Exaltation Through Humility

Steve Arterburn

Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.

 

For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.

And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.

But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.

If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.

What’s Needed To Stand

Steve Arterburn

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.

Choosing Friends Wisely

Steve Arterburn

Men, the company we keep makes a big difference between whether we move forward in spiritual maturity or backslide into sin. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:33, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Never consider yourself too strong to heed the apostle’s warning.

 

The book of Proverbs, on the other hand, offers this wisdom for skillful living: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Wood doesn’t sharpen iron; neither does stone. When it comes to intimate friendships, men, like needs like. So with this in mind, you ought to be spending time with people who will sharpen your thinking, support you with prayer, and encourage you with their character.

Friends who live their lives without self-pity and bitterness can nurture your growth. Although it can be good to get input from people who struggle with the same temptations you do, try to spend time with people who have a history of struggling honestly, faithfully, and redemptively with these issues. Whiners, pessimists, complainers, and people with hopeless indifference simply don’t make good friends.

Guys, we all need other people. But none of us need people who will drag us in a direction that goes against God’s high calling upon our lives. We need other men who will encourage us, confront us, and continually nudge us in the right direction. Choose friends like these, and you’ll be choosing your friends wisely.