The warrior is hardwired into every man. This is true because he is made in the image of God, who is the Great Warrior. Like Father, like son. It is also true because it constitutes a great part of man’s mission here on earth—to join the Great Warrior in his battle against evil. It is this aggressive nature that will enable us to overcome the passivity and paralysis we inherited from Adam. In fact, we are siding with one or the other—the warrior or the paralyzed man—in every decision we make, every day. Encouraging the warrior as it begins to come into full force in a young man’s life will be a great help to him as the years unfold, for you and I know how hard the battle is if we’ve spent years in passivity.
I am not saying every man must join the military, though that is a noble calling; there are many ways for the warrior to emerge. Over the ages the pen has proved mightier than the sword, as the old saying goes. What I am saying is that there is an inherent aggressiveness written in the masculine soul. So it shouldn’t surprise us—though many parents are still a bit unnerved—when you see the warrior emerge in the boy when he is very young. As for the stage of the warrior, I believe it begins in the late teens—about the time we send a young man to war. When God tells Moses to arrange the fleeing slaves into tribes, he has them “number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army” (Num. 1:3 niv). So here it is marked at age twenty, and that seems confirmed in so many revolutions fueled by young men.
The heart of the warrior says, “I will not let evil have its way. There are some things that cannot be endured. I’ve got to do something. There is freedom to be had.” The heart of the warrior says, “I will put myself on the line for you.” That is why it must come before the lover stage, for he will need to do that time and time again in his marriage, and it is passivity that has broken the heart of many women. The warrior nature is fierce, and brave, ready to confront evil, ready to go into battle. This is the time for a young man to stop saying, “Why is life so hard?” He takes the hardness as the call to fight, to rise up, take it on. He learns to “set his face like a flint,” as Jesus had to do to fulfill his life’s great mission (Isa. 50:7).