This month, I watched you make the covenant of marriage with a godly woman. And I can’t help but think of the last 22 years you’ve been in my life and revel in what God has made you to be.
I praise God for how He has shaped you in the last three years especially. I remember a shift in your delight and change in your language as you came to love God first.
You began to wonder at the things of God. You sought to know who He was. And it was amazing to see the ripple effect that fearing the Lord took on your life.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.Proverbs 9:10
You’ve watched me go through a few heartbreaks in my life. You could have run from them, you could have just ignored them. You could have done any number of things that are simply commonplace and thus seen as acceptable nowadays. But instead, to my wonder, I saw you go against the world and quietly take personal responsibility for the pain I experienced by striving to right the wrongs through example in the pursuit of your own marriage.
When you found a woman of godly character, you did not let her slip by. You didn’t hesitate – you saw the gift God brought to you and knew that it was no mistake. You recognized the good thing she was, and sought to honor God by pursuing what could be (Proverbs 18:22).
While you could have kept things simple – at a friendship – reducing the risk of failing her and avoiding taking personal responsibility to grow and lead, you did not take advantage of her in that way. I watched you protect her time and her heart by recognizing them as precious. You did not opt for the cowardly “Christian friends with benefits” route, but sought to honor God in the courageous one of commitment.
When conflicts arose, you did not see it as a sign of an end. You didn’t run. You didn’t sweep it under the rug. Instead, I saw you seek wise counsel from pastors and godly couples with the goal of success. I saw you refuse to surrender to the fight, but instead fight for deeper surrender to Christlikeness.
And when you had done all that, you knew time, money, and age were no matter – you did not delay in doing what was right by her and by God by beginning a life with her as one, with the goal of glorifying God and furthering the kingdom at the heart of it all.
Jared, I thank God for instilling in you an understanding of what love truly is – in the last three years, I have seen you personify Christ’s character as shown in Philippians 2:3. You knew your now wife would be better served and elevated as a fellow image of God if, after seeing what God was knitting together, you pursued her with humility and a deepening trust in what God was doing. You loved God by loving her.
And I saw you, consequently, love and serve God even more. It gave me so much joy (and still does) when we would get together and you would ask questions about God’s character, share how you were witnessing to others, and talk about the ways you were serving Him. It was a beautiful thing to then watch you and your girlfriend intertwine your lives together by serving others as a team. I still am humbled when I reflect on the countless times you worked together to bring me food, company, and help in my struggles – and to know that I wasn’t the only receptor of such grace fills me with joy.
Kingdom work was not neglected in your relationship. It was multiplied.
Jared, through you, God showed me this notion of biblical manhood is not just a far-off ideal that cannot be done. It is possible. And you’ve restored my hope that I do not need to settle, but that I can be satisfied with Christ and, if He wills me to marry, I can wait without fear that I am asking too much. By His grace, you lived His love. You’ll be the first to tell me you’re not perfect – to which I will be the first to respond, oh how true that is, I’ve only known you all your life (*wink-wink*) – but I can confidently say, it is evident that God’s love is being constantly, consistently perfected in you.
I do not deserve such a brother, but I am so grateful I have you.
I pray that your life shines as an example to others that youth, upbringing, and culture give no hindrance to a life of godliness and a relentless love of others when you fear the Lord.
Jared, continue in this fight. Do not forget your vows (I thank God for the ones you wrote, how they praised the name of Christ – they blessed me immensely). Do not give into apathy as you and your wife establish your life together. Stand guard against the easy route of worldly comforts and ambitions. Continue to serve, continue to pursue, continue to love – and not just your wife, but the world, together. If you love her rightly, you will lead her into a deeper love of God because you are loving Him first.
And to your wife – sweet sister. I love you. I praise God for how your strong character, quiet spirit, and love for God has challenged my brother to rise up and become the man He is today. God has used you in his life and mine. My brother chose so well – I am blessed beyond measure that you are the one who became my sister by marriage.
Jared, I will leave you with these passages on life and godliness, outlining what biblical manhood entails:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.Philippians 2:1-7
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, emphasis added
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.Colossians 3:19
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.Ephesians 5:25-28
Her children rise up and call her blessed;Proverbs 31:28-31
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.Romans 12:3
For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.1 Thessalonians 2:5-7
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:16
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
Today, there is much debate on what biblical manhood means. As you continue to grow older, you will encounter all kinds of views on the matter – many will lean towards either allowance for cowardice or establishment of authoritarian hierarchy. But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), which demolishes all ideas of weakness masquerading as humility, or machismo bravado masquerading as courage.
Our Lord and Savior gave us the best example of manhood through servitude to claim victory over the evils of sin and death, redeeming humanity. It seems a paradox that cannot be mastered – this tenderhearted masculinity – but the One that dwells in us enables you to do it (2 Peter 1:3). Brother, I urge you to continue to walk the path He walked, as you have been. The world needs men like you.
All my love,