“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?
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!