Dear son in the faith,
First, I want you to know that there are great temptations when you are young, gifted, and as capable as you are, to minister out of your ability in order to feel significant and successful. Learn not to do this. Living a life of true dependance ( 2 Cor. 12:9–12) does not ultimately come voluntarily. That’s why even the great Apostle Paul needed a persistent thorn in the flesh. The Lord will bring thorns into your life through times of suffering, great disappointment, and pain. I want to lovingly urge you to embrace these times as God’s powerful instruments for change in you. Pride and arrogance can be as relentless as an angry pit bull which has latched on and won’t let go. This seems especially to be the case for those who are bright, gifted and highly affirmed for these qualities by others. Never forget, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Fear His opposition and long for His grace. The accompanying promise is that as we humble ourselves He will exalt us in due (His) time. This is not an exaltation that in any way robs Him of His glory, but an exaltation which renders our lives faithful, fruitful, and influential.
Second, love your wife deeply as you study and know her, and as you serve her in ways that lead to her feeling deeply cherished. Pray for your kids many times throughout the day, and show and tell them often that you love them and so proud of them. Hug them tightly, even when they are grown. And affirm them for the person they chose as a life partner. When and if you are blessed with grandchildren, love them, laugh with them, and be more patient and fun with them than you are with anyone else on the planet. Young children don’t seem to warm up to impatient, stoic grandpas.
Finally, remember that life is both a battle and a marathon ( 2 Tim. 4:7–8). Fight well and never quit. It’s the GOOD fight, which means it is the kingdom fight and the eternal fight. It is worth it to be in this battle and race, because the One for whom we fight and run is the Lord of the Universe and the Savior of the World. In all ways live so that “He may increase and You may decrease.” To Him be all glory.
From one who both loves and believes in you,