Subject: Kicking The Dog

Steve Arterburn

Remember the old phrase, ‘Stop kicking the dog?’ It describes the reaction of someone who’s been hurt or rejected, and then proceeds to take out his emotions and frustrations on those around him’usually family members who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the first place.

 

One way or another, we’re all susceptible to giving the dog a quick boot following losses and hurts that we experience, aren’t we? In fact, you will spend your adult life either making others pay for your pain, or, with God’s help, making them pay less and less.

When a man lives wounded, he withdraws himself from God and people’and that only spells trouble. It compounds the problem. To put it simply: No one likes the feelings produced from blowing it and causing harm to the relationships we deem important. And it’s precisely at this moment that the world, the flesh, and Satan get a better foothold in your heart’and that often results in sinful action you take in an attempt to ease your pain in isolation from God and your loved ones.

That’s one reason why Satan likes for those matters in your life to remain perpetually unresolved: It keeps you distanced from God, destroys your relationships, and keeps you in an ongoing position of extreme vulnerability to temptation and sin. Thankfully, God has the answer for each you, and it comes in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Mind’s Affect Upon Character

Steve Arterburn

Are you interested in an insight that will increase your skill in living? Here it is: The content of the mind creates the character of the man. Think about it. Men who devote the lion’s share of their mental energy to the next toy they’re going to buy are materialists. A guy who’s always maneuvering himself into opportunities to impress others can be classified as a narcissist. Men dwelling on their next orgasmic experience can be described as hedonists.

 

I could go on, but I think the picture is coming into focus. My point, men, is this: the Bible clearly teaches that you are what you think. In other words, a man will take on the identity that reflects the preoccupations of his thoughts.

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that we are influenced by the books we read, the people we associate with, and the dreams we have. Coach Holtz puts this fact of life very aptly. And Scripture says it even better. Listen to Proverbs 27:19: ‘As water reflects your face, so your mind shows what kind of person you are.’

Men, beginning today, I encourage you to seek to be more aware of what you’re thinking about, and how those thoughts reflect where you are in your walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Take good and honest stock of the situation. Then make the adjustments necessary to develop godly character.

You’re Back!

Steve Arterburn

The story of the prodigal son is intriguing because it mirror’s God the Father’s view of you. Like the father in the story, His eyes are always fixed on the crest of the hill, longing to see you coming over the horizon on your way home.

God isn’t the slightest bit preoccupied with whether or not you’re worthy to return to Him. He knows you’re not. Personal worth isn’t the issue at hand. The prodigal son worried about this too. He was certain that his sinful lifestyle had disqualified him’had made him unworthy of being considered his father’s son.

But the father quickly brushed all that aside. ‘What’s this talk about worthiness? You’re back! That’s what matters!’ Their relationship was restored instantly. No paybacks. No shame. No looking back.

Why? What’s Jesus’ point in telling the story? On what basis can the son return? Be careful. Ripping this story from its biblical context distorts its meaning and defuses its power.

Jesus’ point is we’re all prodigal sons. We’ve all taken from our heavenly Father’s generosity, snubbed our noses at Him, and went off to abuse His gifts’using them to cover ourselves in the pig muck of sin!

We can return to Him because we’ve been sought and found by Jesus Christ. His cross has removed everything that separated us from God the Father. So if you’re in the far country, don’t be foolish! Return to the Father through Jesus Christ today.