There is nothing like a rousing call to arms — a speech delivered prior to a legendary battle that motivates ordinary men to become extraordinary warriors.
We see them in films such as Braveheart, Gladiator, Henry V and countless war movies.
Somehow, a great leader is able to find the way challenge men to take risky, life-threatening action against their foes. He can stir their hearts and tap into the valor and honor that lies deep within them.
There’s William Wallace — depicted in the Oscar-winning film Braveheart — galvanizing the rag-tag “soldiers” of Scotland to rise to the occasion against all odds with an epic speech before the Battle of Stirling.
There’s Maximus — depicted in another Oscar-winning film, Gladiator — saying, simply: “What we do in life echoes in eternity,” to rally his men before the opening battle of that film.
And Shakespeare pens the brilliant St. Crispin’s Day speech, which Henry delivers.
In those films, we understand the necessity of each leader’s full-throated call which challenges men to take action and move forward into the battle. The situations in each of those films call for bravery. Men must step to the fore. The speeches make sense to us when we watch these films.
What makes far less sense to most people is that those speeches are needed in everyday real life. Seriously.
Men need those speeches each day. The reason is simple: we live in a war. And everyday The Enemy assaults us.
We awake each morning to the equivalent of England’s Northern Army — with its armored horses — arrayed against us, just as those troops were amassed on the fields of Stirling in Braveheart.
This is especially true when it comes to the sexual temptation prevalent in our pornified society. The magazine covers in the grocery store checkout line. Internet banner ads. Sexually related stories in our news feeds. Sexual topics in our television shows, even in the so-called family hours. Sex in our films. Sex in our music. Pornography’s influence is undeniable.
For those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, we have to admit that in many ways we have simply capitulated to our pornified culture, despite the call to no longer conform to the pattern of this world (Rom.12:2).
We live in war, but we have forgotten that. As Christians, we have de-emphasized the reality of spiritual conflict and the work of our Adversary, which has resulted in complacency.
We don’t want to deal with the reality of the spiritual battle, so we act as though it doesn’t exist.
This is a tragic mistake.
We must crucify our flesh (Gal.5:24). We must put on the armor of God to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:10-18). We must wage war with God’s divinely powerful weapons for the destruction of fortresses (2 Cor. 10:3-5). When we fight for the right things, something within us is strengthened because we are made the image of warrior God (Ex. 15:3).
We experience the power of acting out our true purpose as warriors. We are actually designed, especially men, to fight the battles that truly matter. This is what it means to bear God’s image as a man.
As Wallace asks in his speech at Stirling: “Will you fight?”