The late Ed Cole was a typical man’s man and his organization continues to transform men today. He founded the Christian Men’s Network out of a deep calling placed on his life by God.
One of his focal teachings was about breaking free of the five sins that keep men from maximizing their potential. These were the same sins that kept Israel out of the Promised Land and affect men to this day.
He passed away in 2002 but his legacy continues through his son Paul Cole who leads the movement today. One of his best books ever written was Strong Men in Tough Times which every man could benefit from.
Here are 11 of his best quotes for getting through hard times:
1. “Fame can come in a moment, but greatness comes with longevity.” ~ Ed Cole
Anyone can have their moment of fame by doing a great exploit when the opportunity arises. This could be a sports player coming off the bench to score the winning goal in the game. Most of them that have such moments of fame never really build on that one moment of their lives.
But those that can replicate their great exploits over and over fall into the category of the greatest. These are people like Michael Jordan, Billy Graham, Alex Ferguson, John Wooden, etc. in their different fields of endeavor. That’s the kind of standard you must aspire to.
2. “To make it through tough times a man must have faith in God’s work and faith in others.” ~ Ed Cole
We’re living in tough times in the present age, and tough times come and go all the time. It’s sometimes difficult to make sense of everything in the darkest moments of your life and it can be depressing. You first of all need to trust that God is ultimately in control even if you feel stuck. Faith cometh by hearing the word of God as the Bible tells us in Romans 10.
On top of that, you must trust the people God puts around you to make it through those difficult times. It’s a lesson to help us understand that we need each other in life and it strengthens the relationships. You won’t get far in life without the help of others no matter how talented you are. There’s a common saying that goes, “To go fast go alone, to go far go with others.“
3. “Life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages.” ~ Ed Cole
If God answered all your prayers at once, you wouldn’t have the capacity to handle the responsibility. The way to build anything of lasting value is line upon line, and precept upon precept. It’s not that God is not capable of giving you everything you ask for; there are lessons He wants you to learn at each stage before going to the next one.
When things aren’t working out the way you expect them to be, seek to find the lesson to be learned. The default reaction is usually impatience but instead of that make a conscious effort to identify where you might be lacking. Strong men persevere and develop the patience to learn what they need to learn before getting to the next level.
4. “The greatest act of philanthropy is the willingness to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.” ~ Ed Cole
In spite of all the success and fame that you might achieve here on earth, it’s not the ultimate. Do those achievements give you an opportunity to tell other people about the Lord and Savior? Even if you don’t have a great platform, in one way or another your life can lead others to Christ.
Knowing that someone’s life has been made better because of your influence is more rewarding than any material success. People’s souls matter in eternity and are a greater priority while the things of this earth are temporary. Sometimes we get frustrated in life because the things we pursue don’t have lasting value and God doesn’t bless them as well.
5. “Men today must acquire a taste for truth if they want to maximize their manhood.” ~ Ed Cole
People who don’t love the truth are those who constantly live in compromise in one way or another. What’s sad is that some churches promote false teaching and mislead their congregations in the process. You’ll tend to see people flocking to these churches so they can feel good about themselves. The sad part is that some of them willingly allow themselves to fall into deception.
In wanting to feel good about themselves they avoid confronting the sin in their lives. We know that God can’t stand sin and as a result, this limits the ability to maximize potential. Not only must you embrace truth but you must love it to become all God created you to be. It was Charles Spurgeon that said, “Avoid a sugar-coated gospel. Seek the gospel that rips up, wounds, and even kills for that is the gospel that makes alive again.“
6. “One of the most difficult things for many men to believe is that God believes in them! You must see the need to have faith in God because God has faith in you.” ~ Ed Cole
Moses in the Bible was one such person who was insecure about his ability to lead the people of Israel. He found every excuse he could to turn down the assignment God had called him to pursue. There are times when I’ve gone through similar experiences and I was pretty scared.
But even then, God still believes in you when He gives you assignments that seem impossible to you. When you begin to see yourself the way God sees you, you’ll have the confidence to do all things. You have the capacity to do more than you can think or imagine.
7. “Success in life is not the aim of the Cross, but the result of it.” ~ Ed Cole
The main mandate of a believer is to lead a righteous life and lead others to Jesus Christ too. The cross is the place where we lay down our lives to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. When you do, He directs your steps according to His ultimate plan for your life. A life that fully identifies with Christ attracts His blessing and favor in everything.
Success is then a byproduct of following Jesus Christ but that shouldn’t be your main focus. You should focus more on walking in obedience to what He is directing you to do. When you do it the other way around you’re going to be frustrated and waste unnecessary time and energy in worthless pursuits.
8. “The glory of God’s type of forgiveness is that when He forgives, He remembers our sins no more.” ~ Ed Cole
Every one of us has some kind of history or dark past that we aren’t proud of. It’s only by God’s grace that we are still here today because who knows where we would be? God loves you no matter what you’ve done in the past. He’s more interested in having a relationship with you and fulfilling His plan for your life.
God is not like a man who can say they forgive you but don’t mean it. When God forgives you, He means it and you don’t have to keep feeling guilty for your mistakes. You can therefore come before His throne of grace to receive mercy and find help in the time of your need. Don’t allow the enemy to make you believe otherwise.
9. “To receive the Spirit of God and use it only to benefit the church is immoral.” ~ Ed Cole
The Spirit of God gives life not only for you but for other people you come into contact with. Your spiritual gifts are not meant for your own benefit, they should bring life to others. The purpose of attending church is to be refreshed and equipped to go minister to people in the world.
That is the essence of being salt and light in the world because it’s something the world needs. Your role is that of a conduit to channel God’s power to other people who need it. What good is a doctor if the only people he associates with are other doctors or healthy people? He wouldn’t have a purpose, right? So make a conscious effort to use your spiritual gifts to enrich other people’s lives.
10. “Wisdom produces a strategy that leads to victory, resulting in glory.” ~ Ed Cole
There is a difference between worldly wisdom and godly wisdom. The wisdom of this world tends to be based on people’s experiences and advice which aren’t always godly. This type of wisdom can be dangerous and you must be careful not to be misled by it.
The wisdom from above brings life and leads to prosperity even though it might not always make sense. To receive this wisdom you must however you must be willing to listen to what God says. That comes by spending time in His presence and studying the His word.
11. “Men must prepare their children today for the day when they will be called upon to live by their own standards without parental support.” ~ Ed Cole
In a world that’s so corrupted parents fear for their children, hoping they don’t lose their way due to worldly influences. The book of Proverbs instructs parents to raise up children in the training of the Lord; this is so that they don’t depart from it in their older years. As you raise your children do your best to train them in the Lord and trust God. They won’t always be with you but as long as you’ve played your part, trust God to watch over them. He is a faithful God.