December 12, 2016
You are now a teenager and very much a young man. I could not be more proud or filled with joy to be your father. I say many things to you and to others so words are never my problem. This letter, however, has been in my mind for quite some time and I am convicted that it should be clear, concise, and above all honest. There are some things I want to be true in your life when you complete your journey as a teenager. In December of 2023 you will turn 20 years and no longer be a teenager. By then you will be a man in every sense of the word and it is my job to put you in the best possible position to truly be man of God. I know we both must lean on Christ, but as your father, it is important that I make clear what I want for you. Nothing written below are standards I will use to measure my love for you. It is unconditional. You are loved because of who you are, not what you are. Nor, are they the basis for legalistic rules absent of real relationship and grace. You are not perfect and neither is your father. So never think that these desires are a pass or fail test for having my approval or being used of God. They do, however, matter greatly to me and I hope over time they become very important to you as well.
You are 13 now, and when you turn 20…
- I want you to be deeply in love with Christ and following Him with your life both publically and privately. I want Him to matter most to you and I want you to have written a blank check to Him with your life. This will only come from being with Him consistently in prayer and in The Word. Tonight, I’m giving you a journal and I bought myself one as well. Together we will use these to keep track of our time with God, write down our thoughts and convictions, and pray for one another and others in our lives.
- I want your life to be about others. I want you to be a blessing to the people in your life by loving them and serving them. I want your closest relationships with others to be healthy and nurturing. I want you to use stuff, experiences, and activities to serve and bless people. I don’t want you to use people to get the stuff, experiences, and activities you want. Make it your goal for many to say about you, “he is a true friend.”
- I want you to be a joyful person who laughs often and wakes up every day with sole purpose of squeezing the most life out of every relationship, experience, and challenge.
- I want you to chase holiness without compromise. This will primarily show itself in two ways in your life; what you put into your body and what you do with your body. Alcohol and drugs cannot be in your life if you want your witness and your body to be strong. As a young man of God, you have no need for them. Your greatest challenge to live a holy life however, will be sexual sin. When you turn 20 I want you to be virgin unashamed to save sex for your wife on your wedding night. I want you to flee sexual sin in all of its forms; especially porn. You can only do this through being open and honest about your desires with godly men (including me), staying accountable to men who have your back, and chasing the greater pleasure of the glory of Christ with reckless abandon. Over the next 7 years you will continually feel a growing desire for sexual intimacy with a woman. This is not sinful, wrong, or unnatural. In fact, it is gift from God to be enjoyed when you marry. Sexual sin, however, can lead to more pain than I ever want you to experience. So, as you grow you must pursue holiness in this area and I will help you and guide you even more as you begin to spend time with a young woman.
- I want you work hard; I mean really hard. Whether you are in the classroom, in a weight room, on a ball field, on a mission trip, on a summer job, or working around the house, I want you to “get after it!” Nothing but good things will come if you will do what most will not do…work hard.
- I want you to watch your words. God tells us the tongue is a powerful thing that can either do great good or bring great harm. Learn the art of encouragement and the courage of saying what is true. Cursing, vulgar language, and disrespectful words have no place in a man of God’s mouth. Let your words comfort those who are hurting, warn those who are straying, encourage those who are struggling, and guide those who are seeking.
- Finally, I want you to be a leader! I could care less what God calls you to do. Only He knows how you will spend your life. But you will have profession, a wife, children, friends, a community, and a church family of your own one day. When these things come do not sit on the sidelines. Lead! And do not lead aimlessly. Lead others to Christ by following Him first.
Ty, you are 13, but soon you will be 20. And when that day comes these are things I want ot be true in your life. I will give you everything I’ve got to make them reality, but the most important person in all of this is you. I challenge you as my son, and my brother in Christ, to make these desires from your father realities in your life.
I am with you,