Where does a young man learn to be the man, husband and father he is called to be, that the next generation needs? Is it through the school of hard knocks called life lessons? Is it through the example set by those men around him during the formative years? Is it via the media’s projection of what marriage and family looks like? All will have an influence on a young man but it is up to him to discern what to conform to.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – Romans 12:2. “…be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” – Romans 8:29. Paul tells us that the world will always be the world. The choice to be made is whether to conform to the pattern of this world or to the image of His Son. A young man is to renew his mind by reading the Word of God. As the Word is read, the image of His Son comes into focus and conformance begins.
On manhood, the most succinct definition I have encountered is provided by Robert Lewis. In his book, “Raising a Modern Day Knight” and in the popular study, “Authentic Manhood”, Robert references the two Adams in scripture for building a clear definition. A real man “rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and invests eternally”. That is a definition that facilitates conformance to the image of His Son.
On marriage, Dennis Rainey and his organization, ‘Family Life’ have much to offer. Locally here in Houston, check out Brett & Kellie Hurst, ‘Home Encouragement’. Scripturally, a man is instructed to “leave his father and mother and unite with his wife and become one flesh” – Genesis 2:24. In the New Testament there are many analogies to marriage in referencing Christ and His Church – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her…” – Ephesians 5:25. Marriage is an opportunity to live a personal, passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ in the flesh, effectively conforming to the image of His Son in relationship with the bride He gave us.
On father, ‘Faithful Fathering’ provides some great resources and a practical strategy to reinvigorate the Church on the fathering front. Scripturally, men are told that, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children…”- Deuteronomy 6:6-7; “…And what does the One God seek? Godly offspring” - Malachi 2:15; and, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”-Ephesians 6:1. Fathers are uniquely designed for and charged with passing on foundational understanding of Who God is and what He has done. Through dads and their leadership in family, conformance to the image of His Son is to be passed on from one generation to the next.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the blessing that is marriage and family. I confess I have allowed the pattern of this world to distract me from Your design. I have been passive to cultural influences and have not prioritized time in Your Word, time for getting to know You. Forgive me. Your design not only simplifies life, it keeps the noise of this world in check and establishes healthy social order in the Church and society. Help me conform to the image of You and become the man, husband and father You call me to be, that the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father is the man, husband and father he is called to be, that the next generation needs.