Spiritual Leadership

Steve Arterburn

 

 

In an article in Psychology Today, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple wrote that twenty years earlier, when he first began to practice, no one ever complained of a lack of self-esteem or of hating himself. Now, he wrote, hardly a week goes by without a patient making that complaint. One young man concerned about his low self-image came to visit him. In fact, the young man and his mother said this condition caused him to beat up his pregnant girlfriend, which resulted in a miscarriage.

The doctor said to him, ‘It couldn’t be the other way around, could it?’

‘What do you mean,’ replied the young man.

‘That your behavior,’ said the doctor ’caused you to have a poor opinion of yourself.’

The patient, of course, wasn’t too happy with this suggestion.

I like the question Dalrymple posed to this young man, and I think it bears consideration. When a man sees himself as inadequate it is for one of two reasons:

Either he literally doesn’t have the ability necessary to be adequate (for example, I am inadequate to perform brain surgery)

Or, he has the ability but has retreated into a passive place.

Have you allowed your passive behavior to create a self-image of inadequacy? Perhaps you don’t feel adequate to lead your family or to love your wife. I think a change of behavior would go a long way toward dispelling this image. Sometimes the head and hands have to lead, to show the heart where to go.

Temptation To Doubt

Steve Arterburn

 

 

The serpent’s words in the Garden of Eden were intended to plant a seed of doubt in the human heart. They subtly called God’s goodness into question, and as a result, challenged the basis upon which God’s trustworthiness rested. ‘Did God really say you mustn’t eat the fruit? Oh, you won’t surely die! God just knows that if you eat the fruit, you’ll become like Him.’

 

Notice how similar these words are to those spoken by the devil to Jesus in the desert. ‘If you’re the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.’ In other words, ‘Come on! Your Father isn’t providing for your needs. Just look at you. But, all isn’t lost. You simply have to trust in yourself. Take matters into your own hands. You are the Son of God, aren’t you?’

 

Both instances suggest that God is withholding something good. They also imply that it’s always bad to be without something we believe would be good to have.

 

In Eve’s case, the serpent implied that being without one particular fruit proved God’s selfishness. In Jesus’ case, the devil implied that being without food was an unacceptable condition for one claiming to be the Son of God.

 

These instances are consistent with what temptation looks life in your own life. Satan wants you to doubt God’s goodness, stray from His promises, and become, in effect, your own lord. Men, think about Satan’s methods and strategies, and set yourselves wholeheartedly against them.

“Me Time” For Men

Steve Arterburn

When I first began reading the Gospels in the New Testament I was struck by several things: Jesus didn’t heal everybody; He was willing to say ‘No’ in a way that would be considered rude today; and He often fled from the masses ‘ he withdrew to rest.

The popular image of Jesus as a passive guy who couldn’t say ‘No’ and who catered to everyone’s beck and call is wrong. He argued, used strong language, said ‘No,’ and walked away. When it came to taking time for Himself, He provided an example we’d be wise to follow.

Men have responded pretty well to the current mindset in our culture that suggests men need to be more involved at home. You probably do housework, change diapers, shop for groceries, play with the kids, date your wife, and help with homework. But having adopted this mindset, many men feel guilty about taking time off for themselves. I don’t mean a ski trip to Colorado. I’m talking more about just taking a few hours here and there to regroup.

Often husbands will stay with the kids while their wives get together with the girls, but they don’t plan similar events for themselves. Do you think your wife needs a break and you don’t? That’s a big mistake.
Friend, if ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,’ it’ll also make him an increasingly dull husband and father. Take care not to let this happen to you.