Choosing Friends Wisely

Steve Arterburn

Men, the company we keep makes a big difference between whether we move forward in spiritual maturity or backslide into sin. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:33, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Never consider yourself too strong to heed the apostle’s warning.

 

The book of Proverbs, on the other hand, offers this wisdom for skillful living: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Wood doesn’t sharpen iron; neither does stone. When it comes to intimate friendships, men, like needs like. So with this in mind, you ought to be spending time with people who will sharpen your thinking, support you with prayer, and encourage you with their character.

Friends who live their lives without self-pity and bitterness can nurture your growth. Although it can be good to get input from people who struggle with the same temptations you do, try to spend time with people who have a history of struggling honestly, faithfully, and redemptively with these issues. Whiners, pessimists, complainers, and people with hopeless indifference simply don’t make good friends.

Guys, we all need other people. But none of us need people who will drag us in a direction that goes against God’s high calling upon our lives. We need other men who will encourage us, confront us, and continually nudge us in the right direction. Choose friends like these, and you’ll be choosing your friends wisely. 

A World Of ‘Help’

Steve Arterburn

 

 

You face unlimited distractions that keep you from looking at yourself and your circumstances, don’t you? You use these things’ like work, sports, food, sex, or stuff’to try and meet legitimate needs in unhealthy ways. In other words, when you crave something you know isn’t good for you, you do so because you’re using it as a substitute for something you legitimately need but that you find has been difficult to acquire or achieve.

 

For example, men with an insatiable desire for status or possessions often have an unmet need for love but are afraid to take the risks that intimate relationships require. Instead they invest their time, money, and energy in inanimate objects’things that cannot surprise, disappoint, or reject them. Other men continually demand perfection in others. More often than not, they’re struggling with their own feelings of inferiority’and ultimately, with their own need to be forgiven.

 

Any intense ‘need’ or desire for a particular activity or relationship is a warning flag that you need to look at it more carefully. You may not know you’re using that activity or relationship as a substitute, but if the thought of losing it makes you fearful, you need to explore the reason why.

 

My point, men, is this: You have legitimate needs. And an important part of seeing and living the truth is finding out what those true needs really are and realizing that your heart won’t be satisfied by counterfeit substitutes.

Are You Unappreciated?

Steve Arterburn

Are you unappreciated? I have, on occasion, seen men suffer from a lack of appreciation from their wives. When years of working hard are met with ingratitude, men are likely to grow bitter, and eventually resentful of their wives’and sometimes even their children.

So what can you do if you fear your relationship with your wife is headed in this direction? Worse yet, what if your wife already seems to be silent when it comes to expressing her appreciation of your hard work?

First, it’s important to remember you can never force a true compliment. Gratitude and appreciation stem from the heart. We all know the difference between a heartfelt thank-you and a hollow one. So don’t attempt to manipulate your wife into praising your actions.

Second, check your own heart. Have you become bitter over your wife’s apparent attitude of ungratefulness? Has it begun to taint the way you serve your family? If you find yourself grumbling every time you’re asked to sacrifice something for the family, it’s definitely time for a change. Talk to your wife about this. Open up about how you feel. She may not even be aware that she hasn’t complimented you in a long time.

And along those same lines, make sure you’re giving out praise as well. It’s somewhat unreasonable to expect verbal accolades from your wife if she hasn’t received one from you in a long time. Appreciation flourishes when it’s given, so shower her with kind words.