“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”2 Timothy 2:1–2
The greatest battle we face as men is the battle for truth. Our enemy the devil is a deceiver and the father of lies. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). From his first appearance in the garden and his lies to Eve, Satan has been at work sowing falsehood and undermining God’s truth.
Our faith is the most essential manhood skill we pass on and one God directs specifically to men to teach their children (Psalm 78:5; Ephesians 6:4). As men, we live our lives before God and man. The boys growing up around us watch our lives and learn. There is more at stake from the choices that we make than our own life’s consequences. Young men tempted by their sinful nature will eagerly adopt our ungodly example or philosophy if we offer one. Godliness requires repetition to stick, but wickedness needs just one demonstration to sanction a young man to give it a try himself.
When you consider that nearly one in four boys grow up without a dad present in their home, you begin to realize the immensity of the problem. “During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent.” The call to pass our faith on to the next generation is also a corporate call to the church. Asaph said, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 78:4). It is time for men to step up to their responsibility to disciple the young men in their homes and to stand in the gap for fatherless homes by passing our faith to the next generation.
Jesus commanded the disciples to pass on what they had learned. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).
The apostle Paul took Timothy under his wing, a young man whose dad was an unbeliever. Paul’s exhortations and encouragements toward Timothy provide a great example. He told young Timothy,
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:12–16).
In his address to the Corinthians, we see Paul’s affection for his young disciple, but we also observe how having trained Timothy, Paul now deploys him to carry on the work of minis- try. “I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:16–17).
While Paul’s discipleship of Timothy is that of a pastor raising a younger man into vocational ministry, Paul’s efforts still stand as an example for us, for we are all called to pass to the next generation the truth of the gospel and the wonders God has done (Psalm 78:3-4).
Every man should realize that his life stands as a living example before a younger generation. Moses first commanded fathers to uphold the commandments they were called to pass on to their children (Deuteronomy 6:4–6). Our example doesn’t just tell them to do something; it shows them how to do it. So we pass on our faith by what we say and by what we do. Men, we are all called to disciple.
Take time to meditate today on Matthew 28:18–20:
Begin by identifying one person in your life you can disciple. If you are a father, then start with your sons and daughters. If you have a younger brother, your mission is also clear. Others should look for younger cousins, nephews, coworkers, or neighbors. Not all discipleship is formal. The most important thing we do is to provide our godly example and invite others to follow. Take time to prayerfully identify the younger men God has placed in your life and purpose to set a good example before them.
Excerpted from Brave and Bold: 31 Devotions to Strengthen Men © 2021 by Marty Machowski. Used by permission of New Growth Press. May not be reproduced without prior written permission.
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.