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A Father’s Day letter to my sons

By Chris Surber

My youngest sons are growing up in a culture filled with mixed messages about manhood and how to make their way in the world. I tremble for them. I want to make their decisions for them and protect them. However, the best protection is preparation on manhood from their father.

Here is a letter to my sons and to other young men who may be, like I was, lacking a man to give them direction.

Pick the right friends. In His life on earth, Jesus had 12 close friends. It turned out that one betrayed him; one denied Him, and the other 10 temporarily left His cause the minute things got rough. In my life I have had only a few very good friends, though I have known a lot of people.

You’ll be known by your friends, and they will help shape your character. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT) This works in both directions. Rusty, corrupt, good-for-nothing friends will dull your character.

Some will betray you. Some will deny you. Some will disappear when things get rough. Jesus redeemed His friends, but we aren’t Jesus. Pick your friends carefully.

Pick the right wife. Women are fascinating and wonderful creatures, like panthers moving gracefully and sleekly. But they have big claws. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll get scratched. Prayerfully seek a woman for her mind, not her charm. Warm up to a warm, loving lady, don’t chase after a cold heart.

Look for a woman who ignites your soul’s imagination, not merely your fleshly desires. A man enslaved to lust can be shackled by any pretty girl. A woman of character is the greatest jewel any man can have in his life.

Find a woman who knows her worth and yours. She will challenge you to become more than you are.

Pick the right fights. There will be battles to fight. Pick good ones. Walk away from bad ones. Fight when you must, but make sure your battle is just and necessary. There are a lot of smoldering fires that produce more smoke than heat.

Young men tend to fight a lot of fights that result in wounds and no worthy victories. Fight only good fights, and you’ll never walk away with vain bruises.

Stay on the path. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” (Matthew 7:13 NLT)

Nice cars and popularity don’t make a man. The world looks at a man’s pocketbook and driveway to calculate his worth. God looks at the heart; as do the people whose opinion you should care to consider.

Whether your path finds you stocking shelves in a warehouse or owning the contents of a thousand shelves in 10,000 warehouses, be a man of godly character and you’ll be a man of great worth.

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.