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?
In my last blog (18/8/16) I shared some thoughts about unconscious incompetence.
The dynamic of not knowing that we don’t know what we need to know as men.
Our Father loves to bring His life and fill those spaces that are empty.
Today’s blog is a reflection about one man, who one day was led into a sacred space and divine appointment by Jesus.
His teacher was trying to make him aware of the competency that was already in him, which would fill the space and meet the need which was coming over the horizon.
That man was Philip. That day is found in John 6:5-13
As a disciple, a man within His team, Philip had the mandate and the designated power to ‘fill the earth.’ Cf See Gen 1:28 & Eph 1:23
Jesus was intentionally training His men to do what He’d been doing and do greater things. Jn 14:12
This particularly day Jesus saw the need before Philip and He turns and asks Philip, there were other team players there, a direct question.
Teachers and questions are historically almost negative for me.
What is it about being put on the spot by being asked a question?
This is one of the uncomfortable sides of Jesus but a side I now expect and am learning to love.
Here’s my paraphrase of that event (Jn 6:5) – Jesus saw on the horizon a pressing need; hungry people. “I can and will feed them, yet I need to train the lads because when I go back they’ll have to do what I’ve been doing. Who’s ready for this test, this pressure? Phil!
Turn up the heat, apply great pressure are the dynamics of the word test.
Jesus intentionally puts His friend and team mate in the zone, and He makes no apology for it!
The words of the late Myles Munroe are very insightful –
“Potential is determined and revealed by the demands placed on it by its creator.” Myles Munroe
Jesus puts Philip in an exacting place and a sacred space, for the sole purpose of bringing out what’s dormant: the power to fill the space and meet the need!
Some time back, during an intense time, I asked the Father want was going on and He said this-
Exacting places; are extracting places!
- Exacting – trying or unremittingly severe in making demands.
- Extracting – to draw out, withdraw.
I came to realise that the problem I was facing and the pressure I was under, were designed and factored in by Father. Through me, He would fill the space, meet the need and relieve the problem!
The problem was, I didn’t know what He’d put in me and how it related to what I was facing.
I was unconsciously competent!
This problem in me needed to be addressed before the external problem could be properly faced and solved.
Are we under pressure?
Is a problem coming over or covering the landscape of our life?
Perhaps these are designed and factored in by your Father?
Is He trying to get us to realise what we’ve been given, so we can release it?
Pressure is essential for muscle growth.
Is He asking us to wake up and grow a latent ability, gift or skill?
Willing us to pick up the bar, start to rep and produce?
Unless we realise, become consciously competent, we cannot release and we and others will miss out.
- past tense,
- present reality.
Something has happened, been completed, has been finished!
It is finished. In Christ.
“And you were also included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation..Eph 1:13
In Christ is like a Russian Doll – there’s more to it than meets the eye!Is it time to open up to all He has given us?
Many Identify but how many men are Appropriating ALL that’s been given?This list is not exhaustive but all are meant to be in the masculine glossary!
- about who we are
- who’s we are
- what we have already been given!
The primary paradigm that Jesus asks His disciples to adopt and buy into is a ‘father view of the world,’ reminding us that we are not doing this life stuff on our own but there is a Father who is totally for us and not against us.
I like the way John Eldredge puts it –“You are the son of a kind, strong and engaged Father…” *
“yet; there will be times when we think dad is trying to kill us!”
So much of modern Christianity and discipleship portrays a merciful, loving and kind Father, who seeks to bless and prosper us. These truths are correct but incomplete because He is also a Father, who tests, proves and refines us, which are inseparable from the blessing and prospering us stuff and heat is essential for all three!
Hope this doesn’t offend but He is portrayed like a –
“’ Soft drinks swilling fat guy, who wears a red suit and just wants to give you good stuff!
- I believe in a Father who desires to give me the desires of my heart. Ps 37:4 & Prov 10:2
- This includes treasure, which infers adventure, risk, danger, opposition & hot places: heat
I think it’s really cool that Indian Jones’s father is Sean Connery; I wonder who would play Indian’s son. This, like Father like Son dynamic, can be gleaned from a verse in Romans –
“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Roms 8:29 The Message
- The Father would shape the lives of His sons by treating them as He treated His Son.
- He would view, lead, expect & equip us as He had Him.
- Father will turn up, bring on and increases the heat!
At twelve Jesus said He had to be about His Father’s business, eighteen years later, give or take, Jesus goes into the wilderness, to be about His Father’s business!
What kind of father is it that sends His son into a place that has:
- Extreme temperatures
- Is a hostile and demanding terrain
- Could be a life and death place
- Where He would be exposed to dangerous creatures & supernatural forces.
What kind of Father does this?
The one Jesus desired us to know and follow, who understands and uses Heat!
“I call Him the ‘bless and stress us dad!’ “
The Bible is full of characters that this Father blessed and stressed and stressed, and then blessed! You may have never thought about God the Father this way before but stay with me.
At its core blessed is about empowerment: divine ability assisting its natural partner. The super meets and equips the natural within the test. Luke records a ‘Before and After’ dynamic regarding Jesus and His wilderness experience: He goes in one way and comes out another –
- And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, & was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, Luke 4:1-2 RSV
- And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, Luke 4:14 RSV
Jesus came out of the wilderness, the place of the stress and the test, with the empowerment to accomplish and finish His Father’s business and His Father deliberately took Him into this wilderness for that purpose.
His Father knew that Jesus had what it took; He told Him so before He entered the wilderness (Mark 1:11). Immediately after His Father’s affirmation He enters the wilderness and within this ‘Father arranged, test and stress place,’ Jesus would release and realise the power that was available to Him and for Him!
“He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.”
The Father desires to shape our lives along the same lines as His Son, which means He desires to –
- Affirm His love to and for us
- Release Affirmation before performance
- Approval outside of achievement
- To confirm we have what it takes
- Give us His power to ‘get the job done.’
- And to send us into a stress and test environment to understand and utilise that power.
Within the test/heat are problems that will call out to our potential, the Father knows this and so He takes us there and provides us with opportunities and opposition, so we can ‘realise and release,’ what He has called us to be and do!
The test and the heat combo, make demands on the potential our Father has deposited within us!
Father saw –
- Moses’ potential and so He provided a Pharaoh
- David’s and so He provided a Goliath
- Jesus’ and so He provided a satan
- Ours and so He provided …..!
Father knows pressure produces and so in the next part we’ll look at the truth that ‘Exacting places are be Extracting places!
- Heat, correctly used, will strengthen & temper, extract impurities & raise the carat rating.
- Father knows how to use heat and He always test, proves and renews, ALL of His sons.
- He’s not trying to kill us
- He’s intentionally seeking to maiximise the potential He has placed within us!
“The maximisation of the abilities, talents, gifts and untapped potential that lay dormant in the lives of individuals who have impacted their generations, was occasioned by the pressure created by circumstances and situations beyond their control. Preface to Max your potential Myles Munroe”
*The Way of the Wild Heart pg 31