Perseverance Under Pressure

Steve Arterburn

It’s easy to be God’s man when life is on a roll, isn’t it? But it’s another thing to be faithful in thought, word, and deed when you’re caught in the vortex of life’s storms. Yet that’s exactly when God’s man steps up to meet the challenge with integrity. The message is clear: perseverance under pressure pleases God. Some examples for you might be:

  • Staying the course in the absence of immediate results.
  • Seeking God in circumstances that are beyond your control.
  • Continuing to pray for God’s will to be done in every situation.
  • Doing God’s will whether you feel like it or not.
  • Being satisfied with a reward that may come in the next life rather than this one.
  • Staying sexually pure.
  • Striving for excellence and earning your paycheck, even if you’re not always particularly wild about your job.

Guys, this is what we’re faced with in living life day to day, and persevering is evidence that you’re living a life of faith. And your response both tests and reveals the true depth of your spiritual character.

Martin Luther said that the gospel is intended for your ears rather than your eyes. Why? Because the promises and purposes of God are not readily discernable to your sight. That’s why you’re called to walk by faith. And that’s why you must persevere, trusting in 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.

The Secrets Of God And Men

Steve Arterburn

Secrets aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If they were, God wouldn’t have them. Yet Scripture tells us that God keeps some things completely to himself. The Bible calls these the ‘secret things’ of God. But if it’s acceptable for God to keep secrets, why isn’t it completely acceptable for us men to do likewise?

 

One key difference between God’s secrets and ours lies in the area of motive. Being perfect and pure, God has reasons for keeping secrets that reflect His flawless character. Fallen men, on the other hand, are neither perfect nor pure. Therefore, a man’s motives for keeping secrets are suspect.

 

The bottom line is this, and every man knows it: most of your secrets are kept out of fear’fear of embarrassment, shame, guilt, loss of respect, loss of stature and favor, repercussions, reparations, and so on. In other words, men usually keep secrets for all the wrong reasons. Understandable reasons perhaps, but wrong nonetheless.

 

Beyond being wrong, your secrets are also destructive. They divide you against yourself. They cause isolation and lack of honesty in your relationships with others. And finally, they provide the context in which sin thrives.

 

By way of contrast, exposing secrets to the light of truth robs them of their power to hold and harm you. It fosters humility, creates accountability, and allows you to be restored by the grace and love of God and your loved ones. Men, honesty truly is the best policy.