JUST OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO, AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN POINTED TO THE LARGE SHADOW THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY HEART. The softball-size mass was wrapped around my superior vena cava, choking off the flow of blood and oxygen throughout my body. My entire left arm and hand was 20% larger, spongy, and pale-blue, thanks to a blood clot caused by the cancer. The thought of saying good-bye to you as your lives were just beginning was brutal, with a force more ferocious than a tsunami. Boys, the past eight years have been the best I’ve had – because they are bonus time. They have allowed me the beautiful privilege of seeing you grow, not merely in age but also in character. There is no greater gift!
KEEP CALM AND WALK WITH JESUS
Boys, the world has gone crazy – but you must keep your heads. It’s filled with people more concerned about themselves and their agendas than they are with one another – and certainly more than they are of God – and it’s undoing our society. You must not be like everyone else, because the great majority of people are missing what life is really about. You must not follow the crowd. You must ensure you’re living in such a way that the crowd looks to, and follows, you. Make sure you don’t get this backwards.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold . . .”
If you’re not careful, this world will undo you. It will confuse you about manhood, twist the truth about God, and deceive you into believing that happiness comes from things rather than loving God with every atom of your anatomy. You must be constantly be on the alert, because life left on auto pilot will have you looking, acting, and feeling just like the crowd. Sons, the crowd is wrong — and it is getting larger. But do not be afraid.
Jesus said, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33). If you walk with God, nothing can overtake you.
Jesus, in speaking of the world condition prior to His return, said, “’Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold’” (Matthew 24:12). In other words, boys, God is calling you to be among His minority in a world where the majority is marching in the wrong direction. But they aren’t just marching; they are celebrating. This, my sons, is tragic – but you must keep your heads.
BIGGER THAN YOU
If God spared my life for a purpose, He did not do it so I could preach, teach and write for the world, but for you, my handsome sons. My one goal in life is to help you excel in your love and enjoyment of God. My prayer and passion is that you love Him more than I do, and to love people as the expression of that love — as you keep yourself from becoming like the majority.
“The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize how unsatisfying everything else is.”
It’s a delicate balance, loving God and people. To succeed, you must be intentional. It will not develop on its own. There are a million and one things in this world that will seek to deter you from this, the real purpose of your life — but you must resist them. You must be diligent in protecting and cultivating yourselves into men whose hearts are fixed on God and heaven-bent on helping others be the same.
Boys, I’m here for a purpose and that purpose is far bigger than my life and well-being. You must understand that the same is true for you. Do not let this world press you into its pattern. Run hard after God and you will find that the things that would otherwise distract you from life’s greatest pursuit will have little, if any, attraction. The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize your fullest potential. That, my sons, has value — forever.
My precious sons, I’m here for you, at least for a little while longer. As long as I have the precious privilege of pouring into you, I will live the purpose of my life, which is to help you truly live yours.
ABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.
My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.