faith, Family

You Are Part Of Something Big | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

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 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.

faith, Fortitude, Personal Development

The Danger of Ambition | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

Son, most men learn about the dangers of ambition the hard way. 

We never intend to slowly distance ourselves from God, family, or meaningful relationships. We never aim to become evil, manipulative, or narcissistic. We never plan to commit adultery, get divorced, be prosecuted, get fired, or be canceled on social media. But ambition has led to all these results and more.

And for those who have been down these roads and experienced these results, we know the hidden dangers. For some, it begins with seeking a competitive edge. Or for others, begins with a desire to please others who are never satisfied. And others get caught in its trappings by the promise of achievements, notoriety, and prosperity.

So, son, in guarding and forewarning yourself of these dangers, here are some things you must know.

One | Ambition Feeds on Selfishness

“as to zeal, a persecutor of the church…”—Paul commenting on his past as the man formerly known as Saul, in Philippians 3:6

These short words are how Paul identified his former behavior. His zeal was second to none. He was known for his ambition. This was so widely known that his conversion to faith was unbelievable for many Christians.

And when [Saul] 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.—Acts 9:26

What’s interesting about a man’s ambition is not that it’s all bad. Ambition, zeal, and industry are good, as long the object of ambition is not the self. When the ambition focuses on the self, a man will ultimately use others around him to accomplish his own end. They become his means to elevate himself, which has now become his central focus. This is tough to see when at first, but as selfish ambition grows, the effects are far-reaching. And as we discover in Saul’s life, he began using people for his personal advancement. And this process can become so self-serving and devious that deviation from this path can seem unbelievable and impossible to observers.

The dilemma is that there is no end to this progression until the pain of necessary change confronts a man. And depending on how callous and impervious to the pain we’ve become, it might require tremendous pain. Or, like in Saul’s case, we finally have a confrontation with Jesus Christ that knocks us off our feet and onto our knees.

Two | Ambition is Aimless Enticement

I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

King Solomon- Ecclesiastes 1:14

Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live, has something significant to teach us about the path of ambition. Money. Fame. Success. They are all attractive. Many a man will pursue them. The reason why men seek them is positive short-term gains. But the problem is that the short term gains always fall short. Moreover, the short-lived gains lead to aimless running. Therefore men from one temporary gain to the next. Before long, we look up and see we have been running after purposelessness and aimlessness.

No man wants this. We want the exact opposite—purpose and meaning. And as Solomon discovered, there was only one to find it. And in the final sentences of the book of Ecclesiastes, he tells us how to find purpose and meaning. The path to discovering it is not through human ambition but holy fear. Fear of the One who provides purpose to a man. And this is not aimlessness—this is our aim!

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Three | Ambition Compromises Character

And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”—Samson’s confession to Deliah in Judges 16:17

This confession led to Samson’s fall. But he did not arrive at this moment suddenly. He got there one small decision at a time. His selfish ambition eventually caused him to get closer and closer to the edge of compromise. Until finally, he thought he was impervious to failing. Thus, his ambition clouded his wisdom and exposed his character and, therefore, his life’s mission and purpose.

All human ambition will lead a man to do something that seems stupid. What’s interesting is that at the moment they do it, they don’t think it’s stupid. It’s just another choice in a series of choices that lead to a final and foolish decision. But what this decision reveals is their character. Therefore most men look back at this, realizing how stupid one decision was and the series of smaller decisions that led up to it—that can never be undone but can only be done differently from that point forward.

So what can we do?

Overcoming Ambition

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

Instead of surrendering to ambition, great men surrender ambition itself. In the act of surrender, we loosen our grip on what has a hold on us. And we offer it to God. We submit everything our ambitions have been focused on, which is the self, and we give our ambitions and the self to a holy and willing God. Then God, who we now worship—not the self—guides us down a new path focused only on him. 

And the best part is that God does something in this exchange that reignites the male ambition with a twist—it becomes holy ambition. Ambition focused solely on him and his purposes. And in this, we discover that God has a purpose for us and that he wants us to live in out in his character and in his way.

Son, be ambitious. But do not fall for the trappings of human ambition. They are, but folly, and many a man has fallen to its trapping. I love you—Dad.

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.

faith, Personal Development

Sex, Porn, & Desire | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

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 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 isn’t 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 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.

faith, Family

Why Easter Is My Favorite Holiday

IMG_2123

A couple weeks ago, around Easter, I had it in mind to write about why Easter is important to me. Then I got very busy with other things, then we went away for spring break, then I made excuses about not having enough focused time and energy to do it. So here I am a few weeks removed from the holiday, but still thinking of it often. I need to write this. It’s as if the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to do this. So here I am. Let me explain why Easter is my favorite holiday.

I love Easter for the same reasons most people do. Family gets together to eat lots of great food and hang out. Kids of all ages color eggs. 007 Gifts are given & received. Little plastic eggs are hidden everywhere for the kids to find. I personally enjoy hiding the eggs. The weather is warming up from winter so we can play outside and enjoy the warm sun. IMG_2125 There might be an extended family picture taken because everyone got dressed up for church. 005Little nephews play with my face. IMG_2124 Oh, maybe that’s just me. I digress.

Lots of people get dressed up for church on Easter. More people attend church Easter Sunday than any other time of the year. But why? Do people even know what is celebrated on Easter Sunday? If so, do they take the time to really think about what it means? I confess that I didn’t REALLY think about Easter too much until I was in college when a friend broke it down for me for the first time. Now, 20+ years later, Easter seems to mean more to me every year. Let me explain.

There is a component of Easter that involves the exchanging of gifts. We love to receive gifts, and we love to give good gifts as well. At Easter, we celebrate being given the best gift imaginable. All we have to do is receive it. The gift, of course, is Jesus. That might not mean anything to you because you don’t (yet) know who Jesus is. I won’t dive too deep into who Jesus is here, but trust me when I tell you that Jesus is love. The gift is his love. His love is so great for you and me that he willingly died a horrible death on a Roman cross to pay the sin debt we all owe to a holy, perfect, and righteous God. The crucifixion was on Good Friday. Then 3 days later on Easter Sunday, Jesus defeated death by rising from the dead! Jesus did this so we could be with him forever in paradise. Without his loving sacrifice and resurrection from the dead, we are all condemned to an eternity separated from God in hell.

Yep. This is truth whether you accept it or not.

There is no gift more valuable than that. And it is offered to us all. It is what we celebrate at Easter.

You probably have heard the children’s Sunday School song that says, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” This is also true. The Bible is all about God’s love for his greatest creation – you and me. Here is one example:

1 John 4:9-10 “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he first loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

What makes Easter more impactful for me every year is this fact that God loves me. Not only that, but he wants a personal relationship with me. He wants me to spend eternity with him in heaven. He knows I mess up, and make lots of mistakes, and act selfishly and full of pride at times, but he loves me still. There isn’t anything I can do to earn his love, or for him to stop loving me. That’s God. The ultimate creator of all the world is a personal friend of mine.

Dang. That is awesome.

The older I get, the more I realize how amazing this love is. It compels me to love God in return. Not because he needs it or demands it from me, but because he is so good and I am not. His love compels me to be a better person, to love others, and serve God with my life. It’s a journey I’m happy to be on. It is THE journey. I can’t imagine life without God.

I could go on and on about this love of God for me, site a list of Scripture to prove it, and share clever quotes from professional writers, bible scholars, and preachers to formulate the perfect argument for how awesome God is and why you are missing out if you don’t believe what I do. But I won’t.

This is my story, written from my heart for the purpose of being transparent with you and hopefully encouraging you in some way. If that is the case, I’d love to hear from you. One of my favorite things to do is have real conversations with people about Jesus and his working in our lives.

faith, Personal Development

Lured By Sin | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

Knowledge of God’s Word is a bulwark against deception, temptation, accusation, even persecution.

Ed Cole

Son, at some point, you are going to become aware of the deceptiveness of sin. You will be lured in by it. It will hook you, and you will be held captive in its clutches.

Think about the process of deception like a fisherman thinks about the sport of fishing. His aim—to deceive a fish by baiting and hooking it, to eventually filet, cook, and feast on it. Regardless of how poorly I do this, the same principle applies to the enticement, baiting, and hooking that men encounter daily when it comes to sin. The taste of the bait is different based on the sin, but the bait is presented the same way in every instance. If you learn how we are enticed by sin, you will be better prepared to resist the temptation, and even make better decisions to avoid temptation when sin seeks to lure and reel you in. The following three baits should empower you to make better advanced decisions. All three are observed in the first temptation in the Bible. And remember this is an interaction the serpent has with the woman who is baiting her to act in disobedience to God.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”—Genesis 3:1-5

BAIT ONE | God Doesn’t Let You Do Anything

Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”

Genesis 3:2

So what’s happening here? It’s cunning if you read it carefully.

The serpent is inviting the woman to question the one moral rule of God. And man was given this rule long before the woman was created. And it was a single moral command. Not two. Not even ten—that was later. Just one. Here is how God communicated the original command:

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”—Genesis 2:16-17

If you read it carefully a few times, you will notice some differences between God’s original declaration and the serpent’s statement. While God said “every tree” was permissible except one, the serpent presented an interesting spin; that they were not allowed to eat from “any tree.” Thus, we see the first bait is presented, which leads to an enticing exchange of questioning God’s truth.

Now note; when it comes to life, we should ask great questions. Dialogue is necessary. But when these dialogues lead us down the stream of questioning truth, we need to examine the process and even consider the potential consequence. Please always go back to the truth, in God’s Word, and do what God instructs, staying close to God’s original intent and meaning. Since we are innately sinful, selfish desires will kick in, and they will entice us with questions that attempt to blur the lines between obedience and disobedience. This is a dangerous and sometimes fatal first step that leads to many others. Be careful to search for the truth, not your version of the truth, that causes you to question the truth of God.

Now had this been the only bait set, perhaps the woman would not have sinned. But there is another powerbait presented.

BAIT TWO | God Is Lying To You

“You will not surely die.

Genesis 3:4

You have to remember that our enemy knows the truth, and he knows it well. And because he knows the truth so well, even better than some Christians, he presents the truth and leaves most of it intact to only hook you with falsehood. Note the statement of the serpent. He proclaims a partial truth and therefore suggests that God is lying and concealing something from her. He could have said it this way. 

“You will not surely die, today but die you will. And by the way, the bonus is spiritual death and separation from God.”

But in your life, the voice of the serpent sounds a lot like you! It’s after all the voice of your private desires.

The seductive voice of self-rationalization is powerful bait because you know what you want more than anyone else. And sometimes you’ll want something so badly you will convince yourself that a small diversion is okay. This will come in self-talk that sounds like this:

  • “I’ll do it just once.”
  • “No one will ever know.”
  • “I won’t get caught.”
  • “It’s not that wrong.”
  • “You will not surely die.”

The sound of this voice should bring a pause in your life. Justification and self-rationalization should signal that the hook is about to be set. At all costs, stop the process immediately. Get counsel from Christian men and instruction from God’s Word. Do not continue! For once the third bait is presented, it’s hard to turn and swim away.

BAIT THREE | God’s A Deceiver

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:5

Now, this is insidious. The serpent wants the woman to believe that God is a selfish concealer, which is downright deceit. But he has brought the woman a long way down the road of temptation. First, he gets her to question the truth; then, he spins the truth, now he feeds her the ultimate untruth—God knows and deceiving you. And concurrently, there is also the chance to become something greater—you can be “like God.”

Son, this is the penultimate bait. We want to be like God. We desire power, knowledge, and control. This man and woman did have their eyes opened, but with it, it did not produce the intended result—instead, it resulted in separation from God.

Now, you may think you have no desire to be like God, but all men do. Just get a small taste of power, and you’ll want more like every man. It’s simply unquenchable. And it’s this drive for power, knowledge, and control that takes men downstream into hideous sin.

So, son, you will sin. You’ve probably already done so today. But remember these baits, they are unchanging. And when you are baited by temptation and sin, get back up again, lean on God’s grace, and keep moving as a man of God, till the Day sin is no more.

I love you sin and all, but live in the truth and grace of God—Dad.

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.