Single-Minded Devotion

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Have you chosen to seek God and surrender to him?  Are you seeking His direction of your life?  Even if you are, if you’re like me you probably still choose to take the occasional detour.  Do you continue to keep options open to do things you know you shouldn’t be doing?  Living a life like that will fill you with guilt, shame, anxiety, fear and keep you from living the abundant life.

In order to help you guard against this kind of behavior, James wrote, ‘So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.  Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done’.

Don’t you love James? He doesn’t sugar coat things. He gives us a coat of tough love.

Even those of you mature in the faith face decisions and have to make choices every day.  It’s both the hardest and easiest thing you’ll ever do. In your surrender, you draw close to Him, and in turn He’ll draw close to you, just as James tells us.

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.