Pain And Pleasure

Steve Arterburn

 

 

David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.

Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.

We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!

Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.

Obstacles To Forgiveness

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Pastor Walter Everett’s twenty-three-year-old son was shot to death in cold blood. After the killer was behind bars, the pastor had a large, impossible task before him’namely, forgiving the person who so callously cut short his son’s life, and tore the pastor’s heart to shreds in the process.

In the court case that followed, the murderer told the judge and those assembled in the courtroom he was sorry, but his voice and manner seemed insincere to all who heard him. This made forgiveness even more difficult for the grieving pastor.

It’s always difficult to give even an inch of grace to someone whose actions have brought enduring pain into your life. It’s especially difficult when the person doesn’t sincerely exhibit sorrow, repentance, and remorse.

But Pastor Everett knew forgiveness wasn’t an option. Eventually, in an act that amounted to nothing short of sheer determination and stubborn obedience, he composed a letter of forgiveness to the killer.

The pastor later learned that the young man, after reading the letter, had fallen to his knees. Sobbing beside his prison bunk, the killer asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his heart.

When Pastor Everett mailed his letter he had no idea what the result of his obedience would be. And neither do any of us. Pastor Everett had plenty of so-called ‘good’ reasons not to forgive his son’s killer. But he knew that none of them were quite good enough.

Men, who do you need to forgive?

Contemplating The Almighty

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Think about what it means to say that God is almighty. On the one hand, if His power wasn’t expressed to us by love, we’d think He was a monster. We’d have every reason to try to run and hide from Him. Since the almighty God is at the same time the all-loving, all-wise, and all-just God, we’re foolish to resist Him. We actually have every reason to fall down before Him in worship and praise, trusting He is the Almighty and all-loving God.

Men, this is who God has revealed Himself to be. And when we surrender to Him, He becomes our protector’our refuge. David, king of Israel, wrote in Psalm 91:1-2:

‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.’

Surrender to God brings peace’peace produced and preserved by His strength. Under your own rule, you’re subject to the insecurity of self-reliance. Under God’s rule, you’re anchored to the One the psalmist described as ‘the Rock.’ And that Rock is steadfast, unmovable, and completely worthy of our trust.

Let me put it another way: if you and I fail to fear God, we are left being afraid of everything. On the other hand, if we fear God, we need never be afraid of Him’nor anything else.