I haven’t blogged for a number of weeks, due to a number of pressures and loss. This time reminds me of a truth – we are always in a season, and according to His Word, there’s a key activity to undertake in the season we find ourselves in. See Eccles 3:1 The season I am in is transition and this season can really be a troubling time emotionally and mentally and we can experience what I call soul lag.
Soul lag, like jet lag, affects our ability to function. Our bodies which are used to a particular time zone, struggle, initially to assimilate the new zone we are in. It is just the same with our soul which houses our mind, will and emotions – our thinker, chooser & feeler! Temporarily, these all struggle to function, as they transition to a new time, season and activities!
Transition is where all growth and development occur. Nothing new happens when business is as usual. Except, things compound!
Transition is a constant and seasonal dynamic in the heart and mind of the Father for all humans and especially for His sons and daughters. The purpose of His transitional programme is summed up in Deut 8:2 – “remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep my commands.”
Transition is the time and season where the Father reveals the state and condition of our heart, both the good and the bad! His desire is to bring out both and to develop the good and remove the bad. This is the purpose of the pressure and the test. See Roms 3:5 & Jas 1:2-8
As I write, from my experience of transition, my character trait that needs to be developed is a steadfast heart. Ps 112:8 gives me the qualities of a steadfast heart. These qualities need the pressure of their counterparts, so I can resist the and through my multiple repetitions against the resistance, I can develop a steadfast heart. The character trait that needs to be removed is a lack of consistency, or as scripture calls it – constancy!
As I continue on this ‘going and growing’ transitional journey, a foundational theological truth and revelation as come back to me which is found in Roms 5:8 – but God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
Demonstrate, translates as an introduction and so God introduces His love when we are in the worse of states and places – Christ died when we were sinners. This core characteristic of Father’s love is an important reminder as I take on the gap between where I am and where He is leading me which is the goal of transition.
His love kicks in even when I or it, are not looking good or going well! AS well as His unmerited love being available in transition, so too the other side of grace – His unrivalled power! And this power is made perfect in weakness which translates as lacking ability.
So, when I know I cannot, I reminded myself that His power, strength and might, are available, as a covenant right and applied by faith. See Eph 6:10
Whatever season you may be in and however it is going, or not! Remember, His unmerited love AND unrivalled power IS available, especially at those times that look or feel impossible.
My Father and Creator did not create humans but a man and a woman; therefore He created and specifically formed the masculine heart and soul and vice versa. We are different but have the same Father and I am speaking more than biology!
Just like our physical core strength determines our external performances i.e. what we can lift, carry, push, hold and resist, so too our masculine core. Our physical core needs specific exercise to develop it and therein our external performance, so too does our masculine core. Using the word core as an acronym let’s explore what muscles our masculine souls have and what specific exercises will help us develop them.
These are the four core muscles of our masculine soul as designed by our Father and they are vitally important to our success and achievement as men and also our fruitfulness and productivity as disciples!
Being uncertain at our core is destabilising and leads to increasingly erratic behaviour. The exercise that will strengthen and develop our ‘certainty muscle’ is validation and affirmation. These validations and affirmations have their roots in the Father’s voice and not in the voices of our mums, spouses or girlfriends! There were many things my mum gave me and I am forever indebted to her. So to Dawn my wife, she is a constant reminded of grace and beauty which are vital macro-nutrients to my masculine heart and soul.
However, for years I unknowingly took my need of validation and affirmation as a man to Dawn but she just didn’t have, by design, what I needed. My need could only be met by my father(s). I put the letter in brackets because I have two Fathers – a heavenly and earthly one.
When life happens by design; then earthly dads see the need for validation and affirmation and act and speak accordingly into their sons’ masculine heart and soul.
Many men I have met are still uncertain at their core, never having the validation and affirmation from their fathers and spending years seeking it from the women in their lives. If you’re one of these men and your father is still alive, then it’s never too late. If like me your earthly father is no longer around, the good news is, the heavenly Father loves to validate and affirm His sons. Cf Matt 3:17 & Roms 8:16
If you are still seeking validation from the key women in your life, give it up and let them off the hook!
The nature of this vital validation and affirmation is this; our worth and value is rooted in who be, not in what we do. This truth and experience avoids the massive deception that we as men can get so easily suck into – ‘performance related approval!’ PRA is a toxin to the masculine heart and soul; a slow killer that leads to either driveness, striving or hiding.
My father never validated and affirmed me because I don’t think he ever got me and now, retrospectively I understand this and no longer hold a frustrative attitude toward him. He did a very good job. Thanks Dad!
Certainty is really about confidence which is the doctrine of assurance and this truth is a vital experience our Heavenly Father deeply desires we understand, live in and function from.
Before Jesus had preached a sermon, healed or driven out a demon, His Father locked onto His heart, who He be and loaded it with His love, His assurance, His approval. Out of this Fatherly assurance, Jesus ministered, worked and rested! We can and must too!
Uncertainty has its root in fear: Future Events Appearing Real. We look out from our core as men and ask two vital questions – What is a man? Am I one? The Father’s love drives out fear 1 Jn 4:18 and His love starts by answering, in the affirmative, the above two questions. The Father does this by asking us to meditate on the finished work of His Son and inviting the Holy Spirit to testify to our spirits.
John 1:12 says to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave them power to become children of God. To all! Period!
Meditation is the core mental exercise that will build our certainty muscle, along with taking stuff on but that’s another blog.
If we have come back to our Father by believing His Son’s finished work on the cross, then He has given us the power to become His adopted sons. This title and all the realities that come with it are bestowed. They are an utter gift. Not earned but given! This is a real stumbling block for us men who have been raised to believe there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Well guys, that’s untrue and grace will continue to be a stumbling block until we let go of this lie.
The primary work or ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of an adopted son, is to testify to them that they ARE, who Father says they are and they HAVE what Father says they have. The key verses to memorise and meditate on regularly, I call this my ‘gym time’ is Roms 8: 15-17
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom 8:15-17 ESV
Meditation on His word is the spiritual equivalent of the plank exercise to our core.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are, by the gift of grace bestowed; sons, heirs and co-heirs! Heirs of all the Father has put in His will and co-heirs of all that He promised to His son.
This isn’t a free lunch. It’s a lifelong feast and we are distinguished guests.
Lack of Father given validation and affirmation in men, leads to us being and becoming increasingly frustrated. There are a lot of angry men out there and the answer to their struggle is to come home to Father, get His validation and affirmation and begin to feast at His table.
There we find the Father given nutrition that will feed, grow and develop our masculine souls.
Is it time to come home men? The table is set!
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. 1 Cor 9:25
Don’t you just hate the word ‘everyone!’
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. v 27
I want to be the champion!
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
A walker as he entered a new village asked a question of an old man leaning on the village sign: “Any great people been born here? Nope, said the old man. Only babies!!!
‘Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. Gal 4:1
You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2a-3
For Abraham is was over twenty yearsFor Joseph around seventeenFor David over twentyFor Mary around sixteenEven Jesus had around thirty years!
Daniel outshone all the ministers and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king considered setting him over the entire kingdom. Dan 6:3 NASB
He outshone the competition!
Is grace dormant in us?Is grace buried under the soil of our wrong motives?what’s our attitude to road work and rituals?
It’s not rituals vs rewards but ritual equals rewards!