Younger men, you do need guidance from older men. At the same time, the myth that the older generation has it all together must be erased. We don’t. We are learning and growing in many of the same ways young men are.
God has taught older men a number of things, though—through our strengths and weaknesses, through our successes and failures—that he may have intended for you. There is counsel that can ground you in the midst of life’s turbulence (inside of you and around you) and equip you to become more mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
Here are five points that have served me well, as well as the young men I’ve mentored. They are a companion piece with Paul Maxwell’s five things younger men need from older men.
1. Find your identity in Christ.
It might sound cliché, but far and away the most important thing I have to say to younger men is that your identity must be anchored in Christ (Romans 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We all define ourselves in various ways, and some of these are appropriate to an extent. But our identity must, first and foremost, be grounded in Christ. It is in our union with him that we have deep and real security. We are perfectly known and deeply loved (Ephesians 1:4–5).
You might “know” this theologically, but there’s a difference between “knowing” and “knowing,” you know? Each day—often each moment—when you find yourself despairing of love, look to Christ. When you find yourself seeking affirmation, look to Christ. When you find yourself needing to feel significant, look to Christ. When you have been slighted, or treated unjustly, look to Christ (Philippians 1:29–30).
Of course, God gives us people in our lives to help with these things (Philemon 1:7), but they cannot do it ultimately or decisively. Only Christ can bring true contentment, true identity and true security (Philippians 4:11). Stop seeking your vindication and approval, and receive what Jesus purchased in full for you at the cross.
2. Have a plan for maturity.
I don’t need to tell you to grow up. You already know your need to resist our culture’s slipping demands on boys to become men. A boy used to become a man at 21. Then it was 30. Now it’s 40. I know you want to be mature. Desire alone will not mature you, though. You need a plan. Just getting older does not guarantee that you will mature—there are few things sadder than a 36-year-old boy, but they are out there in bulk.
Look around at men who are older than you—maybe 10 years or more. Who do you want to be like? What characteristics would you like to have by the time you’re their age? What would following Christ look like at that stage of life (1 Corinthians 11:1)? Imagine the more mature man you want to be and take specific steps to become him.
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Source: Church Leaders