Four Faces Of Folly

Steve Arterburn

 

As men, we’re called to speak into chaos. But our words must be both wise and well placed in order to offer any aspect of redemption. Consider Job’s friends. When tragedy struck, they were simply incredible. For seven days they were present with Job’comforting and grieving with him.

 

But when they began offering counsel, the situation soured. I think the foolishness of Job’s friends were expressed in four faces, and I think these four faces of folly still tempt us today. See if you can resonate with them.

 

Face Number One: Personal suffering always has a clear reason. Job’s friends were convinced that if somebody’s life is messed up, then there’s a clearly identifiable cause close at hand. After all, trouble doesn’t come out of nowhere.

 

Face Number Two: Good guys always prosper. Job’s friends were sure that, if you walked with God, you’d receive your just rewards in this life. 

 

Face Number Three: Bad guys always roast. Job’s friends believed evil always meets judgment in this life.

 

Face Number Four: If you’re suffering, it’s because you’ve sinned. Job’s friends had ideas about suffering that caused them to needlessly kick Job when he was down.

 

Men, do you have a friend who’s suffering? If so, take care that your words bring comfort to the situation. Don’t let the example of Job’s friends scare you into silence. Just keep in mind that your best guess as to the reason for your friend’s suffering may well be wide of the mark.

The Four C’s

Steve Arterburn

A men’s small group is a great place for getting four things absolutely essential to your spiritual well being’things every bit as important as the vitamins and nutrients needed for physical health. The Four ‘Cs’: confession, consistency, caring, and completion. You’ll be spiritually malnourished without them.

 

Guys who meet frequently in a small group setting care about the spiritual welfare of their brothers. They feel safe to honestly talk about their struggles and challenges. Secrets aren’t allowed to fester and thrive. They lose their power as God’s word’and the encouragement of one another’are brought to bear upon them. And guys in a group watch one another’s backs.

 

Men who are connected to one another in small groups move toward spiritual maturity much more quickly than their brothers who remain in isolation. And they’re able not only to stay there more effectively, but to help others move forward as well. Instead of being spiritual castaways, God’s men have a supporting cast around them.

 

Many men are discovering the life-changing difference such relationships can make. They’re becoming close allies in the battle to help one another run the race of faith well, and press strongly toward the finish.

 

Brothers, there are few things in life more precious than Christ-centered friendships. Don’t be a spiritual castaway. Connect with your Christian brothers ‘ find a group ‘ start a group. You’ll be glad you did.

Get It? Good!

Steve Arterburn

When Rick Warren, my pastor, finishes making a point, he’ll often ask the congregation, ‘Get it?’

To which everyone responds, ‘Got it!’

He then punctuates his point with a hearty, ‘Good!’

The most important word picture Jesus painted of God is that of a loving Father’merciful, yet strong. That’s why God, at times, appears unconcerned with preserving our dignity or catering to our emotions. He’s in the character carving business, and if there is some discomfort along the way, then so be it.

For the man who is willing to trust God’s way and be God’s man, even when it hurts, great reward awaits. It’s important to God that we understand this part of it too. It’s like the experience of a big win in sports’a hard-fought victory that sticks with you. You’re changed by it. And the next time you’re in the heat of battle, you know what to expect. You’re better for the experience.

Throughout your life, you’ll inevitably come to forks in the road. And sometimes, one path may look easier than the other. Never make your decision based on that. In fact, when standing before that fork, it’s often the more challenging path’that is, the path that’ll test your character more’that’s the better path.

Those paths that look so daunting at the start are often the same paths we’re later glad we took. For as Romans 5:4 assures us, perseverance creates character, and character produces hope.

Get it? (pause) Good!