Are you interested in an insight that will increase your skill in living? Here it is: The content of the mind creates the character of the man. Think about it. Men who devote the lion’s share of their mental energy to the next toy they’re going to buy are materialists. A guy who’s always maneuvering himself into opportunities to impress others can be classified as a narcissist. Men dwelling on their next orgasmic experience can be described as hedonists.
I could go on, but I think the picture is coming into focus. My point, men, is this: the Bible clearly teaches that you are what you think. In other words, a man will take on the identity that reflects the preoccupations of his thoughts.
Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that we are influenced by the books we read, the people we associate with, and the dreams we have. Coach Holtz puts this fact of life very aptly. And Scripture says it even better. Listen to Proverbs 27:19: ‘As water reflects your face, so your mind shows what kind of person you are.’
Men, beginning today, I encourage you to seek to be more aware of what you’re thinking about, and how those thoughts reflect where you are in your walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Take good and honest stock of the situation. Then make the adjustments necessary to develop godly character.
Remember the old phrase, ‘Stop kicking the dog?’ It describes the reaction of someone who’s been hurt or rejected, and then proceeds to take out his emotions and frustrations on those around him’usually family members who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the first place.
One way or another, we’re all susceptible to giving the dog a quick boot following losses and hurts that we experience, aren’t we? In fact, you will spend your adult life either making others pay for your pain, or, with God’s help, making them pay less and less.
When a man lives wounded, he withdraws himself from God and people’and that only spells trouble. It compounds the problem. To put it simply: No one likes the feelings produced from blowing it and causing harm to the relationships we deem important. And it’s precisely at this moment that the world, the flesh, and Satan get a better foothold in your heart’and that often results in sinful action you take in an attempt to ease your pain in isolation from God and your loved ones.
That’s one reason why Satan likes for those matters in your life to remain perpetually unresolved: It keeps you distanced from God, destroys your relationships, and keeps you in an ongoing position of extreme vulnerability to temptation and sin. Thankfully, God has the answer for each you, and it comes in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.
It takes a great deal of courage and conviction to stand against the financial trends of the day. For example, the over-the-top housing boom of 2004 and 2005 gave most people an excuse to pull the windfall equity out of their houses and spend the money on unnecessary purchases. Or they sold their newly appreciated’and previously adequate’home and moved on up, garnering for themselves a larger piece of the pie, and a bigger mortgage to boot. There’s certainly nothing wrong with selling at the top of the market. But the trend in society is not to save windfalls, or even hard-earned excesses, but to spend them impulsively.
It’s true that Jesus said in the book of Matthew that we’re to take no thought for tomorrow. But these words were given in the context of Jesus saying, ‘Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’ (v. 33). Therefore, the question is: what does it mean to seek God’s kingdom first?
With regard to money, it means to live by the teaching of Scripture: Live modest, frugal, generous lives; work and save diligently as an expression of faithful trust; acknowledge that everything comes from and therefore belongs to God; adopt the attitude of a steward’a manager of that which God has entrusted to you’and seek His approval for what you do with that which is His.