Don't Be Distant
Life is so short, son. We never know how much time we have, or don't. I believe it's important to recognize the brevity of life; with this in view, our vision is sharper, our choices are smarter, and we as men are more alert. While this may not be on the front of your mind, it is for me. The life span in front of me is much shorter than that which is behind me.
This being the case, I think about you and the decisions you make more with every passing day. Mostly because I know you and I will have seasons, we feel distant from each other. I hope this is never true, but this is sure to happen. And when it does, I want you to know that there are things I hope you stay close to in this period of distance.
Be Distant From The World But Not God
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.—1 John 2:15-17
These words are rich. To abide in the Father's will is to live in obedience. This has been my goal since I decided to go all-in for Jesus Christ in my 20's. I have not turned back while along the way, there have been many temptations.
You will encounter great temptations in life to love the things of this world and all of its pursuits. And the writer above is spot on, physical desires, visual desires, and acquiring possessions are chief temptations for men. If you pursue these things, you will soon learn that they will all let you down. There is nothing but disappointment on the other side of each. Will they provide temporary satisfaction—yes. But it is a satisfaction that will only last a moment.
More than anything, it would be my great joy to see you find walk a path of lifelong obedience. To honoring God with all you are, for then I know, regardless of your feelings for me now, that our heavenly home will be one for both of us. A home in which we will abide forever with a God who will love us forever. Pursue him with all your desire, and the blessings will be astounding.
Be Distant From Scoffing But Not Instruction
A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.—Proverbs 13:1
There are moments at present you may ridicule me, but as you age, some things we have debated will bother you. They come back like a boomerang when you least expect it. I know I was not anticipating this myself as a son, for even my unbelieving parents had some wisdom that sometimes troubles me when I least expect it.
My encouragement to you is to be wise and hear—really hear the heart of my voice for you. I know there are times you are impatient with my instruction, or you turn a deaf ear to it, but to listen now only benefits you down the road. Listening now, even when you do not agree, or like the way I say it builds endurance and wisdom. It would help if you learned to handle a rebuke and accept a definite "no" once in a while. Not everything can be a yes, and the discipline of a "no" and learning to accept it is a means to understanding the value of submission not only to me but also to God.
Be Distant From Foolishness But Not From Wisdom
My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.—Proverbs 23:15
I pray for you often. But my prayers as of late have turned to the spirit within you. I am praying more and more that your heart, soul, and mind would be overcome with a Spirit of God that would guide you into wisdom. In the past, when I witnessed your folly, I would long for you to make better choices, but this has changed. No longer am I seeking compliance a but instead that God would get a hold of you at the core, and that wisdom, not folly, would become your lifelong pursuit.
This is what brings a father joy—a son who craves godly wisdom. This is my new prayer for you. It's the one I prayed for you today. For I know that if your heart pursues wisdom, then whether I am here or gone, your choices will be wise, and I will always be glad.
I love you, son, Dad.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.