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.

Are You Unappreciated?

Steve Arterburn

Are you unappreciated? I have, on occasion, seen men suffer from a lack of appreciation from their wives. When years of working hard are met with ingratitude, men are likely to grow bitter, and eventually resentful of their wives’and sometimes even their children.

So what can you do if you fear your relationship with your wife is headed in this direction? Worse yet, what if your wife already seems to be silent when it comes to expressing her appreciation of your hard work?

First, it’s important to remember you can never force a true compliment. Gratitude and appreciation stem from the heart. We all know the difference between a heartfelt thank-you and a hollow one. So don’t attempt to manipulate your wife into praising your actions.

Second, check your own heart. Have you become bitter over your wife’s apparent attitude of ungratefulness? Has it begun to taint the way you serve your family? If you find yourself grumbling every time you’re asked to sacrifice something for the family, it’s definitely time for a change. Talk to your wife about this. Open up about how you feel. She may not even be aware that she hasn’t complimented you in a long time.

And along those same lines, make sure you’re giving out praise as well. It’s somewhat unreasonable to expect verbal accolades from your wife if she hasn’t received one from you in a long time. Appreciation flourishes when it’s given, so shower her with kind words.

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.