Category Archives: Blog

Live Beyond The Shame

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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-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

Beyond-Shame-a-blog-by-Vince-Miller

You Are A Part Of Something Big

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You Are A Part Of Something Big

Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.—Dwight L. Moody

Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.—John Calvin.

I think it's essential for you to hear this, but did you know you are a part of something big that some Christians believe is unnecessary. You are a member of a worldwide, and local body of believers called the church. While your personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential, it was never intended to be private. Therefore participation in the body of Christ by joining a local church is not just nice; it's necessary. I often worry about you not attending a local church regularly, and that you might dismiss it as irrelevant. But here are a few reasons I believe it's important and the ways it has blessed me in my journey with Christ.

One | Man Was Created For Relationship

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."—Genesis 1:26

Notice the text above. God creates man us not just in "his" image but in "our" image. The use of the plural personal pronouns "us" and "our" is significant. And just like the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) is in relationship, we were created with the same need, not only for a relationship with God but others.

But you intuitively know this. You would otherwise experience loneliness and aloneness without meaningful relationships. You have been aware of this your whole life. You are reminded of this immense value often—every time someone includes you or leaves you out. Every time a friend comes to rescue or leaves you hanging. Every time a girl takes an interest in you or, in some cases, ignores you. We desire relationship, and we cannot do without it. God sketched it into the very fabric of our being.

Yet the relationships that fill this void have the potential to move us in two directions. Either they move us toward God or away from God. They thus make us better or worse. You have heard these words from me many times, but these two scriptures capture this truth. "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33) And at the same time, here is another important scripture, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

You know both your mother and I have always been concerned about the relationships you have. The reason being is that we know that relationships have great power to either corrupt you or make you sharper. At this point in your life, you get to make your own choices about the friends you will spend your time with, but I hope you'll spend more time with those in the latter category—men, and women, that make you sharper.

Most of my longest-lasting friendships and relationships have been forged in the church. In fact, in the church, I have found lifelong friends whose character, skill, and influence is still having an impact on me. Their voices echo in the chambers of my heart and mind whether or not I still see them regularly—some have passed on, some have moved, and some I still see, but they speak truth to me. And because we have shared in worship and sought God's way together, they have made me the man I am today. This is just one of the many reasons I think it's vital to attend a local church. 

So go to church! Build some friendships and pursue God with others, even when it feels a little awkward for a while.

Two | You Need the Church and The Church Needs You

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.—1 Corinthians 12:17-18

In these verses, Paul, the author, is comparing the church to a body. A living system of people that work together and therefore rely on each other as they rely on God. And while many believe you can be a Christian without going to church, nothing could be further from the truth—the reason being—you are the church!

Choosing not to attend because the church is full of sinful people, you don't like its style, or think it's not necessary to be called a follower of Christ is entirely mistaken. God never intended Christians to function independently from the Christian community. It's simply impossible. This would be like saying you're a soccer player when you don't play on a team. Or suggesting you are a leader when no one is following you.

And here is the great part about being a part of church or body—you need them, and they need you. In reality, the church has gifts and resources that you need, and at the same time, you have gifts and resources that the church needs. Being a part of a body has numerous mutual benefits. Plus, you gather with people that share a common vision, mission, and values regarding life and godliness, and all this results in the biggest reason we go to church—to worship God together. Weekly we gather underneath the Lordship of Jesus Christ and worship him. As the author of Hebrews said, we must "not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25)

Three | Men Need Regular Positive Accountability

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.—Galatians 6:1-2

Accountability is something many men run from simply because we think of it only as something that occurs when we do something wrong. But accountability can be positive as well. It can be something that pushes and drives us to be better men, leaders, husbands, and fathers. I know without positive accountability as a man, I am destined for negative accountability—which is how most men learn through failure. But it doesn't have to be this way. You can be a little more proactive.

You need to start building relationships with some Christian men you trust and with whom you can confide. Men that love Christ and will propel you to be better. They will help you to become the man that God wants you to be and offer you encouragement in the temptations and burdens of life.

While I am present for you now, there will be a day I am not, and I hope that you will always be connected to a church because it's essential to your ongoing growth and faith development. Act upon this immediately, and it will bless your life along our long journey toward our eternal home—together.

I love you, son, Dad.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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You Are Not A Failure | A Letter To My Son

Letter-to-my-Son-Header-by-Vince-Miller

You Are Not A Failure

"Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be "—John Wooden.

"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space."—Johnny Cash

Son, you will fail; this happens. But this does not mean you are a failure. The assumption that "you are a failure" is a powerful and defeating thought that can paralyze a man. It's a recording that sometimes plays in the mind that men struggle to silence. It's one of the five powerful voices I believe all men hear (if you remember my previous letter on this subject). I think this is partially because many men falsely believe that to be a man, we must "man-up" by appearing strong, confident, and courageous, even when we feel weak, confused, and lost. This false belief thus devastates men in moments of failure. Which is why when we fail, we sometimes believe we are a failure.

Please note, experiencing failure and feeling the impact is a good thing for all men. The last thing we need is insensitivity to this pain. Appropriate levels of pain, in the form of regret and guilt, are good for all men. And why? Well, because pain is an indication of pending danger. Insensitivity to pain will only lead to callousness and other, more harmful decisions to self and others. Yet, inflicting needless suffering on ourselves by allowing a failure to convince us that we are a failure is also not helpful. While you and I are both sinners, we are redeemed by Christ and given a new identity as sons of God. Your identity is marked permanently not by your failure but by His grace, and your identity is forever changed. Accepting this is sometimes too good to be true, so it's easy for men to go back to the perpetual failure of the former life and the old yoke of slavery.

"...and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."—Galatians 5:1

As men, we live in this great tension, and here is how I describe it. First, our former identity is marked entirely by sin. In fact, the Bible calls us "sinners." Yes, God's Word is clear; our identities before Christ are marked by perpetual sin. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) So in one sense, and at one time, all men were perpetual failures. We were, (notice the use of the past tense of the verb,) a complete and total failure. Second, yet we also know that "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) And this gift results in us having the opportunity to believe in his name, giving us "the right to become children of God." (John 1:12) Jesus also says, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15) So your identity has changed from sinner to son, from failure to friend. Third, we must choose to live in this new identity as sons and friends. Yet we know, the voice of the past will call to us. In moments of failure, we will be tempted to listen to the voice of the former man and the old identity. It will call to you and say, "I am a failure." Its call will be compelling and clear because only you will hear its voice within your mind. This voice will present evidence to you from your own life to support your incorrect perceptions. Do not doubt my words, son, the courtroom of your mind will offer a convincing case. And yet, the tension between a former identity and your new identity has a present reality. 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.—2 Corinthians 5:21

Think about that and ponder on it for a second—you are the "righteousness of God." Let that set in. That's your identity. You are not a failure. You are instead a son of righteousness

So the next time you fail your response should be to understand the pain, accept it, learn from it, and then before the failure begins to poison your thinking about your identity, bring to mind that Scripture says, you a "son of righteousness" saved by God's grace. You are not a failure. Do not let that thought preach to you, rather let the truth preach to you. And why should you do this? Because the most important thought about you is not what others think about you, what you think about you, but what God thinks about you. This is the only thought that matters.

As you learn to do this, you will discover something about the fails in your life—that God is up to something. That he is working out something magnificent in you every time you fail. He is teaching you to trust more and more in him. Notice what the apostle Paul says about his perpetual failing.

But [God] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.—2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Do you see it? Failure gives way to opportunity—the opportunity to trust less in self and more in God. With failure, we encounter grace, discover perfect power, contentment, and the paradox of strength in weakness. For the man who is strong in himself is not strong; he is only pretending to be strong. Instead, the man who embraces his weakness (through failure) is genuinely strong because he is strong in God.

I love you, son, and remember you are not a failure. Dad.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Sex Porn & Desire | A Letter To My Son

Letter-to-my-Son-Header-by-Vince-Miller

Sex, Porn, & Desire

Son, I have met so many men who are compulsively viewing pornography that I must write this letter. While many of the notes I write to you, I look forward to writing; this one was difficult to write as the subject matter is sexual, and the challenge for men is hard to describe.

You already know much of this, but I think it is essential that you hear it from me, your father—not your friends and not a teacher—but from me, as I see the world through the lens of God's Word. The reality is that most young men have viewed pornography by the age of 13, if not younger. And about 60% of students will use porn to learn more about sex and fill in the gaps in their sex education. And I get it—it's everywhere. But pornography is not an instruction for your sex education, and there are a plethora of reasons why. But in this letter, I want to focus on what I believe is important for you to know.

We have to be honest. Honest with ourselves as men. Men look at porn for five basic reasons, and sometimes for all of them. We desire arousal, education, companionship, entertainment, or we feel pressured by peers. That's it! But this is nothing new. Every man has these desires, but often they don't admit it. I mean, think about it, when is the last time some guy admitted to you that he watches porn to learn more about sex? Or when is the last time a guy confessed to you that he goes to porn because he is in desperate need of companionship? Men don't do that. At least I have never met a man who has, probably because many men have trouble being honest with themselves and even more about the feelings and desires they have. But let's face it, men have these desires. And men turn to porn because it is both a prolific and private delivery system to explore those five things: physical arousal, visual education, fantasy companionship, personal entertainment in moments they feel pressured to participate. So men think, why confess them to another man when I can figure it out on my own? And this thinking is fatal for a follower of Christ. Getting our desires fulfilled in this way, gives our desires to vices that are evil and insidious. We could spend all day talking about the ills of the pornography industry, and yet we would only touch the surface of the depth of the evils. There are better people with which to discuss sex and better ways to understand our male desires.

I believe the best place to go to for a great understanding of this subject is God's Word. And why? God is the designer of man, sex, and desire. And since he is the designer of all this, why not turn to him?

If I were were to pick from only a few verses in the bible on this topic, I would go straight to Jesus's teaching. In the New Testament, Jesus addresses these topics in the greatest sermon ever preached the Sermon on the Mount. Listen to what Jesus says:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.—Matthew 5:27-30

Now stay with me. There are a few things we can learn from this text.

First, Jesus knows that sex is not the issue. Sex is something God created for us, and he wants us to enjoy it, but it should be done in a way that aligns with his moral will. (I am not going to address all that here maybe in another letter). Second, Jesus teaches that the act of adultery, (sex outside of marriage with another woman,) while wrong is not where the line is drawn on biblical infidelity. Third, Jesus teaches that adultery is a manifestation of the core issue. And what is the core issue? It is what Jesus calls the "lustful intent." The core problem is what happens in our hearts before we act. Now please note, the action is wrong, but it's the misguided desire in a man that leads to misdirected action. And we discover that we are perpetually fulfilling our desires our way to feed our selfishness. And all mankind must come to terms with the fact that our desires are perpetually misaligned and we need Jesus Christ, his grace, and His Spirit to redeem, restore, and realign them.

Do you know what real men do—men of God? They understand that the desires of their heart only find the satisfaction they desire in God alone. Men who submit their desires to God and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and daily respond to the conviction of God by redirecting their desires toward something more holy—these men are real men. However, men who are led about by their wild desires controlled by visual stimulation combined with a physical release are not real men. Great men recognize their desires, confess them to trusted brothers, and attempt to find practical ways to find satisfaction in God on a daily basis when those desires, urges, and compulsions arise. If you can start now, while you are still young, to address these desires you may keep yourself from unhealthy compulsions that could lead to a life of relational devastation.

There are three things I want you to hear today, and this is not exhaustive on this subject. First, get to know what triggers your wayward desires. Only you will know this. Is it loneliness? Need for arousal? Desperation to understand? Lack of companionship? A need to fit in? And know the trigger specifically. What triggers my desires will differ from yours, but nonetheless, get to know them. Second, when this trigger strikes decide in advance what you need to do to act in a way that is honoring to God. While the desire is wrong, you do not have to feed the desire with a wrong action. Halt the process. If you act, you will only reward the desire. For example, if in loneliness you go to porn you are rewarding your loneliness. If you couple this with masturbation, you are only feeding the process with a more powerful reward. So decide now what you will do when the ungodly desire arises. Third, feed the desire something more satisfying. For example, if you feel lonely, find another means of companionship. If you feel a need to understand, find another way to discuss your curiosity. But don't feed the core desire with actions that are not honoring that lead to compulsions that dishonor God.

I believe one of the great responsibilities that we have as men of God is the stewardship and leadership of our desires. While this is impossible for man, the Holy Spirit can convict and guide. 

Let me know if you want to talk about this more. I love you son, Dad.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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When Decisions Disappoint | A Letter To My Son

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When Decisions Disappoint

Son, there will be times in your life that you will make decisions that will bring on some unfortunate consequences. These consequences are going to be of various levels of consequence. Some will have little pain like a prick to the finger that throbs and bleeds for a moment, but healing comes quickly. Other decisions, however, will not. These are the decisions that most concern this letter. They are the ones that feel more like you have broken a bone or even worse severed a limb, that can never be perfectly reset or used perhaps used like it once was. It results in permanent damage that cannot be undone. These are the decisions I am writing to you about today.

So I pray as you read this letter, you will remember these things, and without hesitation, you will recall them when you are presented with decisions in your life.

First | The Consequence of Choice

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 6:23

We often don't think about the consequence of our decisions. We just make a choice, thinking we are invincible in our younger years to pain and seek the adventure of a thing. And adventure is a delight to a man when he considers beforehand the inevitable consequences.

In this verse, there are consequences. The writer calls them wages. They are things we earn. Like earning a wage at work—you will deserve it, even demand it when you don't get it because you feel it is deserving. But it plays out for both the good and bad choices—even the consequences you don't feel you deserve. The wrong choices in this text deserve death, the excellent choice results in life. While this is commonly a noble life principle, in this text, the writer is talking about the ultimate decision we all make about God and our eternity.

Son, this lesson is so important. And why? Because you have to start seeing the consequences (the wages) of your decisions a little earlier. You need to play the tapes forward and foresee the consequences of a wrong decision that could result in wages you don't want to pay and halt the process before it results in permanent limping in your life—things that can never be undone. We men tend to only learn from pain, but a little proactive processing can stop years of limping that you will regret. Ask any man who has limped along in life—even me.

Second | Your Bad Choices Crush Me

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.—Psalm 127:3-4

I have this deep sense of great pride in you, merely because you are my child. You are my heritage. As my son, there is something about you that makes me stand proud of you. When I see you lead your friends. When you play a sport with excellence. When you serve at home. When people flock to your call. There are so many moments, many that go unspoken, where I puff my chest in pride at the things you do.

But there are times my soul is crushed. It is the only way I know to explain it. I feel a caving in of my chest. My breath is taken from me. Anger wells up in me, and disappointment strikes. And this crushing is not because I am disappointed in you, but instead for what it reveals. Here is what I mean. 

I, and you, are of the age today where I cannot tend to your every choice. You must make choices of your own free will, independent of me. And as a father, I want you to make the very best decisions. But let's be honest; neither of us always do. And now your choices are a reflection on you—not me. While every right decision reflects on you, the wrong ones do as well. And both the bad and good choices reveal your character—who you are. They will reveal if you are full of integrity or rather if you lack it. They will reveal if you are compassionate and kind or if you lack it. They will reveal if you are truthful, honest, and pure, or not. And this is what crushes me. It's what your choices reveal.

The verse above says it all for me. You are an arrow in my hand. Like a warrior, I must shoot you out. But I want you to know, I stand proud and pull back hard on my bow as I do. But only you can determine the flight of your arrow's trajectory, speed, arch, and trueness. I have the highest hopes that your flight will be long and perfect, hitting the mark in this life.

Third | Seek Forgiveness and Reconciliation

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9

When men sin, they seek forgiveness. There could not be a more masculine thing to do. Yet some believe confession and forgiveness is a sign of weakness—it is not. The man who seeks forgiveness is strong among men. Only great men do it because they realize that they are not perfect and never will be. Godly men understand this unalterable principle.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Roman 3:23)

Son, we are both men who sin, and the first person we must seek forgiveness from is God. In this life, as children of God, we will desire independence from God, displayed in our disobedience to him. We sin, or make bad choices, because we want to be our own god—do things our own way without giving attention to God. This is rebellion against God—to sin. Therefore we must run to God and seek his forgiveness primarily (not to mention those we have hurt). You will find that God is loving, caring, gracious, merciful, and forgiving and that he is the perfect Father—I am not. He will listen and accept you just as you are, and will welcome you back into his arms with a loving embrace. I know this is true as I have experienced this time and time again. Listen to this interaction of a lost son who has come home to God his Father in the greatest story ever told by Jesus. The story of the Prodigal Son.

And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."—Luke 15:21-24

God loves you. He is ready to accept you. He welcomes you home and is prepared to celebrate. So run to him and seek his forgiveness. Fall in love with this Father. He is the best of all.

Son, I love you, your human, Dad.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Training in Godliness

Training-in-Godliness-a-blog-by-Vince-Miller

Training in Godliness

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'—Muhammad Ali

"For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."—1 Timothy 4:8

Can you imagine pushing through a 25-hour-per-week training regimen of swimming, biking, and running for an entire year with no particular goal in mind? Why would a guy do that? Most wouldn't, I'm guessing. But anyone serious about competing in the Ironman Triathlon just might. When the day of the big event arrives, you're facing a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon run of 26 miles and 385 yards. That's the goal—to compete, finish the race, and possibly even win. Only one person can win, of course, but even to just finish would yield a moment or two of personal accomplishment and glory. Indeed, physical training has its rewards. But (there's always a "but") what about your heart, mind, and soul? What about the part of you that is eternal?

One | Right Comparisons in Training

"Bodily training is of some value," Paul writes to Timothy, "but godliness is of value in every way." 

Don't get me wrong. I will always advocate taking good care of your physical body, practicing good health habits, eating right, and getting a decent amount of sleep and exercise. We come in assorted shapes and sizes and all manner of imperfection, but God calls us to be good stewards of everything He's given us, and that would include our "earth suits." After all, God's Holy Spirit dwells there.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."—1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It's not that we should neglect our bodies to focus our attention exclusively on spiritual health and growth. It is, however, a matter of priorities. Take care of our bodies, yes, but even more, nurture our hearts and exercise our minds to know and love God better and better. The benefit is long-term. There is real eternal value in a spiritual investment.

Two | Right Balance in Training

There is, in the comparison, some implied extremism. Caring only for the body and not the spirit is to miss the point of the passage. To be a fitness fanatic is to turn fitness into a god and to miss the real thing, God Himself. But caring only for the spirit and not the body is reckless and irresponsible. True, there are physical maladies, frailties, and limitations we can't prevent or control. But it just makes sense that we can maximize our effectiveness for Christ when we pay proper attention to our physical health. So how does one strike the best balance between physical and spiritual training? 

It's a matter of daily discipline. We must do both. And if we're really creative, we can combine the two. Pray while you jog. Dig into God's Word while you rest. Share the Gospel over a nutritious meal. You get the idea. This is entirely doable, guys.

Three | Right Priorities in Training

It is possible to overdo almost anything, of course—be it food, friends, finances, fitness—the list goes on. It's all about our priorities. But there is one thing that is absolutely impossible to overdo. And it's the key to everything. Here it is—are you ready for this? The key to ensuring that our priorities are in order is our complete and total focus on God. Call it an obsession if you will. When we are meditating on God's Word or kneeling in prayer, He is our focus. And when our primary motive in going for a jog or lifting weights is the care and maintenance of God's temple, He is our focus. Why do we make it so hard when it really is as simple as that?

So we train both physically and spiritually. Both are important—both matter. If we err to one side or the other, let's err to the spiritual side. But through it all, let's keep the main thing the main thing. God must remain our focus. Period. 

At the end of the race waits a forever paradise with the King of the universe. And the big win is not that we finish first. The big win is that we break that yellow tape arm in arm with as many fellow human beings as possible. 

So ready, set, go—see you at the finish line.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Physical Stewardship | A Letter To My Son

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Physical Stewardship

I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.—John Wooden

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.—1 Timothy 4:8

Son I think today most would agree we worship sports and athletic accomplishments based on how much money we spend on the pursuit of these things. But it is fascinating because, amidst our attraction, many nevertheless miss seeing and understanding the value of bodily stewardship. We, by far, enjoy the drama, the competition, or discussion but sometimes fail to see the great life lessons in fitness, exercise, coaching, and athletic pursuit.

I wish that many years ago when I was a teen and young adult that someone would have reinforced to me that I only get one body—a single physical machine—for an entire lifetime and that I must care for it for a lifetime. While we might think this is intuitive, my younger mind always thought I was invincible and unbreakable, and what I put into it and got out of it could be pushed to the limits every day without consequence. Yet this state of mind overlooks the importance of stewarding the physical machine we are given.

Here are a few essential thoughts on good physical stewardship.

Essential Thoughts on Physical Stewardship

One | Physical care is good stewardship

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Thessalonians 5:23

In this life, we are called to steward many things as men. One of the things we often default to thinking about is the stewardship of money. But there are a lot of other things we steward—one we often overlook is our body. The "machine" God gave to each of us during our lifetime is important. It serves an essential purpose, and we must steward it with care. This means we should understand physical care and exercise as needed, and not something we should neglect. We are only given one biological machine for carrying around our spirit and soul, and therefore, we must steward it with excellence. Notice Jesus's remarks in the Book of Luke:

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?—Luke 16:10-12

The life principle is this: how we steward the small things, wealth, or otherwise matters—this is true of anything, including the body. Our body is our means of human existence, interaction, witness, and communication with others. We feed it so that we can have the energy we need to be faithful and fulfill our responsibilities in living out the good news as a witness to the world. This machine needs quality inputs and outputs to ignite strength and vitality to do God's daily work. And it's our individual responsibility to care for it.

Two | God cares about your physical body

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.—Matthew 8:3

If Jesus didn't care about our bodies, he would not have healed people. But he did so frequently and for many reasons. With renewed energy, men and women who were healed by Jesus went on their way, praising God and telling the world about the One who heals not only the spiritual afflictions but physical ailments. These men and women went forward in life, walking again, seeing again, and experiencing community again. If they were hungry, Jesus fed them. If they were bleeding, Jesus touched them. If they were dying, Jesus saved them. Jesus did these things for people who wanted healed machines, and these people went forward, knowing that they should care for their bodies, stewarding them, because God values spirit and body.

Three | God cares primarily about your eternity

And when he saw their faith, he said [to the paralyzed man], "Man, your sins are forgiven you."

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he said to the man who was paralyzed—"I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home."—Luke 5:20, 24

This instance is interesting. Jesus heals both the paralyzed man's spiritual and physical needs, but notice that Jesus addressed his spiritual needs first. Which if you read the story, you'll discover created an interesting moment of tension and controversy for a few religious leaders. But this is Jesus, always stirring up controversy by ordering things precisely and correctly.

The general principle is we discover from the order that Jesus performed this healing is "stewardship of the body," not the "worship of the body." And we know that we can overdo anything—including how we care and tend to the body. While care for the machine we are given, we should be careful about giving our bodies, sports, or even athletic pursuits priority over God—to the point they become God. Our bodies are the means of worship, not what we worship. Our primary need is for a relationship with God through the forgiveness that God provides, which is why Jesus does this first in the case of this paralyzed man. And at this moment, Jesus puts a big punctuation mark on its importance by doing it first.

So the lesson is this son—steward with care what God has given to you. And steward it in such a way it gives glory to God, not yourself. The body God gave you is your means of witness to the greatness of God. So run this life with endurance and do so with the health and physical stamina God gave you and so run the race with endurance.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Rest

Finding Rest a daily devotional by Vince Miller of Mens Ministry

Rest

"I have the habit of attention to such excess, that my senses get no rest—but suffer from a constant strain."—Henry David Thoreau

"And he said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'" —Exodus 33:14

Fitness experts tell us that regimens of physical training with no built-in breathers can counteract all of an athlete's hard work. Too little rest can make a man crabby; render him more susceptible to injury; induce adrenal fatigue, thereby increasing the production of the fat-storing hormone cortisol; hamper his sleep cycle (which then introduces another whole set of health problems); compromise his immune system; and mess with his performance level (and I don't mean just on the track, court, or playing field). Our efforts to serve God well and grow spiritually also must be punctuated by periods of rest. I'm not advocating laziness, but I also do not suggest that we emulate the guy who never sits down. Too often, we worship the god of activity rather than the God who gives us rest. In short, there are times in life that call for a little self-care.

One | You may need rest

Do not, and I repeat do not, wait to rest until you begin to observe the tell-tale signs that you need it. By then, you're overdue. I'm talking about things like physical fatigue, loss of passion for spiritual activity, feeling far from God, lack of the desire to serve—you get the picture. Indeed, when we are ambushed by a symptom or two, we should not hesitate to step back for a bit. But even better, we ought to anticipate our need for rest and make it a regular part of our routine. We do so at the invitation of Jesus Himself, as quoted in Matthew's gospel:

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."—Matthew 11:28

Two | You may need relaxation

Meditation on God's Word is good for us all. Picture yourself stretched out on a poolside lounge relaxing with a good book. Why not make it The Good Book? 

Any time we find a quiet place of solitude to lose ourselves in Scripture can be incredibly refreshing. We hear a lot about having a daily "quiet time" with God, and some of us have made that a habit, but just because it's become a bit of a cliché in Christian circles doesn't mean it should be dismissed out of hand. I highly recommend it. It's cliché because it works!

But there are myriad other worthwhile ways to relax as well. Putter in the garage, engage in a hobby, read the funny pages, doze on the couch—take a little time and do it. You may be so busy that you have to actually schedule it, but that's okay. Just make sure you don't neglect it.

Three | You may need recreation

Sometimes it is good just to play. And I do mean play. 

There's some overlap with relaxation, I suppose, but I think of playing as something that requires a little more energy. Board games or card games with friends or family are great—even if they do sort of straddle the fence between relaxing and playing. If you're a dad, roughhouse with the kids. Play golf, or tennis, or softball. Go fishing or hiking. Take the family to a theme park—or to the splash pad just around the corner. I bet you could brainstorm a list of 20 fun ways to play in about as many seconds.

Rest, relaxation, recreation—all are forms of the kind of break from the routine we need for maximum physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. The fitness experts are right. Rest is biblical. And it's essential. God set a precedent:

"And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done."—Genesis 2:2

And Jesus encourages it:

"And He said to them (His disciples), 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves."—Mark 6:31-32

So what should be our response? Get some rest!

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

Finding Rest a daily devotional by Vince Miller of Mens Ministry

The Race

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The Race

"I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."—Jesse Owens

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air."—1 Corinthians 9:24-26

I love how Paul sees the spiritual life and the spiritual race as he communicates the importance of discipline to the Corinthian church. His comparison is obvious, but how do we do it?

One | Get A Goal

It's a given. Few athletes would train for or compete in a race if there's no goal at the end—no prize for winning. In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages believers to run the race so that we may obtain not a perishable prize, but an imperishable one. Back in his day, winners of races received wreaths (rather than brass trophies or cash purses) that eventually would wither and dry up. It's a great metaphor, but what is Paul really talking about? What was the imperishable prize he had in his sights? Consider the context. Just a few lines earlier in his letter, Paul writes:

"What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge…"—1 Corinthians 9:18

He goes on to write:

"I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings."—1 Corinthians 9:22-23

So yes, we train and discipline ourselves to grow in righteousness and in our relationship with God, but beyond that, Paul's ultimate aim was to spread the gospel and win people for Christ.

Two | Get Self-Control

"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things," Paul writes. So the comparison to an athlete training for and competing in a race continues. The athlete consumes a healthy diet. And we, as Christian men, nurture our hearts and minds with God's Word. The athlete works out. And we meditate on Scripture and drop to our knees in prayer. The athlete maintains sharp mental focus. So we focus on the Lord in everything we do. The athlete makes personal sacrifices to keep his eyes on the prize. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9 that he sacrifices his rights as an apostle to eliminate "any obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:12). 

What is your regimen of spiritual disciplines? What are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel?

"But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."—1 Corinthians 9:27

Three | Get Perseverance

None of this is easy. Athletes train for a race and run it with dogged determination. We, too, must be doggedly persistent. We must persevere. Our spiritual muscles may burn, and we may have to take a punch or two, but do we quit? Nope. Instead, we lean in. We don't give up. We pace ourselves. Among our most significant challenges along the way, perhaps, will be to achieve a healthy balance in our lives. Think about your typical week. If you're like a lot of guys, you work a minimum of 40 hours a week; you commute to your job, you run errands, you tend to a few chores around the house, you spend time with your family, you eat, and, oh yeah, occasionally you sleep. How do you squeeze in any spiritual discipline?

I have two words for you: intentionality and planning

But don't forget that as believers, as brothers in Christ, we have the best cheering section ever‚—better than any athlete's biggest fans. We have the Lord. Like Paul says:

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."—Philippians 4:13

Amen to that, brother!

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Your Temple

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Your Temple

I still enjoy watching a batter successfully cross home plate, but nothing thrills me more than seeing the Holy Spirit at work in hearts as the Gospel is carried into stadiums, across the airwaves, and around the world.—Billy Graham

Most of us live in some type of dwelling place—a house, an apartment, a trailer, a tent—someplace we call "home." If you're a fisherman, you might live on a boat. If you're a forest ranger, you might live in a cabin. If you're a king, you might live in a palace. But where does the Holy Spirit live? A lot closer than you think. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Did you get that? The Holy Spirit lives in you. Take a look at Paul's letter to the people in Corinth.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."—1 Corinthians 6:19-20

One | The Spirit lives in you

Think about the roles God's Spirit performs in our lives. For one thing, He is our helper, and He helps us in myriad ways:

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."—John 14:16-17

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."—John 14:26

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment."—John 16:7-8

And He gives us the power to be witnesses for Jesus:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."—Acts 1:8

He strengthens us when we are weak:

"Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."—Romans 8:26-27

The Holy Spirit is an incredible resource for us in many ways and on many levels. So what better place is there for Him to reside than within us as believers? It's genius. We have total access to the greatest (unlimited) power in the universe all the time. And that's by design—it's the way God wants it. Kind of blows your mind, doesn't it?

Two | The body is now God's

Yet here's another mind-bender. Paul says we are "not our own," God owns us. It's a good thing God is full of love, grace, mercy, and wisdom because He owns us. We were bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. He is our Savior, indeed, but He also is our Lord, our Master. When we misuse or abuse our bodies, we are messing with someone else's property—and that someone else just happens to be Creator and Ruler of the universe. Think about that the next time you're tempted to engage in an activity, you know to be wrong in God's eyes. At the same time, however, don't forget that you have direct access to all the power you need to resist that temptation.

Three | The body is for God's Glory

As much as we'd like to enjoy a little personal glory now and then, it's just no longer an option. We belong to God, so every accomplishment and accolade belongs to Him. There's nothing wrong with pursuing excellence—with doing marvelous things in excellent ways—but perspective is everything, here. What's our motive? Are we in it for the glory it brings to ourselves, or are we in it to bring glory to God?

When Solomon built the Temple of the Lord in Old Testament Israel, he did so according to God's exacting standards and specifications. Gifted craftsmen used only the very finest timber, precious metals, and other materials to erect the magnificent structure. When it was completed, God said to Solomon:

"I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before Me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting My name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time."—1 Kings 9:3

Today, God has chosen your body, and my body, to be His holy temple. I admit that we may grow weary of what seems to us like frailties and imperfections in our bodies, but God has nonetheless chosen this earthly shell we inhabit as the dwelling place for His Holy Spirit. So with His help, let us strive every day to treat our bodies as the Temple of God – and live accordingly.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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Intentional Effort

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Intentional Effort

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.—Winston Churchill

You've heard it before: aim at nothing, and you'll end up hitting nothing. 

Anything we accomplish in life requires intentionality. We set goals for ourselves—in our jobs, in our daily lives—to determine a direction. We make to-do lists of what we think will be essential to complete and check them off, and when we do, we feel a sense of gratification, and maybe pride, when we reach our goals. Why should our approach to spiritual goals be any different? 

But to be intentional means we have to exercise a little discipline. Paul likens it to training as an athlete.

"So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."—1 Corinthians 9:26-27

One | We run with purpose

A lot of people, consciously or subconsciously, believe in a cause-and-effect dynamic to most everything. In other words, "you get back what you put in" an idea loosely based in the Laws of Reciprocity, which in a nutshell states that "whatever you put out into the universe will eventually find its way back to you." 

But this isn't our Christian worldview—not at all. We hold that God alone controls the universe, the world, and everything in it. As imperfect beings, however, we do recognize that the way we live can result in negative consequences for ourselves and sometimes for others. But we are motivated by God's grace and directed by His Holy Spirit knowing we should put effort into living our lives to fulfill His purpose and spread His good news of the Gospel—to give our "all," a championship effort, to (as I like to say) to live "all in." 

Look at what Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Colossae:

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."—Colossians 1:9-14

Two | Discipline is needed

This means as "spiritual athletes in training" then, we must commit to disciplines that work in unison with the Holy Spirit. We cannot ignore the needed discipline. Read what Paul says:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."—1 Corinthians 9:24

As we know, old habits die hard, so it benefits us to work out every single day. We must build up our resistance to sin, develop the capacity to say "no," and to improve the way we run with daily discipline. To the Romans, Paul wrote:

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace."—Romans 6:12-14

Word of warning! God's grace does not, of course, give us a license to sin! Notice what Paul also states:

"What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness."—Romans 6:15-18

Discipline is needed as we run the spiritual race.

Three | Never disqualified

Our belief is founded in the grace God extends, evidenced by the effort we give. While our effort does not save us, it is evidence of our radical belief. It's only by the power of the Holy Spirit, however, that we can walk a Christ-like walk. Still, it's a choice we must make every day, to keep turning our hearts (and bodies) to live according to God's promises.

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."—2 Peter 1:5-8

God sees our hearts and our desire to please Him, and even in our weakest moments, He never gives up on us. So we must stand firm and never give up on ourselves. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we persevere—and like Paul, we are never disqualified.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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When You Have Lost Your Job

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When You Have Lost Your Job

When we have lost our job, we tend to go straight for strategies when this happens. I know I do. And what we need to do is run to God. We need to run to those rhythms where we can talk and hear from God. Prayer and scripture are those rhythms.

So let's see what scripture says, and then let's pray together today. First, God says this:

Matthew 6:34 says, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

And then Lamentations 3:22-24 says this, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore, I will hope in him.'"

I think both these verses provide a great understanding of how the Christian should respond during a job loss, and we know right now there are millions of people affected by what is happening in our country alone. But these verses teach us two vital things.

First | Daily reliance

I think that we love and even worship at times the feeling of long-term security. Don't we? We save. We predict. We plan. And we, at times, construct a reality of the future based on certain expectations in the present. And then one day, the carpet is pulled out from under us. And we take it personally because all our plans come tumbling down.

When this happens, our plans, visions, and hopes move from long-term enthusiasm to short-term survival. And everything shrinks. Our daily provision shrinks. Our plans shrink. Our needs shrink. While one thing becomes far more pronounced, it is our daily need to rely first upon only God—not our plans, and not our job.

This is what Matthew 6:34 and Lamentations 3:22-24 are getting after. They teach us that first, "today has trouble," and yet second, "God has mercy for today." And I love this, while I think we all hate it at the same time. And we hate it because we want to be in control of the future. Yet there is only one who does. And in seasons like this, when everything shrinks to daily reliance, he wants to drive us to trust Him with the future.

But there is a second and needed point these scriptures make; it's this:

Second | Worship only Him

I think where we have been as a country over my lifetime has driven most of us toward self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and selfishness. We are going to watch this change in this season. While millions are out of work today, we have no idea how the dominos of this event will continue to fall. And I wonder if God is trying to get our attention? As a country. As a world.

The end of our Lamentations verse says this, "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore, I will hope in him.'" In him and nothing else. I just wonder if, in all of our self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and selfishness, we have been worshipping ourselves and even our ability to predict what's around the next corner—rather than really worshipping God. And when we lose our job (please hear this) we, experience often a deep form of attack on our identity and our ability to provide which attacks us. However, for the follower whose trust is in Him, we are not under attack at all because nothing will attack our God and win. With high confidence, we can move forward, one day at a time, tested yes, but in trust that we need not be anxious about anything. Because our God will provide for us, without fail, even when we have to rely on him one day at a time.

So if you are out there today and your job has been affected in any way, and you need prayer, let me know. I would love to pray personally for you. I will add you to my prayer list. I will pray for you.

A Prayer for a Job

But right now, I am going to pray a prayer of hope for those who need a job. So if you need a job this one is for you:

God, you know the people out there today who are jobless and their specific needs. You know their desire for a job, for work that they want and need to do. You even know the next step in their career path. I pray that you would guide them as they continue on this search. May these people focus first on your will for their life, putting your desires and your plan above their own wishes and wants. Open doors to new opportunities that you desire for them and equip him with the skills, knowledge, and wisdom they need to take steps forward in this process. As these people craft resumes, write cover letters, submit applications, connect them with new companies and potential employers. Give them the words to speak and the courage to share who they truly are and what they can do. Give them confidence that can only come from you, and the character that goes with it—Amen.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

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.

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