“I’m so afraid… Give me the strength to die well.” – William Wallace played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart
This is the first in a series of letters to my children, that I may turn into a book.
A man’s strength is demonstrated in many different ways, few of them physical. Spiritual, relational, and emotional strength are equally as important, if not more so. God’s word admonishes us to “be strong and courageous” time and time again. Strength is part of being a man. It is essential to being a dad, also.
Don’t worry. You have this strength within you. God gives dads all the strength they need. We just need to rely on Him to help us use it properly. Trust me and Him – You have what it takes to be a great dad, a great husband, a great man. Do not give up. Be strong and courageous.
In Joshua, God commands Joshua to, “Be strong and courageous,” many times (Joshua 1), “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (verse 9) He also admonishes him, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8) This is a powerful verse to memorize, regarding the power of God’s word.
There will be many times in life when you will be tempted to give in to fear. Whenever that happens, cry out to God. “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)
The source of every man’s strength lies in his ability to rely on God. Everything else is just shifting sand. You will need to be able to humble yourself and rely on God. This is vitally important. I’ve seen many men fall because they were unable to humble themselves. It’s the sin that leads to all the others – pride.
It’s not even that I’ve seen men fall into sin. I’ve seen lots of men fall into sin, myself included, but we eventually come to our senses, fall on our knees, and beg for mercy from God. The inability to humble oneself runs deep in some men, so deep that they spend years, decades, their whole lives and even eternity stubbornly refusing to come to God. They think it is a sign of weakness to admit they were wrong.
Son, listen well and hear me: Admitting you are wrong, confessing you are a sinner, is the first step to true strength. It is only the fool that thinks he can fool God (see Acts 5:1-10). This is one of the many paradoxes of life. It is only in admitting you are weak that you find true strength. God is our strength. Never forget that.
You want proof? Read the story of Samson in the Old Testament. It is only by God’s spirit that Samson had any strength at all.
“The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.” – Judges 15:14-15