Looking For A Few Good Men?

Will Robinson

Happy Father's Day!

It is the tendency of boys and young men to want to play games. Many boys today grow up playing sports and video games without ever having been given any real responsibility or work to do. Consequently, when these boys grow up and get married, they are not quite ready for responsibility, and they are not ready to give up their games. I recently read about a guy who told his wife he would marry her only if she promised to never interfere with his playing softball.

At the time he played about 300 games a year. For others it is hunting, fishing, or golf that comes first. You fill in the blank. Wives and children are neglected so that "boys" can still play with their toys. Time to grow up, guys! The neglect of wives and children is only a symptom of a bigger problem, however. The problem is that some men are not disciplined, they do not take life seriously. What does it mean to be "disciplined"? It can be translated "sensible or self-controlled". It means to "think of one's self soberly." In Romans 12:3 Paul said, "I say, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly." In other words, stop being so cocky. You are not as great as you think you are. Humble yourself and think rationally in your self-assessment. Watch out for pride. The great Bible commentator Matthew Henry once said, "for there are more young people ruined by pride than by any other sin."

The word "sober-minded" means "to curb one's passions". It is the idea of exercising self-restraint. Young men tend to throw off self-restraint. Two areas in particular that young men tend to throw off restraint are with sexuality and authority. Guys must discipline themselves and control their passions and thoughts, lest they enter into sinful lust. Younger men also tend to be impatient with established authority. They need to learn to respect their fathers, their elders and all those in authority, as the Bible teaches. Ex. 20:12 (NKJV) Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Young men need to be "exhorted" or "encouraged" to learn self-control. While older women were to train the younger women, Paul gave Titus the task of encouraging the young men. Titus 2:6-8 (NKJV) 6Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Paul told him to come along side them, as an example and encourage them. He was to be a player-coach. Encouragement is not the same as barking out demands. It involves a reasoned approach that is careful at all times not to err in the direction of over scolding and excessive anger. It is not the approach of the Drill Sergeant who demands compliance to his every whim, but rather, the approach of the football coach who, with his arm around the player says, 'OK, now let's get in there and do the job - I know you can!" Parents, especially fathers, if ALL you are doing is demanding and scolding, and there is no encouragement to your boys, or girls for that matter, then you will seriously turn them off and run them away. Ephesians 6:4 in the Amplified Bible says, "Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger - do not exasperate them to resentment - but rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline in the counsel and admonition of the Lord."

As a young father, I naturally wanted my boys to grow up and become strong men. I wanted them to be tough, so I was tough on them. But if I would have been too tough without providing them love and support, then my boys would have grown to hate me and perhaps the God I professed. Instead of provoking your children, especially boys, to anger, you fathers must affectionately and encouragingly disciple them. Win them over with tough love, but love nevertheless! I'm not saying that you are not to command obedience and respect. I'm not saying you don't need to get the rod out and spank them - you should. But that must be coupled with love and encouragement. Your goal in all of this is that they become mature, sober-minded men of God. Fathers, if you and the single men in this church develop this quality, then you will shame the enemy and be victorious as soldier in the army of the Lord.

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