This week we are continuing our Man Up series by sharing how men can safeguard their lives and leadership. The truth is, we live in a world full of moral failures. God created men to live with integrity and be protectors of their families, of their wives and children. However, our generation is full of men who started out well, but were brought down by scandal. So how do you safeguard your life from compromise?
Men - we want to encourage you and give you practical tips to help you live what the Bible calls "above reproach". 1 Timothy 3:2 says "So a leader must be a person whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation." Living above reproach doesn't mean you're perfect, but it means you take precautions. It means you are intentional about the boundaries you set.
Today, we are sharing 4 fences every man needs to set in his life. Fences simply refer to a barrier that you put up to protect those you love. Fences are behavioral boundaries intentionally established to safeguard your integrity, your family, and your leadership.
1: PRIVATE FENCE
The first barrier is the private fence. What this means is you never meet in private situations with women who are not your wife. As an example, evangelist Billy Graham would never ride an elevator alone with a woman who was not his wife. Not because he didn't trust women, but because he wanted to live above reproach - free from accusation, misinterpretation, or compromise as a man of God.
If you're a small group leader, maybe a fence you put up is that you don't go out for private meals or coffee one-on-ones with women. At work, you meet in public spaces and never in windowless rooms. These boundaries are meant to help you honor God by prioritizing character above convenience. If you are married, this fence can be a huge blessing to your wife - to provide her with peace of mind and to help her feel like your marriage is being protected.
2: PUBLIC FENCE
The next fence, and this is particularly helpful for the married men, is to set up a public fence. That means you speak often of your affection for your spouse in public, whether she is present or not. You elevate your marriage and family in a public way to coworkers and friends so people understand that your commitment to your family comes first.
In Song of Songs 2:4 King Solomon's wife says, "He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love." Married men, let your banner over your wife be love. Fly the flag of public praise to help your wife feel protected, cherished, esteemed and secure.
3: FILTER FENCE
The third fence we recommend: Beware of what's called 'secondary gains' when meeting with the opposite sex. There is a primary reason you work or meet with others. But think about the shadow side of leadership, the benefit to your ego lurking in the background. Do you seek praise and affirmation from the opposite sex?
The truth is, affairs rarely begin with physical contact, but rather emotional connection. A filter fence will help you avoid emotional entanglement. For example, commit to never discussing intimate issues or personal problems with the opposite sex in work or leadership.
To help you filter, there are three tests you can use for your heart and motives. First, the sibling test - never say or do anything to a women that you wouldn't do or say to your sister. Next is the secret test - never share a secret with a coworker or friend that you would withhold from your spouse. If you're single, you need a band of brothers - other men you can be honest with and share accountability. Last is the screen test - imagine your private communications were projected up on a giant screen in front of your family. Would you be panicking? Cruising the internet without a filter or accountability is like what Proverbs 6:27 refers to as "scooping a fire into your lap."
4: FRIENDSHIP FENCE
Last but not least, the fourth safeguard to embrace is the friendship fence. Do you have male friends whom you can confide in and who can hold you accountable? Real men are team players. You weren't created to be a lone wolf. As a Christian man, you need a group of guys who are committed to Christ and to each other. This boundary is all about building community and inviting other men into your life. Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Community helps sharpen and grow you spiritually.
These fences are meant to help men find freedom - to keep your life and ministry and leadership above reproach. So, what fences do you currently have in place? Where is your weakest link? Which fence is God nudging you to fix this Summer? Men, take your next step to prioritize these boundaries to help safeguard your life and leadership this Summer.
For additional, related content from Liquid Church, check out the resources below:
- MESSAGE: For the full message from Liquid Church's Man Up Series Part 3, click here.
- MEN'S WORKDAY & BBQ: On Saturday, June 25th, Liquid Church is hosting a Workday & BBQ for men at our Morris County Campus in Parsippany, NJ! Invite a friend and rsvp at LiquidChurch.com/WorkDay.
- LIQUID MEN'S COMMUNITY: The vision for the Liquid Men’s Community is to provide quarterly opportunities for men across New Jersey to gather as we each grow in relationship with God. To learn more and get involved, visit LiquidChurch.com/Men.