When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
Men have needed other men for centuries. Whether in the trenches or on the field, being part of a band of brothers is a sacred thing. Proverbs shows us that it is critical to have a brother to stand with us through adversity. To overcome pornography, we will need such a man.
Let the Proverbs guide you:
1. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” - Proverbs 17:17 The proverbs extol the value a faithful friend who has your back through thick and thin. They love at all times not just when you are doing well. When the stresses are running high because you blew it again, or when the time of adversity is imminent because your wife is done and ready to leave you, this brother calls you to greatness. They never give up on you or on your sincere desire to honor God with purity and integrity. Find a man like this.
2. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17 Your accountability partner needs to have “teeth.” You don’t need some pathetic wussy who tolerates your excuses and simply gives you a pat on the back saying, “better luck next time.” You want a man who creates sparks when he clashes with you like steel on steel. He cares deeply enough to confront and sharpen you by clear, direct advice and by telling you like it is. His perseverance is designed to bring the best out of you—God’s design for you. Find a man like this.
3. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 Remember: you are the average of the five closest friends you hang around with. Who are the quality God-fearing men in your world? Who can you count on? Those that are all talk with no follow through are the undependable type that won’t be what you need. Look for men of character—like a brother—who sticks close and isn’t a “no show.” Avoid ruin by getting connected to one who is trustworthy and consistent. Find a man like this.
4. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” - Proverbs 27:6 Sure, it might sting for a while, but don’t doubt this guy. Listen to what he says even when it hurts you. Know he has no other motive for speaking straight to you but that he signed on to walk with you in overcoming your impurity issue. Though it is about trusting in the Lord to overcome the porn, be sure to thank Him for a man who will speak the truth to you. Have confidence in his perspective. Find a man like this.
5. “The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.” – Proverbs 27:10 Look for a sincere man who takes seriously the role he will play in your life. His heartfelt approach with both his convincing and convicting manner screams that he loves you. His counsel is wise and good. Out of his compassion for you, he urges and compels you to do what is right. That is a good friend. You’ll look forward to seeing this guy because he always brings hope and leaves you feeling encouraged. Find a man like this.
6. “Instruct a wise man; he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man; he will add to his learning.” - Proverbs 9:9 Face it. What you have been doing hasn’t given you freedom from your addiction. You will need wise and righteous input to overcome the hold porn has on you. You’ll need to learn new ways of doing things. Your way isn’t working. Righteous influence is the best. God’s way works. Be wise enough to receive instruction—to add to your learning. Be a man like this.
7. “A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than one hundred lashes a fool.” – Proverbs 17:10 You like being confronted? Yeah, right. Nobody does. The more aware you are of this battle, the more you know you need outside input to win this war. Ask God for an attitude of humility. It’s not simply a matter of discipline or the lashes might work. It’s surrender to God and the help of others. You need to listen and accept. Rebukes need to impress you. Why? Because you can see the bigger picture of the transformation needed. Be a man like this.
8. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” - Proverbs 28:13 Break the silence. Quit playing your little secret game as if nobody knows and it’s not affecting you or your marriage. Hiding your problem won’t bring you freedom. Things will turn around to the level you get honest with yourself, God, and others. With the confession and repentance comes the victory. You’ll receive mercy from God, and over time, grace from your wife. Be honest. Come clean. Be a man like this.
9. “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright of heart.” - Proverbs 14:9 Take responsibility for your problem. Don’t blame others. Deal with the guilt God gives you for your bad choices. Never say, “it’s no big deal” when God says that it is. Push for an integrity that will first honor the Lord and then will win your wife’s trust back over time. The Godly man is one who acknowledges his sin, makes the changes and then seeks reconciliation. Be a man like this.
10. “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” - Proverbs 7:24-27 Don’t kid yourself. Pay great attention, men! Your porn problem has got to end. It will destroy all that is dear to you. Make the choice to seek help until you find help. Don’t be a victim regardless of what you have been through. Choose to get off the highway to hell. Be a man like this.
This blog post was written by Dr Dave Currie. The original post can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/03/proverbs-about-accountability/
BE A MAN.
It is high time you realized that your wives are under attack today! Everything they have been taught from earliest childhood is being subjected to ridicule and scorn. Hardly a day passes when the traditional values of the Judeo-Christian heritage are not blatantly mocked and undermined.
--The notion that motherhood is a worthwhile investment of a woman's time suffers unrelenting bombardment.
--And the idea that wives should yield to the leadership of their husbands, as commanded in Ephesians 5:21–33 is considered almost medieval in its stupidity.
--And the concept that a man and woman should become one flesh, finding their identity in each other rather than as separate and competing individuals, is said to be intolerably insulting to women.
--And the belief that divorce is an unacceptable alternative has been abandoned by practically everybody. (Have you heard about Sue and Bob?)
--And the description of the ideal wife and mother, as offered in Proverbs 31:10–31 is now unthinkable for the modern woman. (She's come along way, baby.)
--And the role of the female as help-meet, bread-baker, wound-patcher, love giver, home builder, and child-bearer is nothing short of disgusting.
All of these deeply ingrained values, which many of your wives are trying desperately to sustain, are continually exposed to the wrath of hell itself. The Western media—radio, television and the press—are working relentlessly to shred the last vestiges of Christian tradition. And your wives who believe in the spiritual heritage are virtually hanging by their thumbs! They are made to feel stupid and old-fashioned and unfulfilled, and in many cases, their self-esteem is suffering irreparable damage. They are fighting a sweeping social movement with very little support from anyone.
Let me say it more directly. For the man who appreciates the willingness of his wife to stand against the tide of public opinion--staying at home in her empty neighborhood in the exclusive company of jelly-faced toddlers and strong willed adolescents--it is about time you gave her some help. I'm not merely suggesting that you wash the dishes or sweep the floor. I'm referring to the provision of emotional support...of conversation...of making her feel like a lady...of building her ego...of giving her one day of recreation each week...of taking her out to dinner...of telling her that you love her. Without these armaments, she is left defenseless against the foes of the family--the foes of your family!
But to be honest, many of you husbands and fathers have been thinking about something else. Your wives have been busy attending seminars and reading family literature and studying the Bible, but they can't even get you to enter a discussion about what they've learned. You've been intoxicated with your work and the ego support it provides.
What better illustration can I give than the letter quoted on page 94. It came from a desperate woman whose husband is rarely at home, and even when he's there he has nothing to say. He prefers the company of Paul Harvey, who asks no questions and expects no answers. Furthermore, he's a first-class punkin eater." You know the story.
Peter, Peter, Punkin Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
Put her in a punkin shell
And there he kept her very well....
Yeah, Old Pete has got his little woman right where he wants her. She's cooped up in a house with two children under three years of age, changing diapers and wiping noses and cooking meals for him and Mr. Harvey. That's some existence for living, breathing, female with deep needs to be loved and respected. Not only does Peter not intend to met those needs, but he forbids her to take them elsewhere. He doesn't even want her to go to a Bible study class because, would you believe, he fears his kids will catch a disease. Never mind the disease that is choking the life out of his wife—the disease called loneliness. To the wives of all the world's punkin eaters, I say, "Go to the Bible study class anyway!" Submission to masculine leadership does not extend, in my opinion, to behaviors that will be unhealthy for the husband, the wife, and the marriage. Nor should a woman tolerate child abuse, child molestation, or wife beating.
The message could not be more simple or direct to a Christian man: the Lord has commanded you to "love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, giving His life for it." She needs you now. Will you fit her into your plans?
This post was written by Dr James Dobson. For the original post go to: http://www.drjamesdobson.org/articles/pray-for-america/message-to-husbands-of-homemakers
BE A MAN.
I’m a dad of two little girls and one little boy.
And when my little girls play with dolls, I play too.
Does that make me less of a man? Does that make me effeminate? Does that make me a bad example for my son?
No. Because I think the best question hasn’t been asked yet.
The better question is, “Does that make me my daughter’s hero?”
Yes— and that’s all that matters.
Now, when I’m playing dolls with my daughters and when my son comes in the room, should I let him play? That seems to be a sticky question in today’s evangelical world.
The answer of a certain segment of the Christian population is, “No.” They fear men in America are becoming less masculine. They fear men are becoming increasingly effeminate. And while I’ve never read them make such a statement, my guess is that my playing with dolls is a bad example for my son, according to them, after all, I’m the primary model of masculinity in his life.
But I couldn’t see things more different than this group of Christians. Not only do I say, “Yes” to the question of whether can my son play dolls with my daughters and me, but I invite and encourage him to do so, whether I’m present or not.
The roles a child embodies at play reveal and create the roles they come to value as an adult. Play helps them accept themselves and others as God created us, and therefore is essential to a child’s social and psychological development. For that reason, I intentionally participate in my children’s play, and I invite them to play in a way that fosters the kind of adulthood I want to see grow in them.
I invite my son to play with dolls because I want him to learn from an early age that holding babies is not just for women, that it’s okay for a man to be tender, that “women’s work” isn’t beneath him, changing diapers is part and parcel of masculinity, and that being a great dad means getting on the floor and playing dolls with your kids.
I want my son to see that true masculinity is not defined by the machismo, culturally conditioned views of certain Christians, but is defined in the incarnation of Jesus, who humbled Himself, took on the role of a servant, and disregarded certain strict social boundaries in order to proclaim a God who, like a tender mother hen, desires to gather His children into His presence and love on them.
At some point, the evangelical world needs to see that, if our fears of our sons becoming less manly, or more effeminate stop us from playing dolls on the ground with our children, then our actions are less motivated by the gospel and more motivated by fear generated in our polemical culture.
And that’s a shame because the only ones who will pay the price for it are our kids—both our sons and our daughters.
I’m a dad. And I play with dolls. And that’s why my kids believe I’m a hero. And that’s why my son’s kids will see that he’s a hero, too.
This post was written by Seedbed author, Thomas Fuerst. For the original post, go to: http://seedbed.com/feed/why-i-play-with-dolls-a-dads-take/
BE A MAN.
A common problem that men have is how to handle it when a coworker has pornography at work. This is a very touchy issue.
What do you do when men are gathered around on the work site looking at pictures of naked women?
If a guy doesn't participate, he is "hen-pecked" or "gay" or.... The name calling starts and the accusations fly if a guy isn't "one of the guys." He's not a "team player." What's a man to do in these situations? After all, he has a reputation to protect.
Reputation is the key word in this story. Reputation is the answer. Jesus took His reputation and laid it all on the line for us so that we could have strength in times like this. Jesus could have been satisfied to leave things the way they were and stayed in heaven. However, He put aside His reputation, His Deity, to become like us. He risked, knowing that His Father would take care of His reputation.
Like yesterday's post, honesty is needed. Asking God for strength to be vulnerable and transparent is how you handle porn at work. Have the gumption to step up and tell your coworkers why looking at porn is not healthy. Let them know that there is much more to a woman than just what she does to make a man feel sexual.
You know what will happen if you take this step? Like Jesus, you may be crucified. I don't mean that these guys will string you up and kill you but they will belittle you. They will tell you that you are not a real man. They will tease you because they want you to participate in their sinfulness.
You know what else will happen? There will always be at least one guy who agrees with you. He may not publicly, but he will at least come to you privately or at least not join in when the teasing starts.
If you stick to your integrity and respect women, you will make a statement. You will only have to say it once. Your statement will have an impact. If you never participate with them in objectifying women from that point on, God's Holy Spirit will work on these men. They will watch you. So, if you have integrity in everything you do at work, they will see it and they will change.
Your reputation? Don't worry about it. God will protect your reputation if you are doing what He wants. A real man respects and honors women. A real man stands up for what is right, even if it means standing alone.
BE A MAN.
I was talking to a gentleman at a bar and he made an interesting comment. "You know Sam that goes to your church? You should talk to him. He used to be one of the meanest men I've ever met." He proceeded to tell about some of Sam's antics. Some of Sam's antics were funny, some were off-color, and some were downright mean. I knew Sam came to our church but I didn't know him very well.
So, next Sunday, I found Sam after church and stopped him for a moment. I told him that I met a man earlier in the week who told me about him. I started to tell him a bit of what I heard and he interrupted me. What Sam said next startled me. He said, "Dale, I'm a Christian now. I am so ashamed of what I used to be. I was not a nice man. I cannot talk about it." Sam said this in such a manner that it was obvious that I had really hurt him. I quickly apologized to him and he excused himself.
Sam taught me an important lesson that day.
Do I take sin seriously?
Do I take my sin seriously?
On another occasion, I was having lunch with a friend who was a new Christian. In the midst of our conversation, he made this interesting comment, "As I grow in my faith, I learn how my past behavior, though forgiven, was shameful and wrong."
That's one of many reasons why I love hanging out with new Christians. They don't have all those defenses that "mature" Christians have.
My new friend taught me an important lesson that day.
Have I taken my sin seriously?
Am I truly repentant of what I have done in the past?
I'm not saying that I need to wallow in my past sinful behavior.
I'm not saying that I need to live a life full of guilt.
I just wonder if I take too many trips down memory lane, thinking about how much "fun" I used to have. Do I take too many fishing excursions, trying to recall my past sins positively?
Do I feel godly sorrow for my past?
Do I feel regret for my past behavior?
These men taught me that a real man faces his past and takes responsibility for his behavior.
A real man is sensitive to God's work in his life.
A real man doesn't recall past sinful behavior in a positive manner.
A real man is a new creation.
He adamantly rejects sin.
BE A MAN.
This is a landmark day. This is the day that the first pope to resign in over 600 years occurs. He officially resigns tonite (Vatican time). By my standards, the Pope is a young man. He is only 85-years-old. The Pope has decided he wants to live the rest of his life only reading and praying. He is quoted as saying, "...I can continue to serve it (the church) with the same dedication and the same love which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suitable to my age and to my strength." I'm glad that the Pope has defined what is suitable for someone his age. However, my dad must not have heard that idea of what is "suitable" for his age.
Today, my Father turns the young age of 89. Actually, he turns 89 tomorrow. No, it's today. Truth be told, my Dad doesn't have a birthday this year as he was born in a leap year. He has only had 22 birthdays. And he acts like it. If you look at the picture above, you will see a screen shot from a conversation that I was having with him during "face time" on his iPad. That's right. You read that correctly. He's 89 and he's using "face time." In fact, he and my mom taught me how to use "face time." I was a little computer phobic when it came to this form of communication. However, I have found that our conversations go better (even though the internet can be wonky at times) because he can read my lips. I just wish "face time" had a typed chat feature so that I could type in some words that are unclear because I have a tendency to speak quickly.
Why is he a young 89-year-young? He regularly does puzzles, reads the newspaper daily, keeps up on his investments, tracks how well his invention is doing, follows his sports teams, checks out information on the internet, as well as praying and reading God's Word. In fact, he told me, "I've always enjoyed working but now that I'm retired, I work harder than I ever have and I'm enjoying it more because I'm doing more of what I want to do." He plants and tends his garden, harvests pecans, goes fishing when he wants and finally bought mom a wedding ring after 65+ years of marriage (he is so romantic...).
He's also written a memoir of his life as a pastor. Here's the first entry:
As a student pastor in a country church we had a number of young couples as a part of the congregation, many of them had no church relationship in the past. The young men requested from the church board the privilege of repainting the church sanctuary. So in the evenings and on Saturday, we had painting times. I was working with one of the young men painting in the platform area. He mentioned that he would paint in the area around the bull pit. When I asked him what he was talking about, he pointed to the pulpit and said, "that is what you call it, isn't it?" In thinking about it afterwards, I thought perhaps he wasn't too far off, at least in his own mind. Though he made the statement in ignorance, it is a reminder that the pastor needs to take his responsibility seriously when he is proclaiming the Word from the pulpit. He needs to make sure that it is the Word of God and not just bull from the pit.
What I like about my Dad's lessons is that he can make common, ordinary circumstances into an insight about God, The Bible and/or Holiness. So, at 89-years-young, he's still going strong and not acting suitably. I hope he never does act his age.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
I love you.
BE A MAN.
Men have within them this desire to always be looking for more. That could be one of the definitions of a TOURNAMENT MALE. Men have unusual abilities. For example, a room can be full of men, yet some will attempt to monopolize the only woman in the room.
Men will be talking, many of them with their backs to the door. A woman will enter the room and the men with their backs to the door will know, I don’t know how we know, but we know when a woman has entered the room. Maybe we pick up on the observations of the other men that saw her first. I don’t know how, but we men have this ability.
A few moments after the woman enters, men will do one and/or two things:
1) they will check her out, comparing her to their own wife or girlfriend, or if single, compare her with old girlfriends, and/or 2) they will approach her and start talking to her.
There will ALWAYS be more than one man who chooses option #2. Hence, the tournament is on…
Let me share with you my experience with being a TOURNAMENT MALE.
Before having been married for 10 years, we moved to Ecuador to counsel missionaries. I was excited being on the mission field with a young wife and two sons.
My office was in an English-speaking church in Quito. On one occasion, we had a group of about six high school girls visit us from America and the Pastor and I took them to the hospital in Shell Mera. We stopped at one very picturesque part of the Amazon Jungle where there was this waterfall that fed into the Amazon River. The Pastor and the most attractive girl took off down the trail (she had been sitting in the front with him and they had been carrying on quite a conversation) and I waited back at the van and walked the remaining girls down the trail. All the way down the trail, I was brooding. I was thinking to myself, “why does he get to take off all alone with the prettiest girl and I’m stuck with these five?”
I was jealous and I was not very cordial on this trip after jealousy set in.
Sometime on the trip, I don’t know if it was at the hospital or on the trip back, I realized how stupid and selfish I was. A thought hit me, “You are such a lucky man. You have a wonderful, beautiful wife and two marvelous sons. Why in the world do you care about being alone with a high school girl?” Part of the answer was I was in a competition with the Pastor. Because he was with the prettiest girl, he was more of a man than I was (or so my ego wanted me to believe).
The TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome works that way. My ego was more important to me than anything. I got jealous.
When I got back to our apartment in Quito, after the boys were in bed, I told Karyn about this experience. I told her how I felt and what I discovered about myself. Karyn said, “yes, I’ve seen that about you and have been praying that God would talk to you about that.”
That just blew me away. My wonderful, patient, loving wife chose to let God speak to me about my TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome in His timing rather than confront me directly in her timing.
I tell you this story, passing on what I learned, hoping it will help you:
- It’s important to have someone in your life who is willing to pray for you
- It’s important to be honest with yourself, God and someone who loves you
- It’s important to listen to God’s Holy Spirit. He will lovingly confront you about things that need to change in your life.
Let God empower you to keep your ego in check.
Are you a TOURNAMENT MALE? Every man is. So, ask God to take you out of the tourney and put you into His hands where you can do what He wants and not be ruled by your jealousy and ego.
BE A MAN.
My thanks to Dr Don Joy for this concept of the Tournament Male
If you stumble into sin, believer, don't give up; don't allow hopelessness to consume you, the deceitfulness of sin to blind you, or the weight of shame to defeat you. In the morning and evening prayer we pray, in part, the following: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fall" (Ps. 16:8). Christ is at your right hand, and this fall shall not be final for you; He took the final fall.
Yes, you may feel as though your worst day has cast a shadow over you that will never break to show the light of day, but, happily, you're wrong. God, in Christ, has declared you to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). Of the righteous we read: "for though they fall seven times, they will rise again" (Prov. 24:16NRSV). You will rise, friend, because Christ will lift you up. He took the ultimate fall in order that you should rise.
No one knows how many times I've had to encourage myself, thinking these thoughts, repeating the words of this post to myself. How I didn't play dead but arose from sin is a testimony to God's sheer grace. This post is as much an exhortation to myself as it is for anyone else experiencing difficulties or tragedies, whether self-caused or otherwise.
What do you do on the worst day of your life? Rise: not because you're inherently worthy of being named righteous. Rise because the one who took the ultimate fall declares you righteous. Rise because, though you sinned, though you deserve the fate of the wicked like the rest of us, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).
But rise, too, because you neither honor the Lord nor serve the body of Christ by remaining fallen. Don't play dead, possum. In Christ you have been made alive (Col. 2:13). Play dead to your old, sinful nature or past. But in Christ, even when you sin, don't play dead -- don't remain defeated. In Him you are more than one who has conquered all spiritually negative realities (Rom. 8:37). "So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1 NRSV).
You can avoid re-offending others by rising, and thinking healthy, spiritual thoughts: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8). All offenses begin with thoughts. We are instructed to destroy arguments raised up against the knowledge of God.
But the apostle Paul also added, "We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5 NRSV, emphasis added). How many thoughts rise up against the reality of God's holy existence and righteous standards? We are taught to destroy such thoughts, to take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
I picture such thoughts as personified. I imagine capturing them, putting them into a prison cell, while Christ stands watch over them as Guard. If I fail to do so, then I may entertain such thoughts, have them affect me emotionally, and then obey them. When I obey them, I sin. "But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved" (James 1:15-16 NRSV).
But when you sin, no matter the degree, take it immediately to Christ. "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 NRSV). Don't let sin drag you into a hopeless, despondent, dejected place, out of which you feel impossible to escape. By His grace and forgiveness you rise up, and you keep rising up. You don't rise up only once. You will need to rise up every time you fall.
More than that, you will need to rise up every time you think about a past fall. Such thoughts about your past have a tendency to paralyze you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Paralyzed, you will play dead. No: in Christ you must rise up from the guilt of your past. Though you fall seven times a day, you will rise -- you must rise (Prov. 24:16).
The Lord foreknew every sin you would ever commit when He by grace through faith in Christ saved your soul. You don't ever take Him by surprise by any thought, desire, or action. In Christ He has already declared you holy, sanctified (set apart from the world and for His service and care), and righteous. You don't let Him down because you don't hold Him up.
You are becoming more and more like Christ (Rom. 8:29), slow as such may seem, and your heavenly Father understands completely all of your eccentricities, particularities, and unique qualities. This is how, you see, you keep on rising. Give your defeats to the One who defeated sin, death, and hell (1 Cor. 15:56-57; 1 John 3:8). Give your hopelessness to the God of hope (Rom. 15:13). Whatever you do, don't play dead, possum, but rise.
This post was written by William Watson Birch. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/saturday-devotion-dont-play-dead.html
BE A MAN.