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!
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?
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.. Romans 13:14a
So what is responsibility? Ans: The Ability to Respond. Every man is Response-Able.
THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO SANDALS & SOCKS! (do not try this at home!)
Clothe yourself with Christ is the challenge to look like Him by how we live!
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 NASU
Everything that Jesus did in the gospels other than His healings all come under the heading of Him ‘doing good!’
In this list you’ll have the potential glossary of a Christ-centred masculinity!
Met a bloke this week that wanted to chat and show all of us who were having a coffee, what he had in his carrier bag, and so, out came a King Edwards cigar box. I thought the box looked cool and then he opened it, and inside were a stack of coins, from various countries. He spoke passionately about his coins and that he was going to the ‘see the guy in the shop’ who will ‘flap like a chicken’, when he sees these! For two or three minutes he held the table with his passionate conversation and then he was off.
This encounter and experience got me thinking about Ker-Ching, the noise coins make when deposited and a popular cultural phrase men use. What surfaced were three questions –
- Is there such a thing as Masculine Ker-Ching?
- If yes, what it’s currency?
- Where is it deposited?
Observe any group of men and it is obvious that Masculine Ker–Ching exists, their interactions and reactions, are just like financial transactions – stuff is being withdraw and deposited. Staying with the comparison of financial transactions, what is the currency being deposited and withdraw when we men get together?
I believe the currency is Respect. This is the coinage we men deal in and it comes in various denominations!
- Humour (inc Sarcasm)
- Projects (work/home)
- Successes (tasks taken on)
- Knowledge (sport, DIY, products)
All of the above are observable when males gather and what we are looking for but would never consider asking for; is respect. Going to stick my neck out here – respect is on par with sex when it comes to the masculine heart and soul. Men I believe, desire both of these in equal measure!
Respect is a close cousin of honour and honour is about your gifts and abilities being recognised, appreciated and celebrated. Recognition, Appreciation & Celebration, is the currency denominations of masculine ker-ching.
The masculine heart and soul that is not receiving the above is dying not thriving inside and will then go to one of two places: Striving or Sulking! Both are hard to be around and live with.
P.S there will be a growing amount of anger too, usually just under the surface.
The bloke with the cigar box had some rare coins that potentially were valuable, hence his visit to the dealers shop. Some of the most valuable ker-ching we men can receive are like these rare coins – not often seen!
- When was the last time your gifts, abilities & actions, as a man, were recognised & appreciated?
- When did you last release this coinage to the men in and around your world?
When I first glanced in the ‘cigar man’s box’ something immediately stuck out because it was a completely different in colour and size to the rest. My eyes and hands were drawn to this particular coin! Recognising, appreciating & celebrating another man, is just like that coin: it will stand out and draw people.
Fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers, co-workers, bosses, all need Masculine Ker-Ching!
Will we invest in these men?
Genuinely and intentionally release some rare coins?
From experience, this challenge might seem and feel a little weird and it is, because like a rare coin, it’s not an everyday thing. The words that pass between us men are like everyday coins, so when recognition, appreciation and celebration coins show up, they stand out!
One of the first times I ‘Ker-chinged’ another bloke, I was nervous and his knee started to rise but afterwards he was genuinely grateful.
The masculine heart and soul like a bank account needs regular deposits, if it’s going to avoid being overdrawn. We can become ‘Real Investment Bankers,’ investing in the generations of men in and around our world!
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov 16:24
So let us be intentional and invest. Ker-Ching!