The Cross-Shaped Christian Life

Steve Arterburn

 

 

The triumph of the cross is the pattern for the Christian life. In the death of Christ we witness the death of death itself. Through the cross, Christ defeated your worst and last enemy. He won the war. And in this same way, you’re to fight the remaining battles, confident that the outcome is decided and in your favor.

 

Reading the gospel sets your thinking in a completely different direction than that of personal potential and self-empowerment’things our society put such a high value to. The gospel calls you to be out of step with the world. You and I must die in order to live. We lose our lives in order to find them. We become strong by becoming weak.

 

Yet we too often lack the courage and conviction to embrace these gospel paradoxes. Instead, we look at our needs, wants, and desires and formulate a plan we expect God to honor in order to meet them. This keeps us focused on getting our own way rather than on releasing God’s redemptive power in our lives.

 

How different this is from praying ‘Your will be done”Jesus’ prayer as He went to the cross. The world looks upon this and sees weakness, vulnerability,’and foolishness. Yet, if you believe the Bible, you believe the apostle Paul when he says the cross is the power and wisdom of God.

 

Men, we’re not better than our Master. Jesus Christ’s life was cross-shaped, and ours should be also.

The Intimidation Factor

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Do you ever feel intimidated when you’re in the presence of a woman? It’s important to examine the situation when you’re feeling anxious or unsettled. If your desire or need to lead and provide isn’t being met, it’s probably best to keep those feelings in check.

 

If you’ve been negative, critical, withdrawn, judgmental, self-pitying, angry, or anything less that supportive and appreciative when in the presence of a successful woman, you need to completely change your attitude. It’s clear that God has gifted women with incredible talents and abilities. If we men are not mature enough to recognize and celebrate those gifts, then we’re the ones at fault.

At the same time, you must recognize and celebrate your own instincts to lead and protect and look for appropriate opportunities to do so, and look for opportunity to discuss this with your successful wife. The apostle Paul exhorts husbands and wives to ‘submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’

I encourage you to examine your relationships with the women in your life. Many men confess to feeling intimidated by women. So ask yourself, What do I do when I see competence or confidence in a woman?  And remember, we are diverse, yet unified; different in gender, yet the same in humanity; we should be more confident and competent together than apart!

Hope And Healing

Steve Arterburn

In recent days I’ve discussed the importance of fathers passing on blessing and affirmation to their sons. But for many of you, this begs the question: What should a grown man do who didn’t receive these gifts from his own father and sees little likelihood that he ever will?

 

The most important thing is not to give up on the possibility of reconciliation. Many men, well into their adult lives, have experienced a healing reunion with a father who never affirmed his son as he should have. People and circumstances change. God graciously intervenes into our broken lives and relationships. And for that reason, never dismiss, abandon, or kill your hope. Many fathers in the sunset years of life have found ways to convey long-overdue blessings, love, acceptance, and affirmation on sons who grew up lacking those precious gifts.

Still, the sad truth remains that for some men this will never happen. For a variety of reasons, a man may be left without the opportunity to gain emotional and personal closure from his own father. In that case, the affirmation and blessing of God the Father is all the more important.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, His Father becomes your Father. You are known, loved, and accepted by Him’regardless of your experience with your earthly father. He is a Father to both the physically and emotionally fatherless. There is healing in Him, which means there is hope for you.