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Advice from My Grandfather

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For my 16th birthday, my family held a special party for me. Like any other party, I got presents and a birthday cake but this one featured something unique. One by one, each of the men in my family stood up to pass down their words of wisdom about manhood. It was a really special time and a bit overwhelming. Little did I know, my grandfather’s advice was actually his present to me.
As I unwrapped his gift, it was five important tips for honoring God with my life, handwritten in calligraphy by one of his clients and preserved in a wooden frame. I think he was convinced that, as a teenager, I wouldn’t think much of it. But it hung in my room for the rest of my years at home. I intentionally never took it to college with me, scared it would get ruined in the dorm. Today, it’s the centerpiece of my office and I look at it often. It’s advice I would pass on to anyone seeking to honor Christ and attempting great things for him.

1. Discern what’s important. Use God’s Word to decide.

I love this. There is only so much time in the day, so much energy we can expend, and only so much emotional capital we can sacrifice in our lives. In order to make any difference in the world, we have to prioritize what’s most important and be conscious of God’s call in our lives. Knowing God’s Word is the starting point to grasping it.

2. Seek counsel from those you trust…OFTEN.

I’m so thankful for the many men in my life who I can lean on – my Dad, my grandfather, the guys I grew up with, and older men who have mentored me throughout my ministry. I’ve also been blessed with an amazing wife who is my sounding board for so many things. That mixture of peers and advisors in my life has helped keep my pride in check while also protecting me from critical mistakes.

3. Do not manipulate God’s Word to support your views. Rather, seek God’s Word to establish your views.

This is so critical, yet missed by many Christians. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have so many traditions, rituals, and cultural norms that were informed by our history, rather than sound biblical doctrine. Seeking God’s Word and allowing it to critique those norms is painful but it results in a stronger relationship with Christ and a stronger Church.

4. Do something constructive daily to attain your goals.

This is what turns dreams into reality. Those big days where you see major progress towards your dreams are few and far between. In the meantime, God will ultimately bless your faithfulness in the small things. To be honest, I often struggle with this and I imagine many others do as well.

5. Know where you are in life in order to get where you want to go. Assess where you are…OFTEN and HONESTLY.

You can’t make any progress in life, personally or professionally, if you aren’t willing to be honest with yourself. What are you good at? What are you bad at? Where can you grow and what steps do you need to take for that to happen? Who else can help you along the way?

I’m thankful for my grandfather, who has braved life in its best and worst moments. I don’t know where you are in life. You may be in a season of great progress or you might feel completely stuck. Whether on the mountaintop or in the valley, these tips have been immensely helpful to me. I hope they are to you as well. If they are, you can thank Pops.

Posted in: Manhood

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