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.

Tying Your Tongue

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes it’s good to just be quiet, and experience silence, and stillness. Not only in our relationship with God but also with others as well. If you’ll read and reflect on James chapter three, you’ll find that Scripture warns us about the use of our tongue. Just think about the damage caused by careless words, gossip, lies, sarcasm, hurtful comments, inappropriate humor and bitter arguments, and you’ll understand why James cautions us about the tongue.

You rememberthe old saying: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’. It’s really not true, is it? In fact, the opposite is more often the case. Broken bones heal much quicker and easier than wounded spirits.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul said, ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them’.

In light of what James and Paul wrote, it should cause you to think about guarding your tongue carefully. From the silence of not answering back when baited into an argument, to not spreading gossip, to forgoing that sarcastic remark that would’ve gotten a laugh at someone else’s expense, verbal self-control is a powerful to bless and encourage others.

What’s Needed To Stand

Steve Arterburn

Men, standing for anything in this life means that, at the same time, you’re standing against something else. And what is true for life in general certainly holds true for the Christian life in particular. Standing for God means standing against the Enemy. And in order to stand without falling, you must do these three things:

Number one: Recognize your Enemy. First Peter 5:8 describes him as a roaring lion searching for someone to devour. You need not fear him, but you dare not take him lightly.

Number two: Understand your need to be humble. Men, the battlefield is no place for arrogance or boasting. Seek the Giver of all good gifts in your time of need. James 4:6-7 promises, ‘He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, ‘God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God.’

Number three: Resist the assault. This means doing whatever you need to do in a time of temptation to cooperate with God’s entrance into the situation. At times it may mean turning to Scripture and prayer. At other times in may simply mean walking away, picking up the phone, or taking out the trash. Spiritual warfare is extremely practical, and it pays off. Scripture says, ‘Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.’

The bottom line is this, guys: If Satan is fleeing from you, he’s surely not gaining a strategic foothold in your life.