What is the measure of a man? Is it athletic ability, strength, intelligence, or accomplishments? In Brave and Bold, his devotional for young men, Marty Machowski offers thirty-one daily devotions to encourage readers to become men whose strength comes from following Jesus and reflects him to a watching world.
Machowski explores the truth that becoming a real man means trusting God in every area of life, including serving, taking responsibility, and confessing failure. Through personal vignettes and practical application, men will be challenged to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22) and to be examples of faithfulness, selflessness, self-control, and humble dependence on the Lord. Each devotion calls men to grow deeper in compassion, kindness, courage, integrity, and service.
In the following interview, Machowski offers insight as to why this devotional was so important for him to write and shares what men today really need to know.
Q: Introduce us to your new men’s devotional, Brave and Bold. Who did you write the book for?
I wrote the book for young men who desire to become great men. I believe young men want to do great things with their lives, but many lack a mentor to help them. I wanted to provide a pocket guide to help challenge younger men to excel in all they do.
While my illustrations throughout the book are taken from my experience in the military, the biblical truths I present apply to all men. I wasn’t athletic; my gifts lie in art and music, but I still needed to learn faithfulness, courage, responsibility, and integrity—all key components of true strength in manhood. While the Army did help me increase my strength and push-up count, it was the character building I experienced in those years that helped transform me from boyhood to manhood.
Q: Why did you feel there was a need for this kind of devotional for young men?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 18.3 million children living in this country, 1 in 4 live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. [Source: U.S. Census Bureau. (2020)]. Half of those are boys are growing up without a dad to mentor them. Even more young men grow up with a largely absent dad who does not mentor them. I want Brave and Bold to help fill that void.
Every young man needs a mentor to help him grow. Yet today, far too few men are taking up the charge to disciple the next generation of growing boys. I wanted to produce a resource that young men could benefit from but also provide a tool for older men to use in discipling their sons, grandsons, youth and college ministry participants, neighbors and more.
Q: How do you define biblical manhood in the introduction to the book?
Biblical manhood is not about strength or stature. Biblical manhood is about character in leading, serving, taking responsibility, protecting, and providing. Paramount in this process is our call to lead in our love and worship of God.
Even though I use military and sports examples, the character qualities these stories showcase are important for all men, even those who are not particularly athletic or military minded. Think of King David from the Old Testament. He was considered too small to be presented to Samuel for consideration as king. He tended the flocks while his brothers went to war. He played the harp and composed poetry and song. Yet it was David who demonstrated the courage to defend God’s honor and slay Goliath with a stone. What does God say of David? He is “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).
Q: Why is it important for boys to have mentors throughout their youth as they journey toward manhood? Can you tell us about your own mentors?
There is a saying that men are not born, they are made. The mentors in our life help shape us and give us a pattern to follow. The problem is that too many of our young men don’t have someone to model and teach godliness. My dad mentored me in spiritual things, while my uncles took an active interest to take me on outings and speak good sense to me.
Too often we discount the importance of our example as fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and leaders in the lives of the young men under us. But be sure, they are watching us. Our example is key and our instruction is formative for their growth and development. Using a resource like Brave and Bold makes it easy to disciple young men. Even single moms can use Brave and Bold to disciple their sons in the absence of an active dad.
Q: How old were your sons when you started having conversations with them about what manhood really means?
Training in manhood begins about the time our boys learn to crawl. They need to know things like treating women with respect, starting with you don’t hit your sister. They need to learn and be challenged in their manhood.
Our discipleship increases as our boys grow older. When my boys turned ten, I gave them a manhood challenge and began discipling them in a more formal way. I’ve provided Brave and Bold to older men to use as a tool to disciple younger men and in the process, we too will be challenged in reviewing the areas of character and biblical manhood covered in each chapter.
Q: What are some of the more expected qualities of a man of God that you address? What are some of the lesser-discussed characteristics you examine?
Most guys would expect a book on biblical manhood to include topics such as faithfulness, sacrifice, and honoring women, but they may not expect to see topics like confession, encouragement, and love.
God gives us a choice in life. We can either humble ourselves or he will humble us (Matthew 23:12). Men too often see humility as weakness, but Scripture tells us that humility is strength, for our humility affords us God’s power and strength.
Q: What is the final challenge given in the last chapter?
I end the book with the greatest challenge: to love and forgive. Far too often men think of love as a feminine trait, but we learn from Scripture that love is the epitome of manhood.
The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). The apostle Paul gives this challenge, “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2–3 NIV).
Q: You conclude Brave and Bold by revealing the two greatest measures of a man. What are they, and why do they outweigh all the others?
The Bible tells us says that of hope, faith, and love, love is the greatest and will never cease. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV). Love is the greatest quality of all. This is true for men and women. The greatest expression of love is forgiveness. It is not masculine to hold a grudge, allow bitterness to fill your heart, or to seek revenge. It is easy to give your life to hate, but it is hard to overlook an offense and take upon yourself the loss incurred without demanding recompense. But that is exactly what Jesus did for us.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10), and he calls us to forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness takes courage, faith, sacrifice, trust, initiative, and more. So, it is easy to see why it is such a powerful quality and expression of love.
Brave and Bold: 31 Devotions to Strengthen Men
What is the measure of a man? Is it athletic ability, strength, intelligence, or accomplishments? In Brave and Bold, Marty Machowski offers thirty-one daily devotions to encourage readers to become men whose strength comes from following Jesus and reflects him to a watching world.