Gideon

Steve Arterburn

Regardless of your humble beginnings, God can lead you to a glorious future. But there’s a catch.  You need to be transformed according to his perfect plan.  And you’ll need both faith and courage as you allow him to make the most of your weaknesses, to transform your deficiencies into strength, and to turn your misery into mission.  

Take for example another man’a man named Gideon.  When you first meet Gideon in the book of Judges, he’s discouraged.  He’s a young man with little self-respect.  His clan was the weakest in his whole tribe, and he was the least in his family.  He’s first seen threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding the little food he has from his Midianite oppressors.  An angel appeared and called to him, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’  Gideon certainly didn’t look or feel like a mighty hero, but God knew his potential.  By the end of the story, Gideon had become the deliverer of his people.  His first step toward success was to see himself as God saw him’a ‘mighty hero.’  Then Gideon was able to hope in the possibility of freedom.

No matter how weak or unworthy you are, God is able to transform you into a mighty hero of faith.  Just as Gideon was changed when he trusted God to make him into a powerful man of God, you too will be changed when you allow God’s strength to empower you in your areas of weakness.

Faithfulness Amidst Difficulty

Steve Arterburn

Innocent bystanders often get hurt by the mistakes and poor decisions of others.  Disasters happen that haunt us for life even though we have no direct responsibility for the events that take place.  Often the best way to handle these things is to accept them and to make the best of the situation.  

Daniel and his friends were innocent bystanders.  They suffered a lifelong exile to Babylon because of their country’s prolonged disobedience to God.   But they didn’t let their misfortune destroy their relationship with God.  With courage and faith, they faced the realities of exile and lived successful lives.  Their lives offer us insight into how to deal with tragedy.  

After being taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, Daniel and his three friends were trained for service in the Babylonian government.  Their captors often demanded that they do things that stood in opposition to God.  To protect their relationship with God, Daniel and his friends set clear boundaries for their behavior.  They followed God’s plan for their lives, despite its conflict with the command of their captors.  And God protected these faithful men from the foreign laws and unstable tyrants they lived under.

Although Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon for the sins of their ancestors, they didn’t use that as an excuse for continued failure.  Instead, they trusted God to redeem their lives, and they were determined to live according to God’s precepts and teachings. You can do the same.

Accepting Failure

Steve Arterburn

Whenever something needs to be fixed at Red and Trina’s house, Red feels it’s his responsibility to do the job. Trina’s dad was the fix-it man around her house growing up, so Red wants to live up to his example and his wife’s expectations. The only problem is that Red is hopelessly inept at mechanical things. Whenever he attempts a plumbing, electrical, auto or appliance repair, he ends up going to the hardware store numerous times. First, he has to buy the replacement part. He usually comes home with the wrong size or breaks it while installing it, so back to the store he goes again. And when he’s done, he often discovers that what he’s fixed wasn’t the problem to begin with.

At each level of failure in this process, Red gets angrier and angrier. Strength and success are such highly masculine values in our culture many men feel less than manly when they discover a weakness or experience failure. Like Red, feeling inept in an area where men are characteristically skilled makes them boiling mad. Other men feel the same response when they get laid off or can’t improve their golf score.

Can you relate? Contrary to what you feel, failure isn’t the end of the world. And masculinity isn’t defined by your mechanical ability or athleticism. For a true perspective of what it means to be a man, study Jesus in the gospels. You’ll be both challenged and pleasantly surprised.