How do you make steps out of a realization? How do you move others through a process you went through hoping their success is like yours? How do take males who don’t see it and turn them into men who definitely see it? I get bogged down trying to think of how to organize this, but I’m actually not feeling any sort of release to even do so. Worrying about how to make it some neat, step-filled process in order to be sure men get what we think they should get is a control issue. It’s a totally benevolently motivated issue, but if you’re asking the questions in the paragraph above, they reveal an issue in your own heart. It may even be easy to say it’s not an issue because you just have to be told something simple like “you can’t control how the men respond. But we all know you still ask these questions in other places. We all want men to “get it,” but there’s a graveyard and a nursing home filled with men’s ministries because men couldn’t rid themselves of the checklist, the formula, the “here, do this.”Let me explain.You feel like you got it, right? You have the fire you think other men should have, right? How did you get it?In my case, I had an earth-shattering moment that resulted in a mind-altering experience—and it was all God-borne or God-fixed. I’ll go into what happened another time, but for now, internalize this: my mind was changed and I—at long last—finally began to search earnestly for something and God handed it to me almost immediately. God led me to Wild at Heart. Now let’s not be fooled into thinking that the book did all the work. It didn’t. I’d owned that book before. I’d even started it before. In fact, I’m hearing a lot of men say they’ve actually read it or “went through” it, and they’ll gladly admit that nothing changed. Even that is better than what I did because it was literally an untouched decoration on my dresser. The book is a tool of the power, not the power. My mind wasn’t the power either. Nearly every time I’ve let my mind do the work, I’ve either gotten lucky and stumbled on a right thing, or I’ve done the wrong thing (and trust me when I say that even doing nothing or being idle is the wrong thing). My mind wasn’t the power, it needed the power. The power: the one and only Holy Spirit. Now stay with me. There was a time—a long time—in my life when I would immediately shut down when I heard or read that. I called it “kooky” talk. My perception came from two places:1. I’d seen a ton of abuse of the claim. False claims. Stupid moves that we’re supposedly covered under the guise of being led by the Spirit. I used it to judge how stupid a person was, and I’d subconsciously convinced myself that the Holy Spirit did nothing, had already done whatever it was supposed to do, or was some mystery that we’d never be able to access because we couldn’t understand it. As soon as someone said, “God told me…,” I was done with the conversation. 2. And this is the most honest reason: I was so preoccupied with others’ perception of me that I wasn’t willing to open up to any Spirit possibilities. I was insecure, and because I was attempting to achieve some false manhood, I couldn’t jeopardize my reputation. The first one isn’t altogether without merit. Thomas gets a bad rap for “doubting,” and the typical response to his story may be spot-on, but I’ve always admired him. Jesus specifically told his followers to beware of people claiming to be Him. I prefer to think that he simply wasn’t about to give any credence to an imposter. With that in mind, I don’t think anyone should abandon righteous caution in evaluating shaky Spirit claims. But hanging out on that response in this study is a crutch to keep us from the real issue: our pride as a response to our hurt and our unanswered or improperly answered question (hang tight; we’ll get to that question). The second is the one none of wants to admit. Piety is part of the facade church men create. It’s hard to admit that we’re actively rejecting one-third of the Godhead because the idea challenges our comfort zones. We love to rise above a challenge to our comfort zone and win a race, build something, bag a huge buck, face the elements, conquer whitewater, win the account at work. Really, though, all of that is IN our comfort zone. We’re comfortable being uncomfortable in ways we’re comfortable being uncomfortable. However, when we’re faced with being uncomfortable in a way we’re uncomfortable with being uncomfortable, we don’t just back away, we label it as weak, girly, stupid, uneducated, milk not steak, not applicable outside of Bible times. In fact, men will go a step further and hide in our categories. All of a sudden a loner who wants to be unique finds respite in aligning with all introverts or all in our Myers-Briggs or Enneagram type. But is that really what God had in mind when he programmed our gender? A man who is more manly by doing things he calls manly or not doing things he doesn’t think are masculine? No way. God programmed battle-ready servant-warriors who operate at their best when they seek their orders, wouldn’t think of disobeying them, and are aggressively carrying them out with laser-focus. Wild at Heart isn’t the power. The mind isn’t the power. The Spirit is the power. His lead. His directives. His crazy antics (yes, He gets downright bonkers). Don’t believe me? Go ahead, read the book and make it fit inside your current paradigm. Let me know if it works. Or make yet another attempt to change your own mind. That’ll be futile, too. “Joey, that sounds great, but how do we access the Spirit in all this?” I’m glad you asked. Pray. Pray openly. Honestly. Fervently. Ask God to reveal that answer. Then buckle up. Not just because the Spirit can be a bit nutty, but also because there are things that quench the Spirit, stuff that drowns out His voice and His lead, and you’re absolutely going to have to deal with those things with reckless, unapologetic abandon. No more clinging to your secrets. No more hoping you’ll finally stop doing the hidden things that weigh you down with guilt making you think that no one would accept you if they only knew the real you. No more vices. No more, “I’ll do this, but I’m not giving up that.” I don’t have to enumerate these things. You know what they are. You know shouldn’t be talking to her. You know you should install Covenant Eyes on your devices. You know the entertainment you shove into your heart. You know your doubts. You know which drink crossed the “too much” line. You know that third trip to the buffet is killing you. You know who you hate and need to reconcile with. And you know you lie to yourself every single time you rationalize them. And that shame you feel isn’t a simple emotion. It’s the response of a soul that cannot hear the Holy Spirit. Satan revels in the fact that you’re there. Ready to experience more? Ready to step into what I know you’re actually scared that you want?Buckle up. The process, the steps, the formula: we can’t figure that out for someone else. We can, however, nudge them by letting them see that they can let go and step into God’s comfort zone. And we absolutely cannot do that without giving the Holy Spirit room to work without any conditions or stipulations.

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