness of evil, which we find everywhere. You hear the rattling of sabers about that. The growing intensity of evil. The unabated sin and it’s many manifestations, the indiscriminate butchery of innocents. Fatherless children. All of these different battlefronts are places where the enemy wants to deter us from engaging. Because the last thing he wants is to engage a formidable foe. The last thing he wants is transformational change.
So these – these battlefields are all around us. And we have to make a decision which we’ll engage, and which we will not engage. What hills are we prepared to die on? What hills God’s called us to bleed on? Or what hills he’s not called us to climb at all, because they’re somebody else’s hill to die on? Somebody else’s hill to bleed on.
Vince: That helps me a little bit. So this – this– The rattling of sabers in this image here, it’s something that we probably experience on a daily basis as we come into things that are counter to the gospel, or counter to God’s word – that are tempting us not to, not to engage. Not to get in the game. Not to get in the battle. And they exude – I love the image of sound by the way. Because I think it – it gets at the entangles of what’s going on in our heart. We don’t step into it because we’re afraid. And I – I have heard you suggest that some of this have to do with evil, right?
Vince: Okay, so – so tell us a little bit about that. What does – what does the rattling of sabers have to do with evil?
Greg: Evil is all around us. Evil is something that happened in the Garden of Eden, and it actually happened before that with the fallen angels. And so evil cannot manifest itself like a cloud, it must find a host. The host is either a human being or any created being – an angel for instance. And so consequently – when you combine a lot of people in a general location wherever a conflict may be arising, then you have an expanse of that evil. And the din, the noise gets louder. The closer you get to the battle, the louder the noise becomes.
So it’s – it’s based on kind of the concept that God has created men for 3 purposes – a cause to die for, a challenge to embrace, and loved ones to protect. Every man I know wants to be a part of something larger than himself. So when he hears that – that din, that noise, that rattling of sabers – there’s lots of emotions going on inside him that moves him viscerally to want to engage in the midst of their fear.
A friend of mine, Erwin McManus wants to find courage as not the absence of fear, but the absence of self. Which means that you don’t engage the battle without fear, but you set it aside for a higher cause. So it might be that cause to die for, it might be that challenge to embrace. It might be those loved ones to protect. And it may be the uncared for, the unwanted, the under-represented, the unloved that God is calling us to serve. But the enemy is going to be right there. And we’ll hear the din, we’ll hear the noise of the rattling of sabers.
Vince: Okay so now – now you’ve captured, really captured my attention. Because I know that I experience that all the time. And while you’re talking a little bit about a battle metaphor, I hear you saying that we come against evil. We experience fear. We have to decide if we’re going to engage. And in that moment it’s trying to figure out if we’re going to step into it courageously and trust God, or not. Now I know – because I have led many groups, just like you. You’ve led tons of groups of men. There are moments in our groups where you can see the fear in a man’s eyes, right?
Vince: And it’s fear about things that you talk about in your book for instance. Like political correctness, right? There are moments of fear that we have as Christian men. To stand our ground on what is right, and what is maybe politically correct, right? And that’s a rattling of sabers, right?
Greg: Correct. When I go ahead and do an orientation for one of my groups, I paint a very clear picture of what they can expect. I let them know that when a man decides he’s going to engage the enemy for the cause of Christ, he puts a target on his back. And that target is a fearful prospect. Nobody likes getting a shot at. But the idea is, I told– I tell them. I said, “Don’t fear the target, embrace it.” Because the enemy never attacks anyone he’s not fearful of.
Greg: And so, wear it as a badge of honor. And so when God has called you to your battlefield when you hear the rattling of sabers – when the fear wells up inside of you, but there’s energy there – because that’s how God’s word meant, to want to engage the battle. Lean into that fear and engage it for the cause of Christ. Because you’re not in that battle alone. You’re not fighting it alone. The spirit of God is with you. He’s called you to that battle front. He will not abandon you in the midst of the battle.
Vince: Okay, so I was really inspired by what you said there. Because I’m – as I’m hearing you say that, I’m sitting next to you right now. And I – all of a sudden, I had this moment where I felt like, “Okay, I’m with Greg right now. And I’m sitting by his side, and I know that I don’t have to be afraid of something.” Because I can turn to my brother Greg, who’s battling at my side. And he can be a voice of reason about what I need to engage. Whether it be a conflict at home, an issue at work. A sin issue that I’m engaging, right? I mean, in– A flurry of other items. I mean, it’s limitless. Every guy faces it. And what I hear you saying is, “Lean into that fear a little bit.” Do men back down from this often, from your perspective?
Greg: Well they – they’re tempted on occasion to turn and run. But when they recognize there are other men around him that are willing to go ahead and defend him when he’s down. To protect him until he’s able to stand again. To make sure that he’s not going to be defeated by the enemy alone. That there’ll always be other men by his side that are going to go ahead and – and stand in the– In defense of him. Until he’s ready to rise again.
Because the battles are going to wage. I mean, we know how the war’s going to end. Scripturally we know that God wins. But there are going to be battles and skirmishes we have to fight. Clean up work we have to do in anticipation of his coming. And so those are the battles. Those are the skirmishes we’re called to embrace. But we don’t do it alone. No man can do it alone.
Vince: So I hear, I hear clearly your call to action today. It’s that when we experience a fear, to not on occasion run. To lean in, to understand, to embrace. Because there is a rattling of sabers on one side, but there’s – there’s bigger stuff happening on our side.
Greg: I mean God is on your side.
Greg: And so you’re not going in there defenseless.
Greg: So, so many times when I’m – I’m talking to men about preparing for the battle – I tell them God has set a– Armor aside for you, that only fits you. We may all have the same components of armor, but they fit us differently. But you just can’t go into battle after slapping on armor without training. And so you learn how to fight in that armor. And that’s what helps to defend you too.
So the idea is – not only are you going into the battle with others, but God has equipped you with armor to go ahead and defend yourself – even in the midst of that adrenaline rush. Of engaging the enemy. The fear that you feel, but you’re being compelled to keep moving on for the cause of Christ. Because there’s so much at stake. You take a look at fatherless children. You take a look at widows. You take a look at all kinds of causes and people groups that are suffering under the weight of the enemy’s influence. And they need our help, and that’s what God’s called us to be and do. To engage the enemy, and to do the work of Christ.
Vince: Well I have my call today, Greg. And I definitely say that that is – I need to lean into some of my own fears, and the things that I’m concerned about. I need to find a brother to do it with me. And I need to understand that there is a great God standing behind me. Running with me into battle. Joyful that I am taking a step of faith. Well thanks for being with us. Again, Greg – I look forward to the next few episodes with you too.
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Well, guys, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast today, but please note that the time that we spent today together is worthless unless you act on it. So do something today. By getting off the bench, and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time for another edition of the Resolute Podcast.