By Peter Petroski
Believe it or not, there is a universal war going on and it’s called the Legacy war. It’s in your home, attacking our children, our Churches and on TV every day. Check out TV commercials – the evening shows now considered normal were forbidden in my childhood. What the world considers normal today was not permissible on TV just one generation ago.
invest your time and effort in others
How many men today are striving to be a Man of God? I pray my grandkids will remember me as a Man of God who made his living in the insurance business, not an Insurance Man who went to Church on Sunday. Is it enough to decide for Christ, go to Church on Sunday and sit back and watch?
Yesterday, during one of my discipleship meetings with a young 30ish Christian man, he shared his struggle with a sin issue and that he recently relapsed. He asked me to sponsor and work him through the fourth step of the 12 Steps. I asked him how much time he spends in the Word and he said a couple times a week. His job is working with struggling addicts in a residential secular recovery facility. He and I have been going through Getz’s, The Measure of a Man book for over two years. I looked at my notes from our first meeting; we discussed the need for daily Bible study, prayer, accountability Church involvement, and weekly attendance in a faith-based recovery group like Celebrate Recovery. I knew he was not doing most of these, so I wasn’t surprised he relapsed in the ongoing sin war all around us. I did not accept his request to sponsor him and work the fourth step. I told him no one ever died for a copy of the Twelve Steps! The power for lasting recovery is the Bible, not the twelve steps. I suggested two things, pick up a copy of Neil Anderson’s Bondage Breaker and start daily Bible reading. He agreed to both and we will continue to meet.
The Legacy issue is something I discuss with all the men I disciple. To represent Christ is a calling that requires a commitment most are not willing to consider. My challenge to men I agree to disciple is: 2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
I expect that anyone I agree to invest my time and disciple must be willing to reproduce and prepare for spiritual attacks because like it or not, we are in a spiritual war! In my humble opinion, Christ gave us the tools to fight back and it is all found in the Bible. Starting with Christ’s last words before he arose to Heaven in Matthew 28:18-20:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
A relationship with God
If you are a mature Christian, a Pastor or Elder, my question is who are you discipling? What is more important than the Great Commission? There are several other verses to encourage men discipling men and women discipling women. Some great ones are: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 27:17, Galatians 6:2, James 5:16, 19. If you feel inadequate, unequipped, or that you do not have a degree in Bible, I am there too. I was discipled for 15 years by a Pastor that does have a Doctorate degree and 25+ years’ experience as a Pastor but I am taking 2 Timothy 2:2 to heart.
Building one’s legacy is about pleasing God, building your relationship with Him, being purified and sanctified. This does not take place by going to Church once a week and looking for an opportunity to take someone under your wing. Its first getting to know Him better. When I gave my life to Christ I came from a background of not liking Church people, never attending Church, and I called myself an Agnostic. This was a safe way to appeal to those who were like me and it sounded safer than being an Atheist. When I asked Christ to take away my desire for alcohol, he did, and I committed to serve Him forever. This was something I ended up realizing I could not do on my own. I started attending Church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, Wednesday night prayer meetings, small groups during the week and being discipled every Monday morning. This went on for years and I came to understand how important the Great Commission is and should be for each of us.
Today, my day begins doing devotions, reading and studying the Bible, Daily Bread, Utmost for His Highest, Celebrate Recovery Devotional and John Maxwell’s A Leaders Heart Devotional and the Experiencing God Devotional.
Preparing and winning the war on your legacy
Ephesians 6:1-20 reads:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer, getting involved in your Church, and seeking opportunities to connect with other men will prepare you for the War we are facing today. Don’t kid yourself to believe our schools or even your Church will protect your children or grandchildren from the influences of today’s world. Walk the talk, be an example for your family and friends; it’s not too late to start.
Using useful Resources
The relationships I have with the men I am discipling have made them my closest confidants and friends. It is very rewarding, and I give it all to Christ, because he doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called! If you are wondering how to get started, the books I use for discipleship are the following:
Measure of a Man by Gene Getz
Fundamentals of the Faith by John MacArthur
James, Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life by John MacArthur
Multiply by Francis Chan
Nurturing your offspring
I also meet with my 10-year-old grandson every Thursday as his father is not involved in his life. We do his school homework if he needs help, then his Bible Study which can be Bible verses he looks up in his Bible to review and discuss. Also, I buy puzzle books at the Christian book store that are faith based and review Bible stories and have challenging puzzles we do together. We also go hiking, bowling, check video games, go to movies and stop for dinner. Sometimes I just listen…kids need our undivided attention, to be encouraged, loved and we need to embrace their strengths and likes too.
We have a responsibility to be that example, to show Christ’s love, to be transparent and willing to invest time in others. Its far more rewarding than any toy, car, job or trip I have ever taken, especially when someone you are discipling starts to see the vision of 2 Timothy 2:2 – they start to disciple, mentor and help others.
What will people say at your funeral or celebration of life? What impact do you have, or what is your Legacy?
If nothing or you don’t know, its time to embrace and fight the legacy war.
Peter Petroski retired from 45+ years in insurance, serve as Associate Pastor working with men, some of which are in recovery or prison.