Develop a stronger character. Become more like Jesus by pursuing character traits such as self-restraint, honesty, integrity, diligence, fairness, and selflessness.

Grow in wisdom. Become more like Jesus by asking God to teach you how to distinguish between ideas that are true and ideas that are false so you can develop sound judgment and make good moral choices.

Build strong relationships. Become more like Jesus by focusing on what matters most: relationships. Do all you can to build stronger relationships with God and other people. Learn how to express love and compassion as God wants you to in all of your relationships.

Become humble. Overcome the sin of pride (which leads you farther away from God) by realizing that all that you have is a gift from God and the result of other people contributing to your life. Make a habit of noticing the many blessings you regularly receive from God and the help that constantly comes into your life from others. Express your gratitude to God and other people often. Perform for an audience of just one – God alone – since God’s opinion of your life is the only one that ultimately matters. In the process, you’ll become humble, which is a position of strength, since God gives grace only to humble people.

Become content. Stop comparing your life with other men’s lives and instead focus on discovering and fulfilling God’s unique purposes for you. Accept the invitation that Jesus offers you to find rest, peace, and joy through your relationship with Him, which can’t be shaken by any circumstances.

Adapted from The True Measure of a Man: How Perceptions of Success, Achievement, and Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times copyright 2011 by Richard E. Simmons III. Published by Evergreen Press, Mobile, Al., www.evergreenpress.com.

Richard E. Simmons III received his B.A. from the University of the South (Sewaneee) in Economics in 1976. He later studied Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State prior to beginning a 25-year career with Hilb, Rogal, and Hamilton, a property and casualty insurance firm. He was CEO of that firm for 10 years. He has devoted much of his life to giving back to the community by working with youth, as well as advising businessmen and other professionals. Through these experiences, he discovered that he had a gift and inclination for teaching and public speaking. In December 2000, he founded the Center for Executive Leadership, a nonprofit, faith-based ministry. When he’s not spending time with his wife and three children, he’s teaching, counseling, writing, or speaking to men’s groups across the United States.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: January 16, 2012