A pathological and extremely efficient cardiologist, is my working definition of God my Father, as a heart expert! His words to Samuel when Samuel was discerning which one of the seven sons who stood before him was the new king are a helpful reminder –
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Sam 16:7
Eliab, was the eldest of the seven and Samuel when he saw him, made a decision – surely the Lord’s anointed stands before me!
Samuel saw but God looked and Eliab was not the one.
Fast forward a few years to the encounter with Goliath, the man mountain and Eliab and David’s other brothers would stand frozen for forty days and nights before Goliath’s challenge.
The day David arrived, he went out to meet Goliath. God saw the difference and chose David.
It’s worth remembering that the challenge of Goliath was for everyone and everything, because all the people, their land, houses and goods, would be to be given to the victorious one and vice versa.
David’s answer to Saul gives us a real insight into what is the opposite of a hard or a cold heart – “your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep…1 Sam 17:34. David had a sense, to be more precise, he was sensitive to the prompts of the Spirit of Almighty God. He knew that today, as he delivered the cheese butties, was going to be a life-changing day!
A hard heart, as described in Proverbs 28:14 and a cold heart, as described in Revelation 3:15 are about love for God and His purposes. In both of these verses, the love of the servant is under attack from outside forces, who are seeking to stop the servant from taking action, prompted by love and supported by faith, so that Father’s kingdom would come.
David’s heart was not perfect but it was maturing and central to this maturity is an attitude David adopted throughout his life which he wrote about in Ps 37:4 –
“delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The word David and the Spirit chose for delight means to live tenderly and delicately at heart, to be sensitive at the core of our being to His love – delight yourself in the Lord. Our being should have its being and becoming in His love, His friendship, His purposes. The Father and His ways should be our greatest desire and from this starting point, He will give us the desires of our heart, that He has placed there!
An illustration might help us – being and remaining like putty in His hand. Pliable and responsive is the baseline and our Father who is a master potter will push and work, at our pliable heart level to form and mould us, ready for the purposes He has already prepared ahead of time for us. Eph 2:10
Hard and cold putty is anything but pliable and as a result, it becomes unworkable.
So, what can we do to remain pliable at heart and avoid the state of being unworkable?
- Adopt David’s attitude & approach – “Search me O God, & know my heart
- Know that His adoptive love already accepted & approves of in Christ.
- The primary role of the Holy Spirit, is to testify WE ARE HIS!!!1
- His agenda is that His perfect love would drive out fear within our hearts
- Fear keeps us in, holds us back and stops us taking on our Goliath
- Worship and Word, keep us pliable at heart.
- Worship gets us of ourselves and over ourselves
- His Word gives us the insight into the height & depth & the width & length of His love
- His Word reveals how we can serve Him & obedience to His Word shows our love for Him
The final action is taking action, as He prompts us, towards the people and purposes He has in his heart and mind.
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!