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.
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.
Women are like flowers. And your wife is like a delicate flower that spends years unfolding, revealing the beauty and grace’and perhaps scars and developmental wounds’within.
There are two parts to this flower-opening revelation: the opening itself and the observing of what is revealed. Flowers have to open up; wives don’t. Even when they do open up, husbands aren’t always sensitive enough to see what’s revealed and take it to heart. I have a feeling that a secret men harbor’namely that they don’t know how to meet their wives’ needs’is precisely because our sensors are picking up the signals we’re getting. Our wives are revealing who they are all the time’even in the so-called negative moments. We simply aren’t studious enough to conclude, ‘This word of mine met a need, but that comment or action didn’t. Guys, we need to be smarter. Make a mental note of these things for future reference.’
What you don’t know about your wife is being revealed as the flower unfolds and the pressures of life change: merging your money, balancing time, respecting preferences, having and raising children, adjusting to personal styles of living. And then there are families. A wife’s sensitivity to her immediate and extended family throws a huge set of variables into the mix.
I encourage you to be a student of your flower. Take notes of this precious gift, and love her accordingly.