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. 

Communicating With Women

Steve Arterburn

When Esther started dating Robert, she felt there was something different about him. He was quiet and stoic, and never got excited about too much of anything except when it came to his favorite West Texas football team. When they were playing, he became a different person, full of energy and expression. But other than those games, very little sound or passion came from Robert.

 

One day Robert took Esther out on a ski boat. He had flowers and wine. And after dinner he held her hand, and while processing said three words she’d never hear again, ‘I love you.’ Esther said yes to a life of quiet devotion.

Don’t get me wrong: Robert was a good man. He was faithful, hardworking, and generous with his wife. He cared for her when she was sick and listened intently when she told him of things that happened to her. But until the day he died, he’d only said, ‘I love you’ one time’the night he proposed to her.

Robert’s an extreme case of a man’s difficulty in expressing himself. But Esther and Robert’s story isn’t that far out when we consider the number of men who struggle to communicate with the women in their lives.

Do you choose to express you feelings by working hard, remaining faithful, and being a good father and husband? Your wife may appreciate these efforts. But remember: she still longs to hear you verbalize not only your love but also what you think about and feel.

Spiritual Inadequacy

Steve Arterburn

Do you feel spiritually inadequate’especially when you’re around women? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone. In a survey for my book The Secrets Men Keep we discovered that sixty-eight percent of men feel sometimes they don’t measure up to women spiritually.

 

Did you know that your feelings of inadequacy have ancient roots? In the book The Silence of Adam the author goes into penetrating detail about Adam’s failure in the garden of Eden to confront the serpent who was tempting Eve. His point is that Adam was silent when he should have spoken up. He was silent when he didn’t rebuke the serpent and stand between his wife and the tempter. And he was silent by not speaking to his wife and challenging her as she contemplated sin.

 

Apparently Adam felt inadequate to speak up in that situation. Whatever he was feeling’inadequacy, intimidation, fear’he shouldn’t have been. God created Adam first and then created Eve to be his helper’not vice versa. As politically incorrect as that may be, it’s the record of Scripture.

 

Adam should have intervened. Why he suddenly chose to clam up and stand by while his wife disobeyed God’and then joined her in that disobedience’is a mystery unsolved. And a struggle that continues for men. I encourage you today to battle the urge to be silent and to instead use your strength to bless.