Denial

Steve Arterburn

Men, you all know someone close to you’someone you’d trust with your life’but someone who struggles to tell you the truth. That ‘someone’ is you! And this self-directed deception is called denial. The Complete Life Encyclopedia defines denial as ‘an inability to see the truth about oneself’. Here’s what denial is: it’s a lie you tell yourself, and after you tell it, you cling to it and believe it.

We all struggle with denial. And it blurs your vision of many things’troubled or destructive relationships, sins you’re unwilling to acknowledge, overly optimistic goals, financial irresponsibility, physical illness, unresolved character issues, self-righteousness, and any number of situations you’d rather not see clearly.

But guys, if you seriously desire spiritual renewal, you must bring the all of your life under the umbrella of God’s grace. Even those areas you’ve closed off, and especially the lies you’ve tried to convince yourself are true.

One of the reasons denial is so dangerous is not only does it blind you to the problems you’re trying to avoid, but it also blinds you to the consequences that avoidance creates. The moment you open your eyes and see things clearly, accurately, and truthfully, you’ll also see the troubling results of your denial.

Yeah, you’re likely to fight with discouragement, and the urge to seek diversions and other ways to feel good. But these are cop-outs: denial in disguise. My challenge to you is that you allow your recognition of the truth to spur you to repentance, and then, to a joyful, grateful response to Him of service.

Ingredients Of A Blessing

Steve Arterburn

Men, do you want to bless your sons? Here are four essential ingredients for doing so:

1)      The first is identity. Everyone wants to know who they are and whose they are. A boy looks to his father to tell him who his people are and what they believe. Tell family stories and history to your kids.

 

2)      The second ingredient is acceptance. Let them know they belong to you and are a part of the family. It gives them a sense of value and self-worth. The son who gets this from his father knows he’s wanted, he’s valued, and that he has a positive contribution to offer the world.

3)      Next comes modeling. Boys become men in the presence of men. Being male comes by birth; being a man comes through being around and doing things with you and other men. A son will learn how to manage feelings, control emotions, and respond to the challenges of life by how his dad and other significant men in his life do.

4)      Fourth and finally is release. There needs to be benchmarks, rites of passage, significant events and accomplishments in a son’s life where the father recognizes and affirms that he’s becoming a man.

Dad, these four things drive away the fear of adulthood and the concern sons have of not meeting your expectations.

Creating Your Boundaries

Steve Arterburn

Men, establishing personal boundaries is imperative to your spiritual freedom and vitality. These boundaries should be intentional and thought out ahead of time; while in the midst of temptation is no time to attempt to put them in place. They should be determined by and measured against God’s word. And finally, boundaries should be appropriately and strategically customized to your unique life situation and struggles.

 

These are some general guidelines for thinking through how you create and apply boundaries. But what concrete expression might they take in your life? Perhaps a few examples would be helpful. Perhaps your boundaries may include:

         Blocking the pay-per-view option at the hotel front desk.

         Refusing to make low-blow putdowns during marital disagreements.

         Saying ‘no’ when asked to do things on weekends that don’t involve the whole family.

         Never being alone with a woman who isn’t your wife.

         Turning the channel when there’s too much skin and too little clothing on TV ‘ even if it’s only a commercial.

         Refusing to keep self-destructive secrets from your wife.

         Never making a significant financial or family decision without first consulting your wife.

Guys, formulating and committing to personal boundaries forces you to take honest stock of your life both practically and spiritually. It means counting the cost of what it’ll take to build a solid spiritual life, and adjusting your expectations to match the reality of being God’s man.