Old Habits

Steve Arterburn

All of us have felt the tug of an old habit or former way of life.  And I’m sure you’ve known the frustration it creates as you long for the familiar, even though it may be destructive or may lead you outside God’s will.  At times, the challenge may seem too hard.  Your old life beckons, tempting you with familiar sources of comfort.

Did you know that many Jewish Christians of the first century thought about returning to the Jewish faith?  Some of Jesus’ teachings didn’t seem to line up with the teachings of the Jewish rabbis.  Was Jesus really the Messiah?  Did following him mean they had to give up their old, familiar forms of worship?  Would it be wrong to go back to their old beliefs and traditions?  Did it make sense to follow this new way when it led to harsh persecution?

The writer of the book of Hebrews addressed these concerns of the Jewish Christians.  In this book, they are encouraged to hold onto their faith, to encourage one another and to look forward to Jesus’ return.

What old habits are haunting you?  Addiction? Lust?  Anger?  Spiritual renewal requires that you seek God, surrender your life to Jesus Christ, and follow his ways.  From time to time, you will almost certainly feel a temptation to return to your former ways of life.  But God is more than able to help you overcome and empower you to grow.

Proverbs

Steve Arterburn

Common sense’the idea sounds so folksy and simple.  Oddly enough, however, we seem to have less and less of it.  Perhaps it’s because we’re too busy or distant to learn from our parents and grandparents.  And just as common sense is rare, godly wisdom is also hard to find.  

We all have priorities, whether we’re aware of them or not.  So it’s never a question of having priorities, but rather of straightening them out.  A big part of your spiritual renewal involves sorting out your priorities in accordance with God’s will.  Need help?

The book of Proverbs is all about establishing priorities that please God.  As your priorities become a reflection of God’s will, your spiritual growth will progress.

Another aspect of wisdom is setting personal boundaries regarding how and when to say no.  In Proverbs, you’ll discover a large number of situations where saying no is the wisest option’in family situations, sexual situations, monetary situations, and business situations.

In addition, this invaluable book will provide sound advice for building healthy relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. Here you’re called to be consistent, tactful, and to use discipline.  

Wisdom is a rare commodity these days.  But as God’s man, you cannot live well without it.  I’ll leave you with the key verse of Proverbs, and I hope you will search out the other treasures that can be found in this great book.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Only fools despise wisdom and discipline (1:7).

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.