Category Archives: Letters To My Son

You Are A Part Of Something Big

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

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.

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.

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.

When Decisions Disappoint | A Letter To My Son

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

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.

Physical Stewardship | A Letter To My Son

Physcial-Stewardship-a-letter-to-my-son-by-Vince-Miller

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.

Four Things Friends Do Even When It’s Hard

The-Power-of-Connection-a-Daily-Devotional-by-Vince-Miller-mens-author-and-speaker

Four Things Friends Do Even When It's Hard

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”—Charles Dickens

Son, you are hitting that time in life when you will find some friends, and you are going to go in different directions. While this is going to happen from time to time in your life, we can choose to handle this with relational excellence and process it well. Friendships are destined to change because we are all in process. Our values change over time, and because of this, we undergo detachments that take us each in different directions.

One friendship in the Bible that went through a sudden separation was the friendship between Paul and Barnabas. Readers of the Bible often are saddened by the break up between these two incredible men and friends. The rift, of course, occurred when Barnabas proposed that his cousin Mark accompany them on a journey, but Paul adamantly opposed the idea for his reasons. Their falling out was painful, and significant in part because of how deep their bond had been. They had been the best of friends and Christian brothers.

But even so, here are four things we learn about their friendship that are important for you to hear.

One | Friends champion each other.

And when he (Paul) had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9:26-27)

One can understand why everyone was suspicious of Paul at first. After all, before his conversion, he had been a cruel persecutor of Christ-followers. But Barnabas believed that Paul’s newfound devotion to Jesus and his zeal for the gospel were genuine. So he championed for Paul, and because so many looked up to Barnabas, many Christian men listened. Indeed, through much of Luke’s account in the first half of the Book of Acts, Paul and Barnabas were inseparable. Reading between the lines, it would even seem that Barnabas played a massive role in mentoring Paul and developing his spiritual life as their friendship took root and grew. 

Never forget this. Great friends are great champions of each other. They fight for one another, stand behind them, and advocate for them, especially when it aligns with the values of God.

Two | Friends partner in mission and adventure.

“While they (prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch) were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Paul and Barnabas made quite a team during what we have come to call Paul’s first missionary journey, effectively communicating the gospel to audiences from the port city of Antioch, to the island of Cyprus (Barnabas’ home), to Asia Minor and beyond. They complemented each other well, Paul an engaging speaker and Barnabas a born encourager (his name means “exhorter” and “comforter”). They knew each other’s strengths and allowed these strengths to shine. Along the way, they encountered — and by the Holy Spirit’s power defeated — an evil sorcerer, performed miracles of healing, and at one point were even mistaken for Greek gods. The response to their message and their chemistry as friends and colleagues was hugely positive — though some among their Jewish listeners were becoming a bit unnerved.

Find friends that make you better. Guys who bring out what you best bring to the world, and then make it look excellent. Like a role on a team, friends play a position on the team with you. Some play defensive roles. Others play offensive roles. Individually they are nothing, but in partnership and adventure, they can make some great memories and impact the world for the glory of God.

Three | Friends see each other through adversity.

“…it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:25-26)

In this excerpt from a letter to Gentile believers from the Jerusalem Council, Paul and Barnabas are acknowledged as “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The duo’s encounters with the opposition during the first missionary journey were sometimes frightening, to say the least — Paul was even stoned and left for dead when they were in Lystra. But in an early demonstration of “no man left behind,” Paul was rescued, and the pair hightailed it to Derbe. The point is, friends have each other’s backs. They’re willing to face risky, even life-threatening, ventures as a team because they know they’re in it together.

See your friends through their challenges, and they will never forget you. Too often, we fail to be this friend. But this is what a great friend does—supports another through the challenges of life. This is the ultimate test of a great friendship, be this friend and others will more likely be this friend to you.

Four | Friends weather their conflicts and move on.

“And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.’ Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (Acts 15:36-41)

This is a severe departure. Heartbreaking. But let’s make a couple of critical observations. First, the dispute between Paul and Barnabas was not about doctrine. They remained united on the gospel message and teachings of Christ they shared throughout the land. And second, they did not allow their disagreement to deter them from their mission — both went on to follow through on the work they’d committed themselves to complete. Nor is there any evidence that they bad-mouthed one another after going their separate ways. In fact, there is some indication that they eventually reconciled (see 1 Corinthians 9:6).

The truth is that conflict is inevitable even in the healthiest of relationships. It’s a fact of life and certainly should never deter us from pursuing friendships with other brothers in the Lord. When conflict happens, we should strive not to let our tempers control our speech, and we must always seek reconciliation. In the meantime, let’s take a cue from Paul and Barnabas and cheer each other on, partner with each other for the cause of Christ, and leave no man behind.

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.

Get Good Counsel On Money | A Letter To My Son

Poverty-benefit-a-daily-devotional-by-Vince-Miller

Get Good Counsel on Money

Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.—Proverbs 15:22

There are certain areas of a man’s life where the counsel of others is necessary, but where I have found it hard to ask for help. One of these areas is money.

Why am I so hesitant to ask for help in the area of money and finances?

I think there are several reasons.

One | Shame

I, like many, have made numerous financial mistakes over my lifetime. I’ve lived on the financial edge, accrued debt, purchased useless things that I could not afford, and have made a bad investment or two. I, like most men, don’t like to reveal my failings to other men; it is shame and embarrassment about these events that keep me from getting the help I need.

Two | Self-Reliance

Shame, while one of my issues, is not the only issue. Self-reliance, in combination with ongoing shame, is a powerful one-two punch. Self-reliance complicates everything, resulting in the belief that I ought to be able to figure out budgeting, spending, saving, and investing on my own. Even though I may have a novice understanding of money, remaining in a state of ignorance because of self-reliance is not the better choice. And worse, the faulty self-talk that says, “try and figure it out on your own,” will keep you captive to unhealthy practices and from gaining the knowledge, disciplines, and skills for success.

Three | Pride

The third related core issue with shame and self-reliance, is pride. Arrogance keeps me, and all men, from asking for help and advice.

How do we handle these personal issues that keep us from getting the help we need?

I have learned we must humbly find help before we become humiliated. Proverbs 15:22 says it this way: “Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” One mark of Godly men is humility—not shame, not self-reliance, and definitely not pride. Humility is to think of yourself less. It’s thinking less about how the present financial situation reflects on you as a person and more about how others can aid in guiding you out of it. This infers that we must separate who we are from what the issue is, and in doing so, we must embrace the virtue of humility. But a humble man does not think “less of himself” in a self-defeating manner, but instead, he “thinks of himself less” as it relates to the issue at hand. Money, as it relates to manhood, can feel like a direct attack on who we are as a person. The best thing we can do is detach the issue from who we are and admit our mistakes and failures so we can find a way out with competent counsel. Why? So we can be the men God designed us to be and so we do not live in constant shame, self-sufficiency, and pride.

Where do we find help for our financial questions?

First | Jesus

One of the most popular and essential areas from which one to develop a biblical understanding of money, finances, budgeting, debt, and sound financial decision-making is the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus talked about money more than many other subjects—more than heaven, more than hell, more than heaven and hell combined. And even more than love. Of the 39 parables Jesus told, eleven of them are devoted to talking about some aspect of money. Maybe Jesus knew money would be challenging for men?

So if you are looking for wisdom on money, read the words of Jesus in a few of these stories.

  • The Parable of the Prodigal Son—Luke 15:11–32
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus—Luke 16:19–31
  • The Day Laborers in the Vineyard—Matthew 20:1–16
  • The Widow’s Two Coins—Mark 12:41-44
  • Ceasar’s Taxes—Matthew 22:15-22
  • The Rich Young Man—Matthew 19:16-24
  • Zaccheus the Tax Collector—Luke 19:1-10

Or consider these foundational quotes by Jesus about money.

  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.—Matthew 6:21
  • Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.—Luke 9:3
  • No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.—Matthew 6:24
  • For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?—Mark 8:36
  • Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.—Matthew 5:42

Second | Other Faithful Christian Men

There are many great Christian men out there who know a ton about money. They are usually men who have done an excellent job managing, leading, and guiding their finances. Ask them if they would share with you what they know and how they handle their finances. Ask them questions and let them know what kind of specific guidance you need. If you want, you could gather a group of men together who wish to openly discuss the topic of finances, learn with one another and encourage one another.

But remember that there are also some people from whom we should not seek counsel. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” Be aware that some of the financial advice that we find in the world can be self-serving. In other words, it feeds on the assumption that we will be selfish at some point and that, financially, there will be things that we will want, that we will be afraid of missing out on, and that we will convince ourselves that we need right now.

Regardless of whom you turn to for guidance, spend some time addressing your motives and desires and make sure that your heart is in the right place before you make a significant purchase or investment. If in doubt—don’t do it. If pressured for a quick decision—walk away. If you have not prayed about it—wait. Waiting is a profound financial principle that people who live in a consumer-driven society need to heed.

Son, don’t let shame, self-reliance, or pride keep you from discovering the fantastic gift of financial freedom. We have all paid a dumb tax with finances. Don’t pay more. Get counsel, teaching, and Godly advice on money.

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.

God Is Man’s Provider

The Answer a daily devotional by Vince Miller

A Letter To My Son | God Is Man's Provider

God is the source of all things.

Many men of the Old Testament were remarkable leaders, pioneers, and patriarchs in our early faith. One of these men was Abraham. He is known by many as the “father of faith.” And he bears this title because he was a man that was willing to adventure into the great unknown, taking one step at a time with God regardless of the human and natural consequences. When God invited Abraham to depart his hometown of Ur to go to a land he had never seen, he simply trusted God and launched out into the great venture of his life. He had no road map or awareness of the obstacles he would encounter along the way, but he understood that if God asked something of him that He would also provide for him. And God did, time after time.

Thus it was no different when God told him to adventure into the unthinkable—a human sacrifice of his only son Isaac on the Mountain of the Lord. Yet, strangely enough, Abraham did the unthinkable; he quickly obeyed. He took his sone and the wood they needed and climbed the mountain immediately. Along the way, Issac’s inquiry on the way up the mountain still startles mothers and fathers today.

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.—Genesis 22:7-8.

God is The Provider—not us
Abraham walked into a teachable moment that men need to learn. God is the original and only Provider. God is the one who provides for the needs of all mankind. He owns all things. He knows all things. He sees the future of all things. So he provides exactly what we need to be given and when since he owns, knows, and sees all things from beginning to end. He can provide all that we need at the given moment we need it, which is why Jesus instructs us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It is through a daily and regular provision that God keeps us reliant on Him and from becoming reliant on self.

The prophet Jeremiah says it this way: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”—Jeremiah 17:7-8

Every man has needs. The question is whether we look to ourselves as the source of those needs or trust God for them. Wise men understand that it is God who provides. But often we believe we, “the man, the leader, the husband, the father” are the provider. Are we called to be responsible? Yes. Are we called to act like men? Yes. Are we the original provider? No.

Self-reliant men do not stand for long before the Lord, and Abraham was the father of faith because he understood there was one who provided, and he, Abraham, was not it. Yet Abraham was a virtuous, strong, wealthy man of God who understood this one thing; God is the source of all things. He is Lord of my life; therefore, I must quickly obey.

King David Men's Retreat Bible Study Lessons

Here are three things a great man remembers.

One | God provides to faithful men.
I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.—Jeremiah 17:10

God loves to provide. It’s His great joy. And God is generous in the way he provides—love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness come in endless quantities because his supply is unlimited. However, in light of this, our response should be the free sharing of his riches with the world. But often, we selfishly withhold these resources. And God never entrusts a man who withholds his free and generous resources. Instead, he seeks men who can steward them appropriately, and he searches their hearts, even tests them along the path of life, and gives according to their ability. While God loves us regardless of our conduct, He provides to those who conduct themselves rightly—these are his faithful men.

Two | God provides what brings Him glory.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.—2 Corinthians 12:9

Man exists to bring glory to God. As a result, God provides for us in ways that give us more opportunity to draw attention to his glory. This may well mean that He will choose to provide for our needs in ways that we don’t expect. The Apostle Paul lived with a deficiency that he asked God to remove. God declined because He wanted Paul and those around him to know that God’s “grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I [Paul] will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:9.

As God’s man, Paul understood that God’s strength came not from his power but the Father in, through, and by his weakness. This is counterintuitive for most men, but Paul accepted God’s decline because he knew that God provides what brings Him glory. And God is not looking for self-reliant men that want to bring glory to themselves. Instead, God is seeking God-reliant men in whom our weaknesses bring attention to God’s ever-expanding glory. This is a hard-learned lesson for many men because we misunderstand the grit and gumption that God seeks.

Three | God is the provider, and the means of provision, man must trust.
God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.—Genesis 22:8

Whatever needs you may have, God is the source of satisfaction for those needs and the means of meeting those needs. We as men need to invest a whole life in trusting Him to do this perpetually. And for many men, this is challenging, humbling, and often does not work the way we want. Yet we must learn to pray for His provision, and trust He is listening. We must learn to wait for His response, and trust His timing. We must learn to not play the follower and let him provide to bring glory to His name and not ours. God is the only reliable provider we have, and as we do this, those around us learn the character of a God who provides for us and can provide for their needs as well. As Abraham said, walking up a mountain where human sacrifice plagued his mind, “God will provide for himself.

Son, we live in an uncertain world. Our source of income could end tomorrow. Our investments could take a catastrophic dive. Our health could change in an instant, and one day I will not be with you. While life looks secure today, tomorrow might be different. Whether secure or insecure, we have a God who provides. Whatever your need, trust him, and He will be faithful to you.

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.

The 5 Voices Men Hear | Letters To My Son

5-Voices-Men-Hear-a-blog-by-Vince-Miller

The 5 Voices Men Hear

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.—Douglas MacArthur

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.—Jesus, in John 10:27

The Secret to Listening to the Right Voice
Son, I think being a man requires tremendous strength and courage. Even more, it requires a keen awareness of where to focus that strength and courage. Understanding this is crucial to your growth and development as a man, leader, and one day, husband and father. In fact, the advice I am about to give you could be some of the most important that I ever give. It took me years to understand what I'm about to tell you, but if you hold on to this lesson, it will aid you all your life.

Five voices are incessantly screaming at men. These five voices, as I call them, are heard several times during a given day. Given the circumstances of that day, certain voices will be louder than others. But these voices have incredible power over men. They have the ability to direct our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. This means they have the potential to lead you toward life and godliness or loss and destruction. If you can grow in awareness when you hear them, identify them, and redirect them, then you will experience great success in this life.

The Five Voices All Men Hear
Voice #1 — The Man That I Think I Am
And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."—Mark 10:37

Every man wants to be legendary. We want to hold a trophy, stand on the platform, and be praised by fans on the world's stage. And some days, you're going to think you're a legend but only in your own mind. This insidious thought is a dangerous voice for men to follow. It's evidence of our deepest arrogance, and it must be addressed before our imminent fall. Pride comes in many forms, but it ultimately plants a thought in our mind, which impacts our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. The result of this is rather ugly and makes us look stupid. I wonder if James and John felt this way when they made the statement above. The only trophy they held on this day was the award for being the "Most Stupid."

I'm sure you have bumped into a few arrogant guys in life. Men who are masters at their skill, talent, or gift have allowed their mastery to master them. These men are destined for a great fall, so don't be this man. Avoid the fall by being cautious of the sex appeal of this voice.

Voice #2 — The Man Others Think We Are
And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." —Luke 15:2

Yes, it's true: others have a wonderful plan for our lives. If you haven't discovered this yet, you soon will. Bosses, coaches, teachers, and friends project a manner of thinking and acting to us or about us. I promise that they will reinforce their voices with Tweets, Snaps, and posts. With or without malicious intent, their propaganda doesn't always correctly reflect who we are; it's their perspective. Their view is right to them, whether we like it or not. Yet, we have the choice to listen to this or not.

The truth is, these sound bites from others are often compelling voices that affect men. In the moments when we are emotionally vulnerable, they can be persuasive and leading, but you need to remember that you are not the sum of what others think about you. In fact, their voices may be genuine, but genuinely wrong, and lead you down a path of destruction.

As your identity is forming, the voice of influential friends, coaches, and teachers will be loud to you. You might end up believing that what they say about you is true. Take caution, because this leads to you living up only to what others expect of you—which could be off-course. Many men have chased after this voice, and then run from one voice to the next, and ended up confused and exhausted. Even Jesus ignored these voices when they led down ungodly paths; note the soundbite above from the religious leaders. Don't follow these ungodly voices or believe what they say about you.

Voice #3 — The Man We Think Others Think We Are
We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.—Numbers 13:33

This voice may appear a little confusing when you first hear it, but stay with me for a minute or two. This voice is the one we hear when we lie down at night, staring at the ceiling. It speaks to us as we reflect on the happenings of the day, considering that occasional failure— it's the voice of our mind talking to our soul about what others think about us. Unfortunately, this voice has incredible power because it develops thoughts about ourselves in our minds that, combined with emotions, construct systems of belief about who we are.

The voice of "what we think others think" is a deceptive voice because it is both powerful and private. I cannot tell you how many times in my younger years, I lied awake in bed at night with thoughts about myself and what others think about me. These voices disturbed me for years. In bed, many men hear the voice of an unloving father, an unappreciative wife, an unsatisfied boss, an unsupportive coach, and an unreliable friend—and believe that they, the man, are responsible for the voice. Men replay the sounds of these tapes, privately shaming themselves, ruminating only on failure and allowing these voices to control their lives.

Voice #4 — The Man We Actually Are
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.—Romans 7:18

At some point, you are going to come face-to-face with the most challenging voice any man hears: the voice of your sin. Yes, we men inflict harm intentionally or unintentionally, which results in suffering for others. You are already aware of this. But occasionally, you will hear the weightier voice of sin. You will feel sin's full weight, which is more than just making a mistake or hurting someone else; it's an offense against God. Some days this voice will be so weighty it will feel overwhelming. It will bring you to your knees so much so that you will see no way out. When this happens, I want you to remember you are not the first to feel this way. Even the apostle Paul felt this way, and he let us know this in the sentence above. While I want to say ignore this voice, this voice is true. Son, we all sin. We screw things up. We make mistakes. We have, indeed, offended God. But it's not the end of the story. This voice teaches us and motivates us to look for a solution and a better voice, which brings us to the last voice—the one you need to hear.

Voice #5 — The Man God Says We Are
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."—God speaking to Jesus, in Matthew 3:17

In the end, there is only one voice that you should hear. One voice to heed. One voice that is true. It's the voice of God. What God says and says about you is the only truth you should believe. The other sounds we hear are jibberish soundbites in a world that is lost and confused. God's voice is the only true one. God's is the only one that matters. It's God's voice that spoke you into existence. It's God's voice that echoes across time. It's God's voice that extends grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness to you when you hear voices that say you don't deserve it. It's your Father's voice that utters the most beautiful sentence you will ever hear, "This is my son [insert your name], with whom I am well pleased."

Son, I can barely hold back tears in writing this letter to you. It's God's voice all men long to hear. Stop chasing the other voices. Shun them. Turn a deaf ear to them. Listen to only one from the God and Father who created you. It's he you follow, listen only to him. His voice is trustworthy, confident, and dependable.

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."—Matthew 17:5

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.

In Your Singleness | Letters To My Son

Be-Courageous-a-daily-devotional-by-Vince-Miller

In Your Singleness

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."—Ephesians 5:25

Companionship is a Worthy Desire
If you are looking for companionship, friendship, and a relationship with a woman, know that this is a worthy desire. And having the aspiration to one day be married to an awesome woman is a declaration of the desire for a relationship and to one day become a husband and a father. It also indicates an awareness of our passion for an ongoing connection. Even Adam, the first man, wanted a relationship, and God saw that it was good for him not to be alone—therefore, God created woman.

But during your single years, you have an opportunity. It's the opportunity to develop spiritually and hone a character that's worthy of a long-term relationship. Right now, you have the chance to become the man God wants you to be—aside from the titles husband, father, or leader. I know many married men and fathers who wish they had invested more time in character and spiritual development before marriage. Even though the challenges of relationships refine us, it's crucial during your singleness to become the man God wants you to be today. You must find your identity in Christ today. It will be the anchor for your life regardless of the titles you hold tomorrow, including husband, father, and leader.

Four Things to Consider While You're Single
One | Learn self-leadership
All men need to learn self-leadership. Discovering the value of self-leadership as a single man is a great asset. I don't know any woman who is not attracted to a man who can lead himself effectively. A man who cannot lead himself is destined for relational issues in all other parts of life. Self-leadership is an intentional exercise. It affects many aspects of a man's life: timeliness, responsibility, conflict, self-care, grooming, building healthy relationships, avoiding unhealthy ones, and setting priorities. Self-leadership involves organizing our lives around priorities and values that lead to purposeful action rather than leaving each moment to happenstance.

Here's a potential question that might get you thinking about your self-leadership.

"What are my honest relational priorities, and what's my plan for getting there?"

As a man, you must begin to determine your relational priorities now. Let's say you define your priorities in this order.

  1. A vibrant relationship with God that gives glory to Him.
  2. Career fulfillment that positively impacts others.
  3. Core relationships that influence self and others.
  4. An active relationship with my family of origin.
  5. A committed God-honoring marriage.
  6. God-fearing children.

Now, these are only broad examples, and you can borrow them if you like. But as a single man, naming these "relational priorities" in this way will allow you to begin devising a plan and determining the self-leadership needed for the course. While at present, you cannot do much about tending to a marriage or children, you can devise a plan for becoming a man that a wife and child would love and respect. And you can give a lot of attention to the first four priorities on the list above. You can devise a plan and focus on becoming the man God wants you to be. And by leading yourself in the present, you will be more prepared for leadership in marriage and of a family with children. But you must determine personal priorities first and then take a little time to reflect on how you are going to lead yourself there.

Having identified what's on your priority list, you now need to develop an intentional plan for getting there. This is where self-leadership moves from reflection into action. Perhaps there will be several small steps in each area where you can live out your priorities. Leaders are intentional, and your intentionality—while you are single—will serve you now, and if you get married, it will serve you later. So, start by leading yourself now.

DO THIS:

  • Make a list of relational priorities (or borrow mine).
  • Reflect on what is needed to get there.
  • Set one goal in each priority.

Two | Determine your values and grow into them
If you haven't taken the time to write down or state your values, you need to do so. A value is a stated measurement for a standard of behavior. Declaring values is a considerable step toward maturation and stewarding your life and calling. Many leaders I've met in life state business values and require employees to live by them, but they fail to know or declare their personal values. Determining, stating, and living by your values are essential steps toward finding a woman who shares these values. Just think about it for a minute. What could be worse than working for an employer or being a relationship with a person who does not share your values? Just so you know—it's miserable.

Take a couple of minutes to reflect on the following question:

"What values guide your life, and how would you define those values?"

Let's say, for a moment, that a value you possess or aspire to hold is honesty. Rather than just recognizing this, define it. Write down the implications of living a life of honesty. Consider how the application of that value may influence your actions, attitudes, motives, and relationships with others and God. Don't make the mistake of thinking of values as dull ideas. Instead, think of them as living measures that influence your actions, attitudes, and motives. You might state the value of honesty this way:

"In all that I do, I will speak honestly, seek the truth, and do my best to live transparently with others."

Because it's written down, stated, and rememberable, your value has the potential to become a guiding principle. And as you look forward to marriage, you can aim to find someone who either shares or supports your value of honesty. If not, it might be a deal-breaker, not because of the person but the value.

DO THIS:

  • Make a list of three values you possess or aspire to possess.
  • Define these values in your own way.
  • For one week, evaluate your actions, attitudes, and desires, using these three values.

Three | Discover your identity in singleness
Men and women sometimes get married because they believe they are missing out on something in their current situation and feel a spouse will fill that void. While there is much to be said about a man and woman becoming "one flesh," we need to remember that Jesus offers the relationship that completes us—not a spouse.

A relationship with Christ is one of perfect grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love, which cannot be found in any human relationship. Your relationship with Christ is the ultimate relationship and primary to every other relationship. Coming to a place of contentment in your singleness with Christ is part of living out your identity in Christ. And why is this important? Well, because your identity is not found in marriage. Marriage doesn't take the place of one's identity in Christ; it only compliments that identity. Remember, in singleness you are a complete person in Christ. Regardless of popular opinion, your spouse will not complete you—Jesus does.

Four | Get to know yourself
Finally, you need to know yourself. This is a lifelong pursuit. So begin today to get to know who you are in all kinds of circumstances, for in marriage or companionship, you will not be able to hide.

Here are ten questions to reflect on today:

  1. What do you believe is possible for you?
  2. What activity in your life gets you fired up?
  3. How would you like others to perceive you?
  4. What is something you love doing, even when you are tired?
  5. What do you fear about a job or a relationship?
  6. What have you done in your life that makes you proud?
  7. What is your most significant self-limiting belief?
  8. Who is your role model?
  9. Who is a person that you don't like but spend time with?
  10. What is one failure that you have turned into your greatest lesson?

God made you unique, and as a man who lives in a broken world, you have unique capabilities and vulnerabilities. Know and get to know your strengths and weaknesses as you encounter friendship. You will learn some lessons as you go, but be willing to get to know yourself as you do. This exercise in self-awareness will benefit you, your future wife, and your future children. Be committed to self-improvement and getting to know yourself through the phases and stages of life.

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.

Build Great Friendships | Letters To My Son

Build-Great-Friendships-a-letter-to-my-son-by-Vince-Miller

Build Great Friendships

The secrets to building great friendships with others.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.—Proverbs 18:24

It Was Easier When You Were Younger
It was a lot easier when you were a kid. Kids just showed up, and because they were present, you built friendships. As you get older, it gets a little more complicated. Morality, media, work, activities, and distance separate us. These issues will make formal friendships more and more challenging. Some of this separation is good, and some is bad.

"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."—One of the top five regrets of men.

Many men on their death bed have big regrets. One of the top five is staying in touch with friends. I believe most do not realize until it's too late how vital friendships are to us. Good relationships with your family and friends bring immense human happiness, which results in deep human satisfaction. And I want that for you. In fact, God wants it for you.

During my childhood, I was desperately lonely. My father was gone. My mother was absent. My friendships were challenging for me. But I wanted to have them, just like everyone else. While I was at lost for great relationships, I discovered a few secrets over the years that have brought me great satisfaction, and I hope learning these now will benefit you in your future.

5 Secrets To Building Great Friendships

One | Don't Search, Reconnect
One way to build great friendships is by engaging with friends you already have. I have several good friends that live a considerable distance from me. However, I have come to learn that while I rarely see these men in person, I can still have an active and loyal friendship with them. There are many reasons I stay in touch, but reaching out to them regularly (even just once a month) has kept the conversation going and our relationships alive. Many men never think of doing this, but we should. We should take ownership of the connection and reconnection. All you need to do is occasionally call, text, email, or ping them. Touching base like this means a lot.

Here is why this is important. Men need to learn to maintain friendships by taking small steps to nurture them. I think our lack of initiative in nurturing is what leads to this feeling of regret. I know "nurture" feels like an effeminate word, but it's not. Nothing could be more masculine. But nurture requires forethought and intention that is others-focused. Most men, me included, get consumed by all the other activities of life that revolve around self and thus fail to nurture friendships because we are obsessed only with ourselves. This is just one of the ways pride's insidious nature impacts reconnecting with our existing relationships. It's essential to learn how to nurture connection and reconnection now before you get married—because marriage and family are all about nurture.

And by the way, it's good to practice on us by calling your mom, sister, brother, and myself once in a while.

Two | Don't Be Interesting, Be Interested
As men, when it comes to relationships, we think competitively. Because we think this way, we spend more time thinking about what makes us unique and interesting. We aspire to be the "most interesting man in the world." And yes, we are our favorite subject matter. But to build great friendships, you may need to worry less about being the most interesting man in the world and be interested in others.

People love other people who are interested in them because, as I have already stated, every man's favorite subject is himself.

If you want to build some great connections, get a guy to share a story about himself, and show interest by asking subsequent questions. I have found people are fascinating. Their interests, upbringing, experiences, and areas of expertise are crazy cool. And behind every one of these people is an interesting story. Dig it out. Ask questions until you find it; everyone has one. Before you know it, you may discover you have a connection with a person who could become a life-long friend. So, work at getting people you meet to share a story.

Sometimes, when I meet people, I often see how long I can get them to talk about themselves before they ask about me. It's a fun little game I play, mostly for my entertainment. Give it a spin with others, and use this question frequently—"Could you tell me more about that?"

Three | Don't Pretend, Be Real
"Being real," as I call it here, requires appropriate levels of vulnerability. We have to be careful, though. There's a balance we must strike between sharing too much (oversharing) and not sharing enough (pretending). We need to find ways to share and connect that build trust with others, and vulnerability is the tool for doing this. Vulnerability builds trust, which leads to stronger and healthier relationships. While many men wrongly think being masculine is about being invulnerable, invincible, and impervious to issues, real men are appropriately vulnerable and thus authentic. Being vulnerable means we drop our guard, and in doing so, invite others into a more intimate relationship with us. This leads to relationships that welcome an emotional exchange, not merely a transfer of facts and opinions. This is precisely why, on a plane, people will spill their guts to the person sitting next to them about how they feel. They know there is nothing to risk because, more than likely, they will never meet them again. What ends up happening is we build a quick emotional and psychological connection with this person. Often, we don't take these risks with people we see every day because we are afraid, and as a result, we pretend because we think it is safer.

I would recommend that you learn how to develop the muscle of vulnerability in your life. I know life is not perfect, and I know you will probably not share everything with me, but you should with someone. If you spend too long pretending in life, you will end up being artificial—and people can sense this from a long way off. Lean into this with a trusted Godly man. You will not regret it.

Four | Don't Neglect, Make Time
You need to be forging out a little time for relationships every day. College is not just about being consumed by studies, advancement in sports, and locating a spouse—it's about getting a job. But all these activities touch on one crucial element, and that is your social development. You need to give just a little bit of attention to this each day. Your life is going to get busy—too busy. You're going to become consumed by activities. And this will be an ongoing problem you will encounter, regardless of your stage or phase of life.

I am much older than you and deal with this every day. My problem is my ability to laser focus on tasks. While this is a tremendous strength, it can also be preventative to relationships. Often, I become so focused on the present task that I become oblivious to this need, and it has taken work and attention on my part to address this. I have had to give attention, a little bit each day, to get my mind off a task and care for the people God has given to me. They, after all, are the means and the end of every job I am trying to complete.

I would encourage you to spend time watching people who are experts in relationships. Men who are inspirational that others instinctually follow. There are small habits and behaviors that they embrace that others do not. They may be aware or unaware of these things, but spend time with these men and study them. Practice what you see in them that has Godly implications on your relationships.

Remember, all this requires time—so make time. First, make time learning how to master relationships as you spend time with people who are experts. Second, make time to invest in these relationships as well.

Five | Don't Wait, Make Plans
I don't know why men don't do this, but we don't make plans. Women make plans all the time. You may remember or trip to the Dominican Republic in your senior year of high school. I was blown away by how many women were there. I even turned to your mom and commented on this. I distinctly remember your mom saying, "It's because women make plans," and she is spot on. I think if men were smart, they would figure this out, as it's a big missed opportunity.

Be a leader and get some guys together. Whether for road trips, ski trips, hunting trips, or mission trips, it doesn't matter. See the world while you are young, but do it with friends. You can make plans; even something impromptu is excellent. In college, we called it "making a memory." You can either sit around staring at a device or you can jump in the car and make a memory you will never forget. I have a ton of memories like this, most of which I may leave out of this letter and share with you privately.

In closing, you have limited time. You cannot have a hundred great friends. But you can have a few close friends.

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.

Be Offensive | Letters To My Son

Be-Offensive-a-daily-devotional-by-Vince-Miller

Be Offensive

15 Ways To Be On Your Best Offense As A Man Of God

We live in a world where people are being trained to be offended. It appears we live in a time when it's nearly heroic for people to point out the offenses of another. Maybe this is because we've more recently supported social approaches that promote sensitivity, which appears to have escalated into hypersensitivity. Men need to learn the virtue of being sensitive.

However, I wonder if this has led to a culture of men who are over-sensitive in fear of being attacked?

I know some men who feel they are on the verge of being attacked for being born male. Which raises the question: have we become so fearful of offenses and offending others that we have lost our offense?

Let me be clear; there's nothing masculine or Godly about being offensive in what we say or how we say it. Sexual innuendos, lude joking, perverse gestures, or even a “hint” of an immoral action is not appropriate or honoring for a man of God. However, this does not mean we need to forgo some offense. By offense, I mean “taking assertive and positive action.” Offensive action is when we develop an organized and forceful campaign to achieve something. In this culture of growing oversensitivity, too many men give way to fear that perpetuates more fear. It’s a fear of taking action due to concern about hypersensitive responses. This concern can result in living life overly cautious, hesitant, and indifferent because of undercurrents and trends that have endorsed and reward a culture of fear and passivity. Resultantly, we end up training ourselves to respond defensively or not at all. This defensive strategy leads to tragic results in a man’s life when it continues for too long or when we fail to act offensively. In addition, when emotions like guilt and shame reinforce our inaction, we remain enslaved to non-action. In the Bible, we see tragic examples of this repeatedly; men who were defensively inactive when they should have been on the actively offensive.

Son, never miss an opportunity for greatness by being overly cautious or supporting any system that does. Sometimes you need some offensive—in word and deed. But do not fail to be sensitive, as every situation does not dictate offensive responses.

My quick list below is a compilation of two things with each point. First, there are activities that you should stop doing that prevent offensive action. Second, you must assume a corresponding movement that is appropriately offensive. I have made mistakes in these areas along the way, and in some other areas, I still make mistakes. Think of this list as being similar to offensive strikes in a sport. They are strategies for bringing the ball forward that move us from being defensive to being optimistically offensive.

My goal is for you to be a greater man than I. If you take action, even with a handful of these suggestions, you should experience tremendous results in your life.

ONE | Reconciliation
Stop giving excuses for the times that you have harmed others with your words or actions; be offensive, and seek forgiveness from others. On numerous occasions, I have failed to reconcile relational issues. Explaining, blaming, and deflecting are defensive strategies. They are not offensive. However, reconciliation is an offensive move.

TWO | Sin
Stop hiding sin. Be offensive by taking action that diminishes the power of sin. Confession, repentance, and accountability work against our desire to protect wrongdoing; rather, they bring it into the open. There are sins that I embraced for too long because I chose to conceal them.

THREE | Leadership
Stop waiting for your leadership moment; it may not come. Choose to be on the offensive and seize the leadership moments before you. There is always a leadership void waiting to be filled. I have made the mistake of thinking that I needed to be invited to a leadership table to be a leader, and this faulty thinking. Influence is leadership, and you have opportunities for influence right in front of you, right now—lead into them.

FOUR | Speaking Up
Stop being quiet when you see injustice. Be offensive and discover the power of speaking the truth in love. I have made the mistake of turning a blind eye to injustices happening right before me. While their action was wrong, my inaction was worse.

FIVE | Transparency
Stop repressing your feelings, passion, and ideas; this can turn into aggression or depression. Be offensive by being appropriately transparent. Keeping your feelings to yourself will stunt your emotional growth and delay your relational maturity.

SIX | Opportunity
Stop complaining about not getting opportunities. Be offensive and create an opportunity where there is none. I have made this mistake, and it causes us to embrace a victim mentality.

SEVEN | Saying Yes
Stop saying “no”; be offensive and say “yes” to more new opportunities. I have missed a few fun opportunities because of this.

EIGHT | Saying No
Stop saying “yes” to everything, be offensive and say “no” to the right things. Make a good decision against yourself. I have said yes to way too many things and found out I could not keep all of the commitments.

NINE | Persistence
Stop wussing out, when something is hard, be offensive by being persistent than others. I have found much of life is learning to be committed longer than others.

TEN | Asking For Help
Stop aimlessness. When you don’t know something, be offensive, and ask for help. Men make the mistake of living in hidden ignorance because they arrogantly refuse to invite help.

ELEVEN | Women
Stop waiting for the right girl to approach you, be offensive, and approach her. Women like offensively minded men. That’s how your mom and I met. She made a snarky remark to men, and I thought it was attractive, so I turned on the offensive.

TWELVE | Spiritual Habits
Stop believing spiritual maturity happens by accident, be offensive, and build discipline now. Regular prayer, bible reading, worship, and journaling are good habits that will pay off for you down the road. I wish I would have built healthier spiritual habits earlier in my life.

THIRTEEN | Character Flaws
Stop letting that one character problem hold you back; be offensive, and manage your character issues. It takes a while to learn how to handle them effectively. If you start now, it’ll benefit your relationships with respect to play, school, work, dating, marriage, and family. I have made the mistake of maintaining the same character flaw because I never learned how to manage it effectively. This required a lot of reconciliation along the way. Therefore, defeat the need for excessive reconciliation with offensive character adjustments.

FOURTEEN | Vulnerabilities
When are you most vulnerable, be offensive. Cancel that appointment, subscription, event, or meeting. I have made the mistake of staying committed to harmful patterns and destructive relationships for too long. If it makes you vulnerable to sin, act quickly.

FIFTEEN | Accountability
Stop avoiding accountability. Be offensive by inviting other great men into your life who will drive you to be better. The longer you wait to develop these relationships, the further behind you will be in your development as a man and man of God. Men need brothers; never forget this.

In the end, life is not a spectator sport. It also is not intended to be only played defensively. We must engage as men. Be offensive.

I love you, son—Dad.

>