Denial

Steve Arterburn

Men, you all know someone close to you’someone you’d trust with your life’but someone who struggles to tell you the truth. That ‘someone’ is you! And this self-directed deception is called denial. The Complete Life Encyclopedia defines denial as ‘an inability to see the truth about oneself’. Here’s what denial is: it’s a lie you tell yourself, and after you tell it, you cling to it and believe it.

We all struggle with denial. And it blurs your vision of many things’troubled or destructive relationships, sins you’re unwilling to acknowledge, overly optimistic goals, financial irresponsibility, physical illness, unresolved character issues, self-righteousness, and any number of situations you’d rather not see clearly.

But guys, if you seriously desire spiritual renewal, you must bring the all of your life under the umbrella of God’s grace. Even those areas you’ve closed off, and especially the lies you’ve tried to convince yourself are true.

One of the reasons denial is so dangerous is not only does it blind you to the problems you’re trying to avoid, but it also blinds you to the consequences that avoidance creates. The moment you open your eyes and see things clearly, accurately, and truthfully, you’ll also see the troubling results of your denial.

Yeah, you’re likely to fight with discouragement, and the urge to seek diversions and other ways to feel good. But these are cop-outs: denial in disguise. My challenge to you is that you allow your recognition of the truth to spur you to repentance, and then, to a joyful, grateful response to Him of service.

Help Him Be That Man

Steve Arterburn

 

 

A man once said to D. L. Moody, ‘The world hasn’t yet seen what God can do with a man fully devoted to Him.’ Moody responded, ‘I’m that man!’ One of the differences between Moody’s generation and young men today is that sexual temptations are much more intense now than they were then.

Dads, what if your son were kept free from this draining struggle in the first place? What if his spiritual energy could be spent on God’s call and His Kingdom?

It can be done. Our generation hasn’t seen what God can do with an army of young men free from the burden of sexual temptation and sin. Have you worked hard enough to keep your son pure so that he might qualify for such an army in such a time as this? Can you yourself answer as D. L. Moody did when he said, ‘I’m that man!’

When your son questions what he should watch, how he should respond to the pornography surrounding him, and why he shouldn’t accept the opportunities he’ll have to experiment sexually during his teenage years, will you be there to give him the guidance he desperately needs? It won’t come from his classmates!

Dad, make your voice loud and crystal clear because it’ll likely be the only one which says, ‘Flee immorality, my son.’ And make sure your example matches your message. Stand in the gap, and help your son be God’s man.

Pain And Pleasure

Steve Arterburn

 

 

David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.

Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.

We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!

Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.