Cardiology is the medical study of the structure, function and disorders of the heart. In this mini-series of four blogs I want to share some thoughts around the importance of the heart, as revealed in scripture. The state of our hearts, is right up there as a subject matter to our Father, in fact it is His number one subject – above all else, guard your heart! Prov 4:23.
God the Father is a committed and highly proficient cardiologist!
The heart has the ability to have affections, to think, to guide and set our life’s boundaries. It also has an overflow; the mouth which in turn has the power of life and death attached to it, namely the tongue.
The heart is so strategic to all of life, we are commanded to guard it, (Prov 4:23) as if it contained the crown jewels. The thought behind the word is to show vigilance more than over anything else we have or own. One commentator refers to it as the master-controller!
One man in Scripture understood this and that was David. He was after all, described as a man after God’s own heart! Acts 13:22. This king, warrior and minstrel penned these words –
“search me O God and know my heart…Ps 139:23”
David had the confidence, prior to Christ and Calvary’s grace, to ask God to know his heart. This is high level trust and a little risky but is the kind of prayer Father loves and will answer. David was asking His God and creator to know his heart through observing, experiencing and reflecting. All of these are the core dynamics of what the word know depicts. David was also saying “let me in,” on your observations, experiences and reflections.
For David, there were two aspects of his heart that he wanted His Father’s feedback on – the thoughts and the ways within his heart and that through these reflections Father would lead him in the way everlasting. This word everlasting means the old path and is made of two words that differ slightly. One means the right way, the way a man should go and the other, the way a man goes by habit. David’s son would learn this from his father and his own experiences –
“there is a way that seems right to man but its end is the way of death. “Prov 16:25
Here’s my attempt at paraphrasing David’s request from within this verse Ps 139:23
“I want you God to test through observation and experiences the thoughts and ways within my heart and reflect back to me, any habits that are not leading me in the well-established path of life which is Your desire for me!”
David’s prayer would be answered, numerous times and some of these were not good feedback but every time God spoke into David’s life about the state and condition of his heart, David responded with humility, transparency and faith! It is for this reason I believe God defined David as a man after my own heart, who will do my will.
David was far from perfect, however, he always, apart from sixteen months of complete madness, went after and stayed after God’s heart! Like David I have prayed his prayer and invited God to search and try my heart and give me feedback because I want what David had and I can only have that, if I do what he did!
God is a proficient cardiologist understanding the hearts structure and function like no other, he designed it but He also knows the disorders of the heart and these fall into six categories –
- unclean heart Ps 51:10
- proud heart Prov 21:4
- hard heart Prov 28:14
- cold heart Matt 24:12
- double heart Ps 12:2
- unbelieving heart Heb 3:12
The beginning of the answer to that part of us described as deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jer 17:9 NIV Is to humble asks God to do in us what He did in David – search me and try me and give me feedback!
The next three blogs I’ll take two disorders from the list and share some thoughts.
Mel Gibson portrays Col Hal Moore, in the film, We Were Soldiers. As he moves into his digs on camp, one of the soldiers talking to his mate calls Moore a ‘Harvard man!’ His sentiment is that his new Colonel is a book worm and a desk dweller. One of the most compelling parts of the film for me, was the preparation this new Colonel put in, before he engaged his enemy. Gibson is seen pouring over books about previous battles, including the massacre of the French forces, eleven years previously by the enemy, this new Colonel is about to face.
I remember, as I watched this character develop, how many aspects of his world related to principles found in Scripture. Colonel Hal Moore understood leadership and the tactics of war, and that all began with knowing your enemy.
In Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
An event-minded believer will believe that just putting on the full armour of God is enough to stand successfully against the devil’s schemes. However, it’s also important to know his schemes. How he operates, so we can effectively and efficiently use our armour and defeat his advances.
The word schemes, literally translated means ‘with a road,’ which makes no sense grammatically but the picture behind this, is that of a traveller on a road, heading towards a decided upon destination. The Greek word for schemes is methodos, from which we get our word method. Just as the enemy that Mel Gibson’s character was facing had methods of engagement, strategy and tactics which Gibson needed to know and understand. So too, do we as sons of our father. Who incidentally, is described as “a man of war!” Ex 15:3
In fact, we are commanded not to be ignorant of his schemes, 2 Co2:11. And this verse gives us an important truth about the devil’s strategy – that Satan would gain an advantage over us. Eph 4:27 builds us a clearer picture of what the scheme of the devil is – give no place to the devil. The word place, is topos and is about giving space or room to another. Interestingly, topos is also relegated to maps or areas i.e. topography! Eph 6:13 commands us to stand your ground which again speaks of an area we have dominion and authority over.
This ground, this area he is after, is our HQ and the Bible calls it our mind or intellect.
This truth is gleaned from the use of the word for schemes in 2 Cor 2:11 is noemata which is s form of the word nous which describes the mind or intellect. The devil’s destination is our minds, our HQ in this war we face and he has a threefold purpose, which Jesus revealed –
the thief comes to rob, steal and destroy. Jn 10:9 In a word destruction!
Whoever captures our HQ, will preside over our imaginations, thoughts and emotions and these will fill our hearts and begin to overflow and flood our lives! He cannot do this just to anyone he likes because he is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Pet 5:8. Interestingly, the context of this verse is about strong negative emotions and attitudes of mind and the word for devour, speaks of the devil’s desire to so frighten a person in mind and emotion, that he can simply lick them up, as a lion would do after the kill.
There is a war on and we do have a HQ, that we need to defend and protect and the how of this, is the content of my next blog.
‘No pain. No Gain.’ Is simply not true! Many times, in my personal life and pastoral ministry I have experience and seen pain, that has not led to gain. This is in part due to the deception called event-mindedness which says that just experiencing pressure and pain will lead to gain. It will not!
Some learnt wisdom from Arnie –
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow,” Boom!
It’s not just experiencing the pain that leads to gain, it is what we do within the pain, that leads to growth. Not just physical muscle but mental, emotional and spiritual muscle. As we push, rep-eatedly, against the weight we submit to a process and resist the cry of our emotions to quit and go back to comfort!
The word for suffering in Roms 5:3 is pressure and the writer says that pressure produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope, which does not disappoint because it is attached to the love Father has already poured into our hearts, who we be! On the surface, this scripture seems to support event-mindedness. However, the best interpreter of scripture is scripture. So, let’s bring James 1:2-4 alongside, to build the complete thought –
“consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials [pressure] of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Because you know that testing [pressure] develops perseverance! Do we know this? As a revelation and a principle, do we get this? These verses are a great synopsis of what an event leads to, which is always an invitation to work a process. So, the pressure comes [event] and we have an opportunity to develop [process word] perseverance. We take this invite and our first event of preserving, begins the much-needed process of becoming mature and complete.
No pain. No Gain, is a deception, mostly borne out of our emotions which are kick in when the going gets tough.
What if the Father has designed events that will trigger a much-needed process, so that our potential grows and meets the demand we are facing. The bridge between our potential and the problem is called pressure. What we do, rep-peatedly in this pressure is who we become!
“Because we know that…….
Perhaps, some of the pain and the pressure we are experiencing at the moment, has been purposely factored in by the Father? Maybe, this is His version of gym time? A divinely inspired opportunity to enter that area of pain that will develop us into champions?
All I know is this – life will bring pressure! Jesus, who I trust the most said so –
“In this world, you will have trouble [word is pressure] but take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33
There are two emphatics in this verse: you will have and I have overcome! And there is one command: take heart which to paraphrase means locate and lock onto your courage. Courage is acting in the face of fear. Jesus is asking us for something in the face of fear; to be courageous and act! Not turn and run! For those who stay and face the pressure, He promises overcoming power. Cf Roms 8:37; Eph 6:10 & Phil 4:13
I am learning to use, and I’m enjoying, lose weights in my home gym. But one of the vital lessons is knowing the signs when you are in that area of pain where if I push through and do two more reps, I will gain what I set out to do: develop muscle and strength.
I am not there yet – turning my bay window [stomach] into Baywatch!
But I am on the bridge called pressure and I know what to do and what lies ahead is a ‘enduring walk of faith’ and I will inherit what’s on the other side of the bridge. See Hebs 6:12
The thought underpinning these blogs about the masculine heart and soul is this –
God did not create humans.
This is a label attached by man to categorise and generalise. God intentionally created and uniquely designed a masculine and feminine heart and soul.
One of the biggest problems and frustrations in men and women, regarding masculinity, is how we both perceive what is a man. After years of banging my head against the wall, I have changed my starting point, my perception of masculinity. This little adjustment has made a massive impact.
I have simply started with how men are by design and not how they should be according to the previous generations, popular culture or the expectations of mums, wives & girlfriends.
It’s not that I am closed to all these voices, rather I want to begin in the beginning and that’s Genesis and use what the father reveals there as a diagnostic tool which I will use to keep the good and ditch the crap!
In my last post, I talked about not sawing against the grain, of not working against oneself, of not getting the most out of your efforts which leads to compromise in productivity. To not begin at the beginning, may well lead to me sawing against my father given grain.
Sometimes the quickest way to illumination is to use the tool called outline. So, here’s my outline of the ‘grain of masculinity,’ that father created in the beginning.
- Adam, created from the dust of the wilderness, not the soil of Eden. Gen 2:7
- Father breathed into Adam, then he became a living being; lit: a speaking spirit!
- He then blessed, empowered & equipped his man. Gen 1:28
- He mandates his man – BE – fruitful, increase, fill, subdue, rule 1:28
- He decisively puts Adam in what He’d already planted – Eden.
- Commanded him to work & keep it!
The MH&S was empowered and equipped with authority and power, given a clear place to exercise these gifts, the earth and then the core priorities, that will call out to all he has been pre-loaded with –
- Barrenness will ask for fruit.
- What’s empty will need to be filed.
- Multiplication will be a default setting.
So to achieve and increase is a design requirement, not selfish ambition.
He will be called on to fight and use his God-given fierceness to subdue anything that will come against the beauty God has put him in and commanded him to work and keep. Before all these commands, The Father, blessed or empower the MH&S & the FH&S with everything they’ll need for all He’s asked them to do.
The first MH&S was empowered and then mandated which is so important to grasped. Another way to put it would be to say, that who he [Adam] be had already been given everything he need to do all he’d been designed and purposed to do! He had the capacity to obey and fulfil the command!
Unlike some earthly fathers, our heavenly Father always includes the batteries [power] to go with the gifts He gives us.
Fast forward and the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change, who gives every good and perfect gift (see James 1!7) provides us with these verses. These remind us that we are thoroughly equipped as men to empower the love ones within our ‘Eden!’
- Blessed with every spiritual blessing Eph 1:3
- Abundant grace at all times & in all places 2 Cor 9:8
- Grace [love AND power] that’s all sufficient, esp when we lack ability 2 Cor 12:9
- God-given & resurrection strength, might and power. Eph 6:1
- Exceeding power that will go beyond all we can imagine or ask! Eph 3:20
- Power to desire to do & accomplish glorious will. Phil 2:13 Weymouth translation
- Can do strength and power Phil 4:13
- Father’s faithful, can-do power. 1 Thess 5:24
- The Covenant promise to equip us with good, so we can do his will. Hebs 13:21
These verses are spiritual nutrition, an all you can eat buffet for the MH&S and the FH&S and when we ingest and digest them, we’ll come up strong in love and faith, ready to empower all our loved ones within the Eden He has put us in.
As sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, granddads, great granddads, uncles, team players and work colleagues, we ARE fully loaded by our father, to empower those around us.
Em, is like en and dynamically refers to putting on or in. So, encourage, enthusiasm, enable, empathise, empower. We can and must, put on and put into our love ones, what the Father has given us and what our loved ones need from their fathers, husbands etc…
The primary way this is achieved is by engaging with them and speaking life enhancing and confidence empowering words, about who they are, what they have been given and can do.
Please make sure these words are true and so avoid building a princess and prince syndrome in our children.
Engage with their lives, help them navigate what’s in their hearts and empower them to release ‘it’ with words of truth and love.
It will take guts and courage but remember, if I help create a vacuum, it will be filled and the father of lies, is more than willing to fill that vacuum with his words!
The premise for these blogs on masculinity is that God did not create humans. That’s a throw away categorisation and generalisation attached by man. Father intentionally and purposely created a masculine and feminine heart and soul and both are unique and complementary, and together they reflect all His fullness.
There is a saying – don’t saw against the grain which speaks of not working against oneself, of not getting the most out of your efforts which leads to compromise in productivity. If I am to avoid theses I need to cut with the God-given grain of my MH&S and that has four ‘grains’ to it – Navigate, Engage, Empower, Sacrifice.
These are the structure, functions and purposes of the MH&S and for maximum productivity I need to honour His grains and work with them and Him.
Navigate speaks of planning and directing a journey, by the use of maps and instruments at our disposal and the journey us men are on is called life! There are records i.e. maps that others who gone before us have left, these charts are pointers and give us a broad understanding of the terrain of life. Then there are the tools, those established principles that Father has put in place that we need to get hold of and learn how to handle and apply them to our contexts.
We have this life, our time and space years, to master the maps and the principles and help our love ones to make progress on the journey of life until we reach the horizon and enter eternity. Simply put, us men are here for others and if we accept this command and challenge of our ‘first father,’ we can move from happiness to fulfilment which is the highest level our father has created and purposed us for.
We can be happy but not fulfilled but we cannot reach fulfilment and not be happy.
It is not co-incidental that happiness and happenings both share the same root word and popular culture is addicted to happenings for their happiness. On the surface, I buy into this dynamic but has a long-term strategy for life it’s a deception because all events/happenings can offer is an invitation which many do not heed and so they need another ‘fix’ and on the addiction goes.
In the beginning the father offered the MH&S an invitation which followed the event of creation and this invitation can be summed up in one word: engage!
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Gen 1:28
Dynamically the father was commanding the newly formed MH&S to participate in a process He’d begun: to fill the earth with what He had planted – Eden.
“A delightful, pleasurable and beautiful place. Eden also means voluptuously which speaks of fullness and is characterised by pleasure and enjoyment, of all the senses.”
The MH&S was created to exercise power and designed to manage it, and given a clear mandate. I like to paraphrase it this way – “given the right and the might to join Father in His global strategy!”
All the commands father gave the MH&S – be fruitful, increase, fill, subdue and rule all have a core dynamic – process.
If I engage with His process there will be many events and happenings which includes conflict and battles, inferred by the use of the word subdue. This is a heads up by father that opposition to his process of filling the earth will come and we are to opposes this and win! These times of opposition will call for me to be aggressive even fierce, to use a whip and turn over the status quo tables! See John 2:15
There does not seem to be any indication to how long it was before the first man, Adam encountered the opposition, i.e. Satan. However, we do have the clear record of how Adam handled it, the root cause of his failure and the global consequences of his failure to engage!
Adam’s passivity, his failure to engage the enemy with the tools he had been given happened locally, in Eden but the consequences were global. Cf Matt 4:8&9 & Rom 5: 17 Authority, rule, kingdoms and their splendour were handed over because father had assigned the earth to men and women. See Ps 115:16
Where there had been intimacy, unity, life and peace there was now fear and shame, separation and blame!
One of the forgotten titles of the man Christ Jesus is the last Adam and in Romans 5:12-20 the last Adam’s engagement and the first Adam’s passivity are compared, and the consequences are staggering!
If as men we have returned back to our Father through the finished work of his Son, then the Holy Spirit will be testifying that we are His sons and we have full rights which includes to reign in life [again] through the man Christ Jesus. Roms 5:17 We do this by remembering our position; the gift of righteousness and using the provision called the abundant provision of grace; His unrivalled power.
All we lost and more, have been restored to us, His co-regents and now we can get back to implementing Father’s manifesto which He released in the beginning – be fruitful, increase, fill, subdue and rule. If we do this and engage with our local contexts we will see the rule and resources of His kingdom become our realities!
Questions are an essential part of life but a subject that us men seem a little nervous around. They are essential because they help us troubleshoot; a vital part of problem solving which is a core purpose of the masculine soul.
Questions are a sign of humility which predisposes God to give us His power. 1 Peter 5:5 they also reveal a desire to learn, grow, develop and transform and these are intrinsic parts of being a disciple of Jesus.
I have had many questions levelled at me through the years and I have had those ‘percolating questions’ that rise up within my masculine heart and soul. These usually fall into two categories – What is a man? Am I a man?
Right from the outset my masculine heart and soul received a steady stream of data regarding these two foundational and fundamental questions. I have to say; the messages were mixed, confusing and conflicting. Until I came to a place, a ah ah moment.
I was reflecting on Gen 1:28 and reading a book by John Eldridge and came to a thought of his –
“God doesn’t make generic people, he makes something very distinct – a man and a woman. In other words, there is a masculine heart and a feminine heart which in their own ways reflect and portray to the world God ‘s heart.” Pg 8 Wild at Heart John Eldredge
If I believe, which I do, that I am created by God, then He intentionally designed and defaulted my masculine soul. At that moment, eight years ago, the desire to discover the design, function and purpose of the masculine heart and soul began.
What I have discover, learnt and am applying is the subject of the next four posts.
The structure, functions and purposes of the masculine heart and soul are fourfold – Navigate, Engage, Empower, Sacrifice.
The big four are like grid references on a map. They are ordinance survey points that help orientate us. They are the needles of a compass and sacrifice is the magnetic north our masculine heart and soul.
Navigate speaks of planning and directing a journey, by the use of maps and instruments at our disposal. This paradigm of life as a journey which needs to be proactively charted, lies at the core of our MH&S, by design. It is not co-incidental that the game Uncharted was a massive hit with men and yet the things called for through the levels, tests and challenges of the game, are paralleled in life. Sadly, too many men have retreated to the online version and seem detached from the real-life version of Uncharted!
“Adam was created outside the garden, in the wilderness. Man was born in the outback, from the untamed part of creation!” Pg 34 Wild at Heart. John Eldredge
An essential part of navigating is trusting the encounters and experiences of those who have gone before and who have left clues to the terrain, obstacles and challenges of the journey. These mature topographers, these generational ‘charters,’ are what the Bible calls spiritual fathers and should be in our world, and yet they are rare.
I have to be honest and say I don’t think I’ve been the best navigator or topographer to my marriage and family but like Paul I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: forgetting what’s past I press on to the upward call of Christ. Phil 3:12
In July and November of 2016 I was given the privilege of becoming a granddad. I feel the call of this new level of the ‘computer game of life!’ I have another chance as a navigator and topographer and I will rise to challenge to be there for the emerging and the established generations.
AS the lyricist said “No one said it was easy!’ and nothing worthwhile ever is!
If a muscle isn’t worked it atrophies which means it shrinks in size and weakens in its ability to function. When a muscle is over worked it looks weird, disproportionate and often elicits comments.
Expectations are a core, core muscle and avoiding both of the above extremes are vital to the development and maturity of our masculine core. No man lives free of expectations, they usually and sometimes conveniently choose not to accept this or attend to them.
This normally flows from the experience of having had too many wrong expectations put on them or having tried to meet expectations, they have failed or become absolutely frustrated, so they quit. Now they stop expecting and just go with the flow.
For this group of men their expectation muscle is atrophying!
The other extreme reveals itself in something that us men are very prone to; driveness and just like any over worked muscle, driveness is obvious in the life of a man and disproportionate to the Father’s design and desire for our masculine soul. The Father created man to live and work from rest.
Adam’s first working day was the Sabbath! A day off was his starting day!
How can we avoid both extremes? What exercise does our expectation muscle need and how does it become part of our daily routine?
First, we need to accept that we have this expectation muscle by design and our Father desires that we develop and mature it. A failure to acknowledge this truth is dangerous because ‘perishing and lack of knowledge are intrinsically link. See Hosea 4:6.
Then we need to take responsibility to work with our personal training Father, to seek the knowledge we need and then daily act on this so we become wiser and mature at our core. I call this initial part, lifting with the bar.
The bar is the essential tool for all the weights[expectations] we shall choose to lift. Starting to rep with the bar, is a decision and an acknowledgment regarding our desire to get our masculine core into shape!
I am using this illustration of lose weight lifting because of the picture and thought contained in Ecclesiastes 3:10 –
“I have seen the burden God has laid on men!”
The word burden can be translated as heavy responsibility, occupation or task. The thought is not a negative one; burden has so been misunderstood in the church and so it’s time to redeem it.
The thought behind this ‘burden’ He has laid on all men is really the ‘weight of responsibility!’ Our Father given ability to respond; when the right weight of expectation presents itself. God as our personal trainer and spotter knows our potential because He put it in there and so He is only asking for what’s dormant and latent.
When we respond to His expectation prompts, put all our core under the weight of responsibility and rep, we are introducing our potential to the problem He designed us to solve. This is the core exercise our expectation muscle needs!
“Everything manufactured was designed to solve a problem or bring pleasure, with Father it is both.”
..HE predestined us according to His pleasure and His will. Eph 1:5
For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also bring about the accomplishment of the desire. Phil 2:13
All this acquiring of knowledge, the discipline of practice and enduring through daily habits [reps] leads us to the core expectation the Father has for His men -achievement!
By design we are hardwired for achievement.
Within our hearts, at the desire level, He has given us ideas and outcomes He would love to see, realities He deeply desires would be released into the earth; AND He has also given us the power to achieve these desires.
Father’s expectation is that we will think about this truth, respond positively in faith and do all He will show us, to make it a reality within our time and space context.
He is the only Father who is allowed to dream his dreams through His sons.
He has great expectations of us men. May we see them fulfilled in our time!
“Abilities available when demands are made!”
This is the core dynamic of this blog thought about resources. Merriam Webster and the Cambridge Dictionaries have these entries about resources:
The masculine soul by design, has valuable resources that the Father desires are used to serve and nurture all that He deems beautiful and to use these resources in a sacrificial manner.
The source of these resources are common grace; abilities and resources the Father gave to each masculine heart and soul He created and formed and ‘Covenant Grace’ which He gave and continues to give to all returning and reunited sons! At the common grace level, we are by nature limited but at a covenant grace level we have access to unlimited love (see Paul’s struggle to describe His love in Eph 3:18&19) and unrivalled or surpassing power (see Eph 1:19)
When demands are made on our masculine heart and soul, we are expected to step up to the plate, if the expectation behind the demand is an appropriate one. Some expectations made of us as men from those within our world are not appropriate; in fact, they are contrary to design!
An often-heard phrase to men’s’ worlds is this – Why don’t you grow up?!
Many times, this question is legitimate because the male is acting and behaving like a boy, and at this moment in the relationship a man is needed. However, we are never meant to grow out of our sense of wonder, exploration, adventure and this may come as a surprise, our mischievousness. Why don’t you grow up is sometimes a reaction to these moments and should be resisted!
The buzz word for all these demand making times is responsibility! Often the definition of a word gives me the dynamic that’s being called for, and responsibility is dynamically about my/our ability to respond. The demand is looking to and calling for much-needed supply.”
“Potential is determined by the demands place about it by its creator.” Myles Munroe
All designed and manufactured products have inbuilt capacity, max stress levels and gross ladened weights and as a product of the mind and heart of my ‘first Father,’ so do I. Accepting this truth is the beginning of being able; to be able to respond with our grace given abilities. The core muscle that needs to be developed, again through meditation, is a core characteristic of the Father’s heart and mind, namely that He is just!
“The justness of Father is a daily plank exercise!”
I have learnt and am daily applying, especially in those ‘demanding make moments,’ to remember His justness and that the Father is making a legitimate demand on the resources and abilities He has given me through both aspects of grace.
This is not unfair but a moment to release and realise my potential!
The other muscle to develop alongside this is discernment which is a much-needed ability because has I said earlier not all demands of us are legitimate, that is, not from Him.
Our resources and abilities as men are very much-needed today and I believe the Father desires to train and develop our masculine hearts and souls accordingly, by reminding us of all we are in Him. All we’ve been given in Christ, and all we can do motivated by His love and through His surpassing power!
Let’s us get ready in heart and mind for new training opportunities and stay disciplined in our ‘gym time’ of daily meditation on and in His word.
I am using the acronym CORE to help me and hopefully others understand the design of our masculine hearts and souls. Our physical core needs exercise to help it develop and strengthen so too does our masculine core.
In the previous post I shared thoughts about certainty as a core muscle, so let’s look at opinions.
Opinions are like arm pits, everyone’s got a set and some stink!
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me, is mostly true.
Mostly, because only words we choose to take to heart can wound and hurt us. The singer Cher puts it well –
“Words are like weapons, they wound sometime!”
Why are opinions important to the development and maturing of the masculine heart and soul? In the beginning, this was the core strategy of the enemy’s attack on the masculine soul; he used opinions!
“Did God really say?” “You will not surely die!”
Both of the above are rooted in opinions. The first is asking the masculine heart and soul for their opinion: did God really say? The second is Satan’s opinion about the answer Adam gave: You will not surely die!
A simple and timeless strategy of the enemy; getting us to doubt Father’s word by the introduction of another opinion. We can only be two-souled which is the New Testament meaning of doubt; when we are listening and paying attention to two opinions.
Did God really say?
Is a direct attack on His essence and character and our confidence in His character! Adam answered in the affirmative and Jesus, the second Adam continued to answer in the affirmative!
You will not surely die.
Is also an attack on the character of the Father which has to do with consequence and conclusion, i.e. what outcomes He’s set in place in response to our actions.
This addition of an opinion is a direct attempt to move us from our consecration to His word, having failed in his attempt at undermining our confidence in His word. Satan then and now; constantly seeks to undermine our confidence in and our commitment to staying with and remaining in Father’s word. In His opinions about who we are, whose we are and what we have been given.
Why is that?
The Father’s words, internalised, that is taken to heart, into our core, contain tremendous power and nutrition for our masculine hearts and souls. As a man thinks in his heart so shall he be and the heart is the source and starting point for all the issue of life. Cf Prov 23:7 & Prov 4:23
Let me say again (see blog on certainty 9/6/) meditation which is focusing on and repeating words, so they enter our heart, is the core muscle developing exercise.
It is the spiritual plank!
The words I hold in my heart are directly setting the boundaries of my life, namely what I will or will not attempt. The primary function of the word of God is to test the thoughts and attitudes of the heart [our opinions about His opinions] See Hebs 4:12
The classic Biblical eg of a struggling masculine heart & soul receiving God’s opinion and transforming is Gideon!
No one’s opinion of me, not even the Father’s, can become my reality without my co-operation. Meditation is co-operation and through this discipline my core is developed and strengthen by the opinions I am focusing on. These eventually flow out of my core in actions which affect the context and reality of my life, for good or bad.
No words are neutral they all flow from someone’s spirit, heart and mind.
The reality I am in and that surrounds me which is my context has within it characters who all have opinions and these can lead to pressurised times. Yet my context is not the ‘Ultimate Reality.’ The dimension or realm I live and move in is superseded by the reality called the Kingdom of God.
This truth about the dual nature of reality that I hold, has two aspects to it. I hold these aspects by meditation in my heart and mind which then empowers, develops & matures my masculine soul.
All reality, global and local was spoken into being by my Father
Jesus the Word became flesh and dwelt, as a man, in this lower reality.
All time, space and matter were formed by Father speaking them into being, by His command. So, what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Heb 1:3 Jesus the Word, was with the Father in the beginning (Jn 1:1) and then entered our time and space reality and walked through it as a man. (Jn 1:14) Jesus’ incarnation is a vital revelation and meditation that daily adds nutrition to my masculine heart and soul because I am not in covenant with a distant deity, rather with the Son of God who also was the Son of man!
Therefore, Jesus’ opinions are the most important to me, for He has experienced both realities and is the only man I know who whilst on earth was tempted in every way but did not cross the line once. The pressures within my local context and reality He has also faced and defeated!
Opinions matter and some opinions are still affecting our matter, both as a person and in our performance.
There’s a phrase that Jesus often used towards the men He was training and mentoring – “you have heard it said; now I tell you! Matt 5:21-43
Knowingly or unknowing we have internalised someone’s opinion. Is it time to evaluate these and consider Jesus’ thoughts and opinions about us?
The Word and His words can and will change our matter and our time and space context. When we receive the Word and believe what the Word has done, we are given power to become. Become what? Adopted sons of the Father and given full rights, privileges and responsibilities and the power to accomplish and achieve, all He’s put in us at the desire level.
To a group of men Jesus once said these words – you have no room in your heart for my word! Jn 8:37
I hope and pray there’s space in ours for His?