Faith Identity Relationships

How Deep Are You?

Part of manhood maturity is the ability to develop soul intimacy. A depth to one’s soul that reaches far beyond our society’s shallow definition of deep.  There is a level of intimacy a man should have that ultimately leads to a soul oneness with his wife. A depth he would never have with his buddies or another woman. (Although, a godly man should be intentionally deep with another godly man if he wants to find meaning to life.) 

Learning to Express Intimacy

Where does a man learn to express such intimacy? How does he find safety in exposing his heart? In transitioning from a boy centered on play to a man centered on his pursuit of God and healthy soul-care?  How does a man deepen his intimacy with his wife such that it will lead to intimate sex? Sex is by far the most spiritual act a man and his wife can have. In fact, we read in Ephesians 5 that a man is to love his wife, as Christ loves His church, who died for her.  In that same passage, Paul quotes the infamous Old Testament scripture of a man leaving his father and mother and clinging to his wife; the two becoming one flesh. You cannot become one flesh without having sexual intercourse, but you will never truly be one until your souls share the oneness sexual intercourse represents.

Validation

Ever since you were a boy, God put in you an insatiable hunger for validation. “Does my life matter?”  “Do I have what it takes to be a man?”  With that, a boy matures through puberty and adolescence. His emerging manhood presses him to answer that burning question of validation. If he doesn’t get it in his earthly father or other godly men, he will search for it in every imaginable place, and then some.  Yes, even good Christian guys who love Jesus, can get caught up in a host of addictions that sideline them from truly finding authentic validation. Here are a few dead-ends we men get caught up in. Pornography. Somehow we think our validation is found in the sexual arousal pornography offers. Truth is the woman online could care less about your sexual arousal. The fact most pornography viewing results in masturbation or other sexual acts merely means you have a literal mess to clean up. Shame and guilt pile up and all you want to do is hide. Oh, what fakes we are!

Then, there are things like posing. You know, you try to impress a woman, give her a glowing report on the fine, upstanding man you are, when truth be known, you are a broken, undone and otherwise shell of a man.  How many times have I posed? Strut my feathers to appear larger than life, all so I can get the accolades my soul is dying for?

Young men who love Jesus fill up on alcohol. They get drunk and in doing so, cross lines that in their sober state, they’d be mortified over! Staggering. Hangovers. Injury. Even arrested.

Wounds

At a recent Wild at Heart Men’s Boot Camp, God took me to the mat, pulled the scab off a deep-seated wound I’d been carrying around since I was a boy. It resulted in a snot-cry surrounded by 450 other men. I didn’t care! Those wounds held me back in many ways. My hesitation to try something new. My constant wrestling with discouragement and depression. My fear that I fall woefully short of what it takes to be a man. If you are even half-honest with yourself, you’ll admit you have father wounds that have plagued you for most of your life. 

Fathered by God

As God fathers me, as I give Him permission to reach deep into my soul, I realize there is a far deeper level of intimacy I was created to experience. Tragically, few men ever dive to such depths with God or with others. He may fall in love and marry, have kids and live an outwardly happy little life, but his heart is stagnant. It yearns for more. More with God. More with his wife. More with his kids. We’re not talking religion here. We are talking a relationship with God through His Son Jesus that overturns your soul. That presses you towards greater manhood. 

Looking with Favor

On a recent weekend, I found myself spiraling down into the dark abyss of discouragement. Lies the Enemy force-fed me for years growing up, pierced my soul. My wife kept commenting on how I was irritable, bothered. I told her repeatedly I wasn’t angry with her. In fact, I couldn’t put my finger on what was pulling me down. “Father me, God through whatever this is I’m going through.”  There were two things I intentionally did that weekend.  First, I kept God’s Word in front of me. Second, I asked a few close friends, some of whom I mentor, to pray for me. During that introspective weekend, I heard God say two words to me “Your dad.”  Looking at the calendar, I realized it was the sixth year anniversary of my dad’s death. I last saw him that Friday when he came over to help our 18-year-old son fix his truck, while I was bedfast with the flu. A few days later, I found him dead. It was a hard week for all of us.

That explained my tears that came unexpectedly. My soul found deep care in reading Psalm 139. Here are some of my notes.

Reading through that, verse 5 hit me. 

You hem me in, behind and before,

God has me covered. He goes before me. He is paving the way for my life. Nothing I face I face without it first being sifted through His hands.  He also has my back. Whatever wounds, or struggles of the past, He, in Christ, WILL restore me. He will father me through them. 

Here’s what hit me most…and lay your hand upon me. Physical touch might not be your love language, but all I can tell you is when someone puts their arm around me as a sign of affirmation, my soul swells! Call it a bro-hug, a man-smack or whatever, but it’s what God says He does to us! For God to lay his hand on you is a sign of HIs direction on your life. You are not forgotten. You are His and His hand sends supernatural affirmation to the depths of your soul.

How Deep Are You?

There is a direct correlation between your manhood maturity and how deep you go with God.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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