Warrior in the Making

Editor’s Note:  This is a letter written by a mentor to a young warrior as he ventures out of high school to his next chapter of life.

CONGRATULATIONS! WOW! High School is over. Done with! History. A new chapter begins. With turning 18, and some college under your belt plus now starting a small business, it seems as if your next chapter will be a busy one! As I’ve told many young men, a lot can happen in a short amount of time!

What I have enjoyed about the times we hangout is your immense ability to grasp and discuss a host of life’s issues all with the intent to bring your life increasingly under the lordship of Christ. You have seen great victories, man!  You are not the same young man you were even 10 months ago. That is awesome! I don’t think I’ve ever met another young man who comes up with so many creative and innovative ideas like you!  God’s wired you with a unique kingdom voice and I am humbled to be considered your mentor. Thank you for being used by God to sharpen me in the process too.

As you ponder your future, I’d like to offer a few thoughts. When you were 16, I shared some similar thoughts from this same passage. You might recall them. They still ring true and the older you get the MORE these apply to your life.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 

Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV

Officially 18, you are now an adult. A man. A warrior who is embarking on a great journey of manhood.  Our culture wants to push men into passivity. To downplay our roles and calls in life. Yet, God speaks clearly in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, that as a man you and I are to “Be watchful” of anything that would pull us down or hinder our walk towards maturity. For some it’s an addiction, for others it’s a narcissistic view of life; where every relationship is for your benefit. My hope is that you grow up and out of yourself and into a man who serves with the grace of Jesus. This world needs more mature men like that!

That passage goes on to say “Stand firm in the faith”.  Meaning, yes, know what you believe and be able to back it up with scripture, but also stand firm means to know how to live out your faith.  When we make choices valuing our relationship with Jesus as the highest, our interest in exploiting even good things dissipates dramatically. A young man (23) I know, loves Jesus, but he got drunk.  Like totally wasted. Like way over the legal limit. He regretted doing stupid. Recently, he texted me that he’s come to realize when he places Christ as supreme in his life, his interest to get drunk suddenly has no appeal. It’s not your parent’s faith anymore. It’s yours. Never stop growing in your pursuit of the Lord. Remember what you and I have talked about many times:  God made no provision for you to live the Christian life. He made every provision for the Spirit to live the life of Christ through you. You don’t have to try harder; only to yield more.  And that is what I see you doing; not perfectly but increasingly do. 

“Act Like Men” At the core of your manhood is your character. Boys want to play. Men work hard. Boys want to avoid responsibility. Men take ownership of their actions. They make things right. They pay the cost, go the extra mile. Be that kind of man. 

“Be strong” Somes guys like to build up their muscles. Physical strength is a good thing, but what God is saying here is to be strong inside. Fortitude. Emotional strength. In fact, true strength is humility. A willingness to come under authority. Strong men endure.

“Let all that you do be done in love” Truth is all of the above is a total waste of time if love does not drive you.  Love has many facets; phileo, agape, and eros. Guys often fall in love with a pretty girl. A gal he cannot live without. As you walk into a marriage, keep in mind, the BEST way to love her is to be a man so yielded to the Holy Spirit that it’s Christ loving her through you.  Not in place of you loving her but Him loving her through you.  Loving others by the Holy Spirit enhances human love. Love that gives and serves and cherishes.

Love is not a push-over. It is the noblest, most life-fulfilling way to be a man.

All the best, man.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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