From all that has happened to us in our lifetime, all we have encountered and experienced, we have drawn conclusions about life and how to make it work. We form our conclusions in order to protect and provide for ourselves. Like bricklayers constructing a house, we build our belief system brick by brick from our stockpile of conclusions. We consult our experiences to determine how the world operates, who we are in it, how to avoid pain, when to promote ourselves, and more.
All of these moments, and all the conclusions we draw from them, are stored in a precious place called the heart.
A man’s heart is engaged with his belief system regardless of his condition. Whether alive in Christ or spiritually dead, the heart is in constant danger of being compromised and wounded.
No wonder two kingdoms, Light and Dark, are at war over such a beautiful and vital piece of real estate. Is it any wonder that men’s hearts are in serious need of renovation? In our core, our center, are stored the attitudes, beliefs, and conclusions shaped by our experiences. These need God’s attention, because we don’t get by without being hurt, missed, or wounded in this Larger Story and at this central core of places.
It is with good reason that the Scriptures tell us,
“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” -Proverbs 4:23 HCSB
What every man has left unguarded for much of his life needs his and God’s attention. There are things growing there and wandering about that have gone unattended far too long.
There is a remedy for the false-self life from which we all suffer. There is another kind of life, another way of life, and it is almost too good to be true. Almost.
It is the life of a son of God, a Beloved Son, one who knows how to fight and knows how to rest, knows how to be loved and, in time, learns how to love.
The invitation for a man to see the things within himself that need caring for, and then brings those things to God for treatment and healing, is just another great day of training in the kingdom.
It was Francis of Assisi who said,
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
Overcoming the false self, to be exact—the outer layers of a man, both the good and the messed-up and sinful, that he mistakes for his deepest identity.
Things began to change in my life when I began to observe my false self. They continued to change when I let my true self, my core identity in Christ, take over my false self. Things needed to change.
Seeing what had to be overcome was a huge step toward actually overcoming it!
One of the first steps in our training is to circle back to what has already taken place in our story. What we learned along the way and why we have become the way we are requires our focused attention if we are to become truly free. Early in training, regular visits with God to explore one’s personal history are standard practice for men to shed the false self and to become true men.
You can start right now. Take a moment, grab some paper or sit behind a computer, and in your time alone with God, ask Him:
Father, who delivered the messages and materials that formed the beliefs of my heart?
Jesus, what happened to me that has brought on a loss of heart?
Holy Spirit, in my life’s journey, who inflicted hurt, guilt, fear, or shame? When? Where?
Find answers with God to these questions and you will find your false-self, the thing the enemy of your heart controls and the thing that opposes your life with God.