As men, we’re called to speak into chaos. But our words must be both wise and well placed in order to offer any aspect of redemption. Consider Job’s friends. When tragedy struck, they were simply incredible. For seven days they were present with Job’comforting and grieving with him.
But when they began offering counsel, the situation soured. I think the foolishness of Job’s friends were expressed in four faces, and I think these four faces of folly still tempt us today. See if you can resonate with them.
Face Number One:Personal suffering always has a clear reason. Job’s friends were convinced that if somebody’s life is messed up, then there’s a clearly identifiable cause close at hand. After all, trouble doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Face Number Two:Good guys always prosper. Job’s friends were sure that, if you walked with God, you’d receive your just rewards in this life.
Face Number Three:Bad guys always roast. Job’s friends believed evil always meets judgment in this life.
Face Number Four:If you’re suffering, it’s because you’ve sinned. Job’s friends had ideas about suffering that caused them to needlessly kick Job when he was down.
Men, do you have a friend who’s suffering? If so, take care that your words bring comfort to the situation. Don’t let the example of Job’s friends scare you into silence. Just keep in mind that your best guess as to the reason for your friend’s suffering may well be wide of the mark.
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.
The myth that real men are sexual dynamos is widely accepted, and gets strong support in the media—particularly television and film. The man on the screen who’s perceived as truly manly is ready at the slightest sign of female interest, and the encounter is always a smashing success.
Guys, the media’s depiction of sex comes straight out of Fantasyland. In the real world, a man’s readiness for intimacy with his wife can be dampened by a number of factors: illness, a bad day at work, a good football game on TV, or a large number of other things. The man who compares his real life situation with the dynamos on TV may be tempted to panic and wonder if something might be wrong with him.
The myth of the perpetually ready, willing, and able male promotes deep feelings of inadequacy in many men. And when they feel inadequate and out of control in this area, the temptation to become angry is never far. In fact, some of the most violent men psychologists counsel are those who suffer from some form or another of sexual impairment.
For the vast majority of men these fears and frustrations are unfounded. In other words, relax! The more confidence and inhibition you have in this area of your marital relationship, the more you’ll see through popular mythologies. And the better you feel about yourself the less anger and frustration you’ll experience as a result.