“Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”
This line is featured in each of the half-dozen (and counting) Mission Impossible films starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an agent of Impossible Missions Force (IMF). Whenever this line is spoken near the movie’s inciting incident, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and awe-inspiring stunts are soon to follow. With each progressing Mission Impossible film, Cruise continues to push the boundaries of cinematic storytelling, entertaining audiences around the globe with death-defying stunts.
Despite what the silver screen would have us believe, Tom Cruise isn’t a secret agent (at least, as far as we know). For the rest of us, we may never race around the globe to save mankind like Ethan Hunt or sustain g-forces in a fighter jet. However, Christian husbands are given a mission of great importance and eternal value, one requiring faithful resilience.
The Call to Adventure
When Ethan Hunt receives his mission, he is experiencing what storytelling master Joseph Campbell describes as “The Call to Adventure” in his book Hero with a Thousand Faces. This is the moment in a movie or novel when protagonists are given a task that sends them on a reformative journey.
For Christians, this call to adventure happens when we surrender our life to Christ. As husbands, our call to adventure takes place the day we stand at the altar with our bride in front of friends and family. Like a worthy protagonist, once we state our vows, we agree to serve and protect our wives as Jesus Christ loves the Church. This is our mission, and, when we choose to accept it, we are pledging to seek its fulfillment until death.
As Ethan Hunt discovers in the rising stakes of a Mission Impossible film, our vow isn’t always safe from increasing pressures, adversities, and challenges. When we accept the mission to honor God and our wives, we start a lifelong race, one which we are commanded in Hebrews to run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2). As followers of Christ and godly husbands, we are tasked with an incredible responsibility to love our wives and lead our families. This mission requires divine strength and a resilient mindset.
Staying Commited Through the Rough Seasons of Marriage
The Resilient Hero
Ethan Hunt is a great protagonist because he is principled and resilient. No matter how much pressure the villains assert or how dire the circumstances, he fights to preserve life and protect innocent people. When he accepts the mission, he sees the task through to the end.
As husbands, we are given the mission to honor and cherish our wives as Christ loves the Church and “gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25-29). This requires us to stand firm in our principles and be strong in our faith in good times and bad. Resilience is required to nurture and serve our families no matter the circumstances, how we feel, or what external pressures may threaten. The mission of a Christian husband is one of self-sacrifice, one of the most heroic endeavors we will receive in this life.
Biblical manhood requires resilience. To be resilient is to persevere through trials and to never give up. As the ESV translation of 1 Corinthians 16:13 states, Christian men must, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
However, we cannot complete the mission in our own power. When we are tempted to falter or trip, Christ gives us strength to endure. We are never alone in our calling as husbands. With Jesus Christ, we know our resilience will not be in vain.
Audience of One
When filmmakers finish a movie, their art is shown to an audience of thousands or millions of people. The film’s reception and review will determine the filmmakers’ financial and career standing. Even so, commercial reward is fleeting.
Ours is everlasting.
As husbands, we are honored with the opportunity to serve, protect, and love our wives. However, we don’t do this for cinema audiences. We perform our role as husbands for an Audience of One.
Like Tom Cruise, husbands do their own stunts. We love our wives, lead our families, and serve our communities for an Audience whose approval holds eternal weight. When husbands stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will be held accountable for how we have performed and served during our lifetime. As 2 Corinthians 5:9 says, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Since we are going to be held responsible for how we have performed as husbands and servants of Christ, let us take heart, stand firm in the faith, stay strong in our mission, and finish the race with endurance (2 Timothy 4:7-8). If each day we accept the call to adventure and remain resilient, we will please the only Audience who matters, the One who will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). We may not win an Oscar in this life or a trophy for our faithfulness as husbands, but we can be assured we will attain the approval of our Heavenly Father if we do not give up. Our resilience will be rewarded.