Solomon

Steve Arterburn

Americans have traditionally valued a strong work ethic.  We believe the harder we work, the greater our chances for success.  But if unchecked, you can get carried away and you’ll end up devoting all your time to work and lose the balance that allows you to grow spiritually. Are you sacrificing healthy, family relationships, connections, friendships, and your walk with God so you can achieve more and advance in your profession? Perhaps you can relate to Solomon. When he became king of Israel, he asked God to grant him wisdom. Pleased at this request, God gave this young king honor, wealth, and a long life, in addition to wisdom.  

Then Solomon started building the Temple.  He built his palace and fortified his country against intruders.  All of these projects were done on an enormous scale, even by today’s standards.  In order to accomplish these tasks, Solomon sacrificed important relationships with his people, with his family, and with his God.  He taxed his people heavily and required them to work hard on his building projects.  He failed to teach his son how to use wisdom to rule the people.  He also stopped listening to God and disobeyed him by marrying numerous pagan women and by worshipping their so-called gods.

It’s easy to lose yourself in work and achievements and to forget the source of your strength and success.  Whenever anything in your priorities of life is placed above God, it’s time to stop and rethink just what your priorities need to be.

Refusing To Lie

Steve Arterburn

If you truly desire to be the person God created you to be, then you must learn to be truthful and turn away from lying.  Lying can easily become a way of life.  You lie to your kids to keep them from nagging.  You lie to your boss to make yourself look good. You can even lie to yourself.  

Are you trying to cover up your problems and pretend they don’t exist’including your problem with lying?  Like it or not, you must face reality.  When you do, you will see the pain caused by your lies.  You’ll see how they’ve hurt you and your loved ones.

Think about these verses from First Peter and Colossians:  ‘If you want a happy life and good days keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies’ (3:10).  ‘Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds.  In its place you have clothed yourself with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you’ (3:9-10).

If lying is second nature to you, it may be difficult for you to change, but you must!  You must learn to guard your lips and your thoughts from lies, which will hurt you as well as others.  Then you can press on in your spiritual growth to be the person God created you to be.

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.