faith, Family

The Power of Your Beliefs | 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.

he ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will let our minds dwell upon.

Dallas Willard

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Son, it matters what we think. It affects everything about us as men. When I was younger, I didn’t think it mattered, but with years comes wisdom, and I have come to discover that every thought that spins around in our head has consequences. The music you sing along with, the language you hear, the media you read, the marketing you believe, and even the thoughts you have about yourself all affect you. They alter your feelings, beliefs, and attitudes that, as a result, change your behavior sometimes a little at a time and other times drastically.

So let me illustrate. When I was 12 years old, I remember standing on the basketball court with a group of other young men during a gym class. I vividly recall another friend coming up and bursting into our conversation, and he began to share with the four of us about Tony’s first sexual encounter over the weekend. He spared no detail. Then he closed off the conversation with this statement, “Guys, I guess Tony became a man. Tony became a man.” And then he dropped the mic and walked away. And even though a 12-year-old boy does not understand what it means to be a man, this thought was compelling to me about manhood. At this moment, a belief and belief system were forming in my mind, and it was perhaps one of the most potent ideas I heard at age 12. And you should know this influenced my thinking for several years. I fell for this false belief because I did not have a father present or a Christian voice in my life. And I clung to this belief, and the supporting system of belief as my hope for manhood—resulting in several bad decisions.

The following are my thoughts on our beliefs as men. I pray this serves you well in life as you make decisions about what you choose to believe.

One | We Construct Beliefs and Belief Systems

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

So we are thinking and believing beings. This is what makes us human. In basic philosophy, we learn that the one thing that distinguishes us from all other creatures is that we do not act on instinct alone. Human beings can think and construct systems of belief about life. This means that as we are exposed to inputs of data, we make judgments, develop concepts, and inferences about life that result in ideas and images that make up our beliefs. These ideas and images are compelling.

Beliefs require two things to become a belief: first, a believer (that’s you), and second, an object or proposition (that’s something you believe in). You are a believer who comes in contact with objects and propositions every day. Over time, you construct beliefs, and a cluster of these beliefs results in what we call a belief system. When we strip this down, a belief system is simply ideas and images about various parts of our life. And they influence how we view family, work, education, money, politics, and our faith. A true belief system is a good thing, and false belief system is bad—thus the words from the apostle Paul to the Philippians above. When you think about things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent, you get better inputs and thus better outputs. The point being you construct them, good and bad.

Two | You Are Controlled by Your Belief Systems

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Proverbs 23:7

This principle is probably not a shocker. 

This is why a beautiful woman thinks she is ugly, or a skinny woman thinks she is obese. Her self-perceptions and the ideas and image she has constructed are now controlling her believing process and her actions.

There is evidence of this rule throughout the Bible. Take the David and Goliath story. Why did Israel not send a man out fight with Goliath? Because they were being controlled by the belief that they could not defeat Goliath. Goliath’s challenge was too outrageous for them—then along came David. And here, we see a teenager with a different belief and belief system. He believed that God could defeat Goliath—and that if God was going to use someone, it was him! This radical belief uprooted everyone’s belief system, and it defied human logic, but it was spot on.

Therefore we can conclude that even though belief systems are what make us human, and what we use to make sense of the world around us, they are not always correct. They can be repetitively wrong and therefore control us. And as we know, these belief systems have power and direct how we think (our thoughts) and what we do (our behaviors). This is why men hesitate to act out in faith; they have human beliefs and human belief systems that compete with God’s system of faith. This is also why many men get stuck in repetitive cycles of sins; they have a belief or belief system that is entirely inaccurate.

This leads to the third point.

Three | We Have Corrupt Belief Systems

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5

Yes, not only corrupt beliefs but also corrupt belief systems. We have corrupt belief systems at the core. Note that the writer above states our intentions are the real problem. It’s not just our thoughts or behaviors, but the aim of our thoughts and behaviors. This is the nature of human corruption at the deepest level.

So we can conclude that corrupt belief systems distort everything, including how we view God, spirit, soul, mind, and body. They corrupt our entire being.

And remember what is pervasive about these corrupt belief systems is that they are not uniform. They are different for every person. So this means my corrupt beliefs may be different from yours, yet still corrupt. And this corruption is profoundly personal and can involve long heritage, and when we combine this long heritage with a deep personal commitment, it can be hard to break. That is why battling repetitive sin or breaking a long-term habit is laborious; it’s because we have years of corrupt patterns that are rewarding us in some way, and it’s hard to destroy old beliefs, systems, and the powerful rewards and patterns that go with them.

Overcoming corrupt belief systems can feel like asking someone to jump into deep-water, without a life vest when they don’t know how to swim. For many, this is a paralyzing look over the bow of a great ship. This is why beginning a personal relationship with Christ is often challenging and simultaneously stimulating. The experience is eye-opening.

And this leads to the final principle.

Four | God must Reveal The Belief System

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

This is why Jesus came to our world. He came to reveal the only way, the truthful way, and the one that leads to life as it was intended to be lived. God saw that our beliefs and belief systems were corrupt, and because we could not find the way on our own, God had to reveal the way. And he does this—in the person of Jesus Christ.

This bold and often divisive statement by Jesus is the revelation of a new way to believe. And every time we discover another truth about his way, God opens our mind to another reality.

I have had many moments in my life where God has revealed the truth to me. Moments where I have discovered the power of his grace over the law of my sin, the impact of what Christ did in the resurrection versus what I could do on my own, and the infinite power of a relationship with God over my religious activity. And these moments are revealing in fresh new ways every day, as long as I am keeping myself close to the truth in God’s Word. God reveals something to me every single day. And it has been an “awakening.”

Son, we live in times that are changing. You will be exposed to thoughts and beliefs through friends, teachers, coaches, supervisors, famous stars, and even pastors and leaders that are opposed to God’s Truth. I pray that you will test these thoughts and beliefs and compare them to the truth in God’s Word. His truth is good, search for it, and hold fast!

But test everything; hold fast what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

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 See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.

faith, Family, Fortitude, Personal Development

How to Stop Worrying


I recently woke up inspired to write the following journal entry. I hope it encourages and challenges you as it does me.

Worry says, “God is not big enough.” This is a terrible accusation for the Ultimate Creator of the universe who holds all things in this mighty hand. There is a pride and selfishness in worry that we don’t recognize. When we worry, we assume the burden only for ourselves. No one, not even God, can help us. “I must bear it all alone,” is the message we tell ourselves. Boo-hiss!

You, O Lord have saved us from our sins. Your promises are certain, you never fail. You tell us to cast our cares upon you, to take your light & easy yoke upon us, to trust you in everything, because you love us even more than we could love ourselves.


When we worry, it should send a signal to our hearts that there is something to surrender to the Lord. The work of surrender should be our task – not the enduring or solving the thing we worry about. The surrender is the real work though. We must conquer our mind which wars against surrender and favors of our natural carnal survival instinct.

To be clear, surrender is not “giving up.” Not even close. I think of it more like a transfer of burden from me to God. Don’t we all want some help with our burdens?

worry 2

Worry is often an unreasonable fear, in my opinion. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future. Remember being a kid when your parents made you try something new? It was scary at first, but since you trust them, you eventually go for it. Inevitably, it turns out great. So much fun, so much easier, so good, so tasty, etc. As parents we do the same for our kids too. We want the best for them. We want them to experience all that is good and enjoyable in the world. So why do we not trust God to do even more for us? Have we forgotten that God is our Heavenly Father and we are his beloved children?

Also, have you noticed how many times we worry over things that NEVER happen? We worry about the “what ifs” and we come up with some crazy ones, don’t we? Well, stop it. God wants the best for us and he actually knows the future. We should trust God and surrender our worry to his capable hands. #preachingtomyself

The antidote to worry is trust. Trust is only as good as the object for which the trust is placed. We have a choice to make in the face of our worry. Will we choose to trust ourselves and our lousy capacity to predict the future, or will we trust in God who knows everything and is in control of everything?

I understand that trusting in God is not easy. Denying ourselves is the opposite of our human nature. I often wrestle with surrendering to God. I’m convinced that my way is better. After I fall on my face, I realize that God’s way is always best. It might be hard to deny myself and trust God, but it is always best. Honestly, it is such a great relief to leave the “worrisome things” to God. It’s the best stress reliever.


God has a funny way of making these type of life lessons come to life in real time for me. As I’m preparing this article, I get tested with some pretty stressful work situations. Instead of practicing what I’m writing about, I revert to my old nature and experience high stress with all its symptoms – exhaustion, irritability, upset stomach, loss of appetite and stress eating at the same time (yeah, that really happens to me), anger, depression, etc. Yuck. After a few days, I calmed down enough to realize what I was doing and made a mental adjustment. I transferred my burden to the Lord. Just as he promises, everything changed in my outlook. The circumstances haven’t changed, but my attitude and mindset did. Praise the Lord! The chains of the stress are gone and I am free to be my very best through the circumstances. #workinprogress #underconstruction

For some of you, these concepts about God may seem foreign or even offensive to you. You may have ways to cope with your worries that don’t involve God, and would say I’m weak or crazy. Maybe so. But I’m willing to bet that someday your way will not work, and whenever your Jedi mind trick or destructive behavior you try leaves you still looking for answers, remember this: The truth is that God loves you more than you could ever know, and His great desire is for you to know Him and experience all the freedom, peace, and good that comes with a personal relationship with God. I would love to talk with you about how you can enjoy freedom from worry through a personal relationship with the God of the universe.

     “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due          time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

faith, Family

A Society At War With Adulthood


Following is an article written by Dr Raymond Force. I thought it was worth sharing in its entirety. There are several “truth bombs” in here that deserve contemplation. I’d love to hear your feedback, so please comment at the bottom. 

It was just a few months ago that I heard the word “adulting” for the first time. I have to be honest. I was a little taken aback with its mere existence. That is, the very presence of the word should speak volumes to us in that if we even need such a word, then we obviously have some sort of struggle taking place with achieving its status. 


Pastor, Counselor, Coach, Or Dad? 


I say it all the time. I am not a pastor, counselor, or a marriage coach as much as one who seems to take on the fatherly role of teaching people lessons they should have learned years ago. Whether the lessons involve getting along with a spouse, securing peace in our souls, managing time, or making money, I feel more like a father than a coach in that many seem to be stuck between the ages of 13 and 20.


 The Battle With Adulthood 


Within the last few years, I am finding more and more people that seem to be at war with adulthood. That is, they seem to be in a perpetual battle with either acting like an adult or learning to enjoy the responsibilities that come with adulthood. Below are just a few of the aspects of adulthood with which many seem to battle: 


Becoming Principled-Driven 


If you are guided by simply your emotions, you are not an adult. Of course, emotions are important and God-given, but they are to be the car behind the engine as feelings make a marvelous caboose, but a lousy locomotive.


In chapter 3 of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, I discuss how feelings make a very poor marriage counselor. We also discuss how with many a couple, the true god of their marriage is their feelings instead of God the Father. This is always an issue because no marriage will ever rise any higher than its true God or god. 


A Giver Instead Of A Taker 


Manhood did not come my way until I started to wake up thinking about God, my marriage, and my children first. Of course, I believe in what Matthew Henry calls the law of self-preservation, but keep in mind that the best way to secure joy is always to give opportunity for others around you to enjoy the same. This is why Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. 


Loving Sameness 


I find that what keeps most people from consistently showing up in marriage, church life, and business is sameness, that is, doing the same thing at the same time and in the same way. However, it should be noted that children grow weary of the mundane. Adults, on the other hand, find purpose and joy in even the most mundane of tasks.


God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He changes not, and there is no variableness with Him (James 1:17). Without God’s sameness, we would all perish as the sun would halt and the fields would refrain from yielding crops. It is amazing, however, how we want God to be more faithful to us than we are willing to be to Him and, especially, for Him.


Marriage, parenting, building a business, establishing a career, and learning a trade all require the ability to keep showing up. However, if a person is internally at war with consistently dealing with the same environment and the same people, then, in my opinion, they are at war with adulthood as 90% of success is having the ability to keep showing up


Loving Work 


There is a great life skill in learning to love what you despise. Now, I have to admit that I love my job, but there are a few things to consider even in this: 


1. I have to do a lot of things that I don’t necessarily like to do to be able to do what I love to do.


2. I did not get to this point overnight. In fact, I bet I could almost beat anybody if we had a contest for how many jobs or business ventures in which a person has been involved. 


Embracing Drudgery 


People that love practice more than the game, excel. Those that want the event more than the process fade away.


Success requires embracing the process and learning that the process can be just as rewarding as the destination. 


Working Well With Others 


Mark it down. Selfish people are always surrounded by conflict, and selfishness is one of the main characteristics of children.


Proverbs even deals with this in that it teaches that “when a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7) 


Facing The Giants Of Life Head On 


Adults face their problems head-on. Children run, escape, and hide.


In our day of escapism, it is important to face our problems without the escape hatches of excuses, blame, alcohol and drugs, illicit behavior, or fantastical thinking. Be brave. Face your problems head-on by the grace of God. God will make a way, and you will find that there is no such thing as a wasted experience. 


You Don’t Get A Cookie For Being An Adult 


Herein lies my main beef with the presence of the word “adulting”. The words seems too often be used by people that want a cookie for doing things that should be what I feel are no-brainers.


Sorry, but getting up early, going to work, doing laundry, eating healthy, and balancing the budget are just a part of life. They do not deserve any special attention on social media nor from anyone around you. These things are not what adults do as much as they are what people have done for thousands of years without any expectation of a supposed prize. 


On a further note, while we as a western society give emotional medals for showing up and doing the most basic of tasks, other countries are dominating us in the business world.


If our highest goal is just to be at work instead of excelling at work, then we are doomed for disaster as a people group. The rest of the world will not be politically correct and stay behind their borders. They will overtake us before too long and we will no longer be the exceptional people we once were.


Jesus said, “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)


I feel this verse in intriguing in that Jesus is not handing out gold stars for doing the most basic of exercises. Jesus is teaching that there are certain basic duties that should need no reward. 


The Real Problem 


The real problem is not laziness, a lack of toughness, or a lack of perspective. In my estimation, these all miss the mark. The real issue is that we have not allowed God’s adult-like characteristics to benefit our souls. When this occurs, we in turn lack the purpose and the internal strength to be as adult-like as our Heavenly Father.


When I was a young man, I loathed speeches and articles like the one I am writing. I only despised them because my problem was not a lack of want-to as much as it was a lack of power and purpose in my life to implement what I knew to be right.


To be very frank, once I started to truly fellowship with my Heavenly Father, my power-to started to become parallel with my want-to. Then and only then was I able to truly start acting like the adult God was calling me to be. 


The Irony Of It All 


The irony of this entire article is that I am able to act like an adult because I keep a child like attitude inside of me. I believe I am able to do this mainly because I sense the presence of my Heavenly Father (John 14:21-23). This allows me to enjoy the little things of life, sleep in peace, view my life as a story that He is writing, believe in happily ever afters (especially in eternity), find humor in areas where others only see seriousness, and let God fight my battles.


Every child is born with a light in their eyes, but I have found that life has a way of blowing it out. My readers will do well to keep a sacred place within themselves that no one else can touch. God calls it the soul, and in that place you will never regret having a place where you can spiritually run and play on His playground of prayer and meditation.