Caleb

Steve Arterburn

Do you seek the acceptance of others when you make decisions? You’re not alone. Many men seek approval by often siding with the majority viewpoint.  Unfortunately, in our world system, the majority viewpoint seldom gives God and his Word much consideration.

Caleb, however, was a man who saw things from God’s perspective and stood against the majority opinion.  Do you remember his story?  He was among the twelve spies who entered Canaan.  Ten of these spies–a clear majority–believed that the Promised Land couldn’t be conquered.  They came back with stories of impregnable walled cities defended by terrible giants.  They told the people the task was hopeless, letting their fears and the majority opinion decide the course of action.  But Caleb, along with Joshua, differed with the majority.  Caleb agreed that Canaan was well fortified and the task formidable.  But he also believed that even the greatest of enemies was no match for the mighty God of Israel.  He urged the people to believe in God’s promises.

Sadly the people followed the majority opinion and refused to enter the Promised Land.  It’s easy to focus on the obstacles in our own lives–all those things that make change seem impossible.  But you and I can learn from Caleb.  When the situation appeared hopeless, he knew that victory could come by seeking the God who promised victory.  Caleb knew that self-worth isn’t found in the approval of other people, but only in the loving eyes of God.

Joshua

Steve Arterburn

Have you ever experienced the frustration of knowing the truth but no one believed you?  Joshua did’and he had to live with the consequences of this for almost forty years.  

Joshua was one of the twelve Israelites chosen to spy out the land of Canaan.  Their report on what they saw would help and entire nation of people make a decision about entering the Promised Land.  When the twelve spies gave their report, ten said it’d be impossible to conquer the land.  Joshua and Caleb agreed that the task would be difficult, but they urged the people to trust God to help them.  They saw God as loving, powerful, and able to lead them safely into the Promised Land.

The people, however, rebelled and sided with the majority report.  They ran from the responsibility of surrendering their lives to God.  The result of their irresponsibility was tragic.  A whole generation’with the exception of Joshua and Caleb’died in the desert.  

Many of us think we can escape pain by avoiding responsibility and its demands.  What we fail to realize is that we often experience a much deeper pain when we run away from responsibility than we do when we accept it.  Joshua experienced significant pain in his life despite putting God first in his life.  But that pain was used by God to develop him into one of the most effective leaders in all of history.

Battle Strategies for Real Soldiers: Why Accountability Is Important

Dante Poole MA, NCC

“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)

Accountability. It’s one of the words that bring the same reaction as cod liver oil or enema. You know it’s good for you but it doesn’t feel good. For most men isolation is comfortable and hiding is convenient. We are so use to living in isolation and so use to hiding that the thought of letting others into our sick world causes an adverse reaction. It’s as if we were allergic to being vulnerable, having real connection and living honestly.

When we are driven by fear of exposure, we continue to assume the posture and attitude of Adam that began in the Garden of Eden’hiding and ashamed. All the while God is calling for us. Adam where are you? Why are you hiding? Because God knows the true condition of our hearts He calls us back to Himself through meaningful relationships with other believers. It is through these godly relationships that we begin to experience the love of our Heavenly Father.

God understands the importance of connection. The power and source of sustained victory lies in our willingness to connect with others in the realm of truth. Without this connection our faith in achieving long lasting victory looses its grip and we are left adrift clinging to our old sinful ways of coping with ourselves. It is a dangerous and miserable state to be left to ourselves. A reprobate mind is how the bible describes this state. After many attempts to convince us to do it His way, God allows us to experience life on our own self seeking terms. What a mess we are in when we get everything we desire!

We must make a choice to live life on God’s terms as a soldier or on our own terms as a victim. Being a soldier is much more desirable than playing the victim. There is the potential for spoils, honor, and strength for soldiers. Victims always get the short end of the stick. Playing the victim also means others become our victims and eventually casualties of war.

“One who isolates himself pursues [selfish] desires; he rebels against all sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1 (HCSB)

A rebel dressed up in victims clothing!

Whenever we choose not to connect with others we rebel against the mandate of community. Once a choice has been made to engage in the Battle for purity as a soldier certain strategies must be utilized as a necessity for survival. One such strategy is accountability. Success in the battle requires, no demands, community. We must choose to fight and fight together!

If this battle were just about managing our sexuality then we would have found a quick easy solution by now. But there is something much more. Much greater than staying away from lustful pleasures of the flesh. There is something about this battle that calls to a place deep within us. At the very core of our being there is a desperate longing to be a man. Ever noticed how men are drawn to movies and activities that involve danger, a damsel in distress and victory to the underdog!

In every man there is a desire to shed his thin skinned boyhood in exchange for thick, leathery manhood; Unashamed and unafraid. Commingled with this desire is a plea to be in the company of other men engaged in the battle. This company provides a place for three things:

A. The challenge to become extraordinary

B. The opportunity to help create change

C. The freedom to develop real connections

This is real accountability. Not some watch dog sent to protect me from myself, but a ‘band of brothers’ who offer refuge, responsibility and respect. It is within the safety of this network that divine surgery takes place transforming wounds into testimonial weaponry.

Joshua said ‘choose you this day whom you will serve’ (Joshua 24:15). I echo his challenge to you. Choose. Either become a soldier and join an army ready to fight or die as an isolated victim. Join a band of men, soldiers even, and learn the art of war. Let them hold you responsible for carrying your load. Let them help you when the load is difficult to bear. Learn to fight in unity with others to keep from dying in isolation.

Live on fellow soldiers, live on!

For help in the battle for integrity see Every Man’s Battle.