Get It? Good!

Steve Arterburn

When Rick Warren, my pastor, finishes making a point, he’ll often ask the congregation, ‘Get it?’

To which everyone responds, ‘Got it!’

He then punctuates his point with a hearty, ‘Good!’

The most important word picture Jesus painted of God is that of a loving Father’merciful, yet strong. That’s why God, at times, appears unconcerned with preserving our dignity or catering to our emotions. He’s in the character carving business, and if there is some discomfort along the way, then so be it.

For the man who is willing to trust God’s way and be God’s man, even when it hurts, great reward awaits. It’s important to God that we understand this part of it too. It’s like the experience of a big win in sports’a hard-fought victory that sticks with you. You’re changed by it. And the next time you’re in the heat of battle, you know what to expect. You’re better for the experience.

Throughout your life, you’ll inevitably come to forks in the road. And sometimes, one path may look easier than the other. Never make your decision based on that. In fact, when standing before that fork, it’s often the more challenging path’that is, the path that’ll test your character more’that’s the better path.

Those paths that look so daunting at the start are often the same paths we’re later glad we took. For as Romans 5:4 assures us, perseverance creates character, and character produces hope.

Get it? (pause) Good!

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. 

Subject: The Fragile Male Ego

Steve Arterburn

Our fragile male egos can easily present a barrier to oneness and intimacy with our wives. One woman made this candid comment that makes my point: ‘Most things in our marriage are his plans and desires.[He never shows me any of his deep feelings, and I can’t say that I’ve ever felt one with him. He once said, ‘If I let you in and show you my feelings, I’d be vulnerable to becoming hurt.”

 

A husband’s refusal to be emotionally vulnerable is a sure sign that his fragile male ego is presenting an obstacle to marital health.

 

Another sure sign that the fragile male ego is at work is when a woman’s gifts and talents are perceived by her husband as a threat to his competency. This is an issue I’ve seen come up time and again in marital counseling.

My point, men, is that an overly sensitive male ego undercuts our ability to be vulnerable and humble’two necessary characteristics for strong and growing marriages.

One of the church’s great theologians was fond of referring to marriage as ‘the school of character.’ That’s because marriage, by its very design, will teach us things like vulnerability and humility’that is, if we’ll only commit ourselves to becoming attentive and teachable students.

The lessons we need to learn aren’t always easy. Yet they’re profoundly rewarding.