Identity

Two Essential Questions You Gotta Get Answered!

From Day 1 of Creation, God made all things good. He made them as He meant. Each day was good- again and again. By Day 6, God made man and he said he was “very good”. God saw Adam, from head to toe and inside his soul and He said he was “very good”. 

Think about that for a moment. Man; male and female, very good. Without sin. The crown of God’s creation. You can’t get any better than this!  When God made Adam, He gave him a purpose for life. That was to be in a perfect relationship with God and to have a great marriage to Eve!  We call it the Garden of Eden because it was the place where Man and God could live in a healthy relationship. Without sin!

Then, in Genesis 3 things happened that blew that perfection out of the water. I don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the sinless Garden with each other and God. We read the Bible as if things happened one right after another. There are periods of time where the Bible doesn’t tell us every single thing that happens. It tells us everything we need to know that happened.  What happened in Genesis 3 rocked the universe. It rocked Adam and Eve and infected each of us since.  Sin entered because mankind chose to not listen to God’s Word. They questioned it.  The Enemy, Satan said, “Did God really say?”  

We know the rest of the story. Eve ate of the fruit God said not to (the knowledge of good and evil).  What’s interesting is in the temptation, Adam was with Eve the entire time, and he did NOTHING!  NOTHING!  It’s called passivity and it’s plagued us, men, ever since. Shame immediately filled Adam and Eve, so they hid from God.  As if hiding from God is even possible!

“Where are you, Adam?”

 “I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself”. Sin brings shame. What was naked and unashamed before sin is now naked and ashamed. Shame kills relationships. It sends us into hiding.  That pattern has followed us to this very day. Sin makes me hide myself from you. If you truly knew me, you might reject me. My fear is you won’t love me. Accept me. So, I pose and I create what John Eldredge calls “modern-day fig leaves”. Things we do to cover up the pain that comes from living in our sin. 

Salvation at Twelve

Truth is, many of us have made the head-knowledge ascent to Jesus dying on the cross for our sin. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV  When I was twelve, I connected the dots between Jesus coming at Christmas and his death and resurrection at Easter. I also saw my sin and realized my eternal destiny hung in the balance. My twelve-year-old logic saw the weight of my sin and I didn’t want to go to hell!  So, under my bunkbed blankets, I trusted in Jesus. 

Did you know that the split-second you trust in Jesus, you get 100% of the Holy Spirit? The Bible teaches that you become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and that Christ lives His life through you (Galatians 2:20). 

“But, why do I still sin?”

I’ve asked myself that same questions a thousand times. I remember dealing with a ton of lustful thoughts and some shameful sexual acts when I was in my teens and twenties. Stuff I’d be mortified if anyone ever knew.  What I know now is that the areas of my life where I struggled the most were areas that I had the most pain, the most wounds, places in my heart I kept locked away from the presence and work of God in me. 

If you are a believer in Jesus, you have a good heart given to you by God himself. The Holy Spirit is the current and most relevant evidence of God’s presence in your life. The Enemy knows that if your heart is fully surrendered to the Spirit, you will be a man to be reckoned with. The Enemy is scared spitless if you become a man (whatever your age) fully filled with the Spirit. So, the Enemy does all he can to keep your wounds away from the supernatural work of God. 

My Story

Throughout my years, I’ve struggled with the same issues; Not good enough. Weak. Insecure, Wanting desperately for you to like me. Several months ago, I attended a Wild at Heart Men’s Boot Camp up in Colorado. The Lord used that experience to show me some wounds I’ve been carrying with me since I was a boy. That feeling of not measuring up has been there a long time; even while having faith in Jesus. What’s wrong with me?!

Snot Cries

Sitting in a room with 450 men, I cried like a baby, and I didn’t care. It was as if God was pulling the scab off my wounds. It hurt! I didn’t want to go there, but it seemed as if I had no choice. Facing my pain was the last thing I wanted to do at a men’s conference but to be honest, it was the first step in a lot of healing that’s happened since.

Two Essential Questions You Gotta Get Answered!

There are two questions deep in your soul that you desperately want answers to. Ever since you were a toddler, you’ve been asking them.

  1. Does anyone delight in me?  If that question isn’t answered, we will go to desperate measures to find them, even if that path we go down is filled with dangers, temptations, and sin.
  2. Do I have what it takes to be a man? From as long as I can remember, in one form or another I’ve been asking that question. The problem has been from the one-man God placed in my life who was to answer those questions, I didn’t get clear answers. 

Father Wounds

I want to make something very clear. I have tremendous respect for late my father. His patriotic love for this country. His military service. His faithfulness to work hard and to provide. I recall the day of his funeral, the 21-gun salute, and the soldier who handed me the folded flag. Thirty-four years of service to our nation.

No dad is perfect. That is NOT the issue here. My dad had his own issues such that he struggled with how to answers those two God-given questions my soul had been searching for.

In Hebrews 12 it says that our fathers raised us as best seemed to them, but that God fathers us for our good; that we may share in His holiness. 

How Do You Answer those Two Questions?

What you do in life to answer those two essential questions tells a lot about your heart.

Does anyone delight in me?  

If you are not getting those answers, you will self-medicate.  Self-medication comes in a lot of ways. Mine was triggered by an introduction to porn at age 13. That filled with lust sent me into a dark valley of using things like masturbation and fantasies piled on the shame. That part of my soul became very locked and resistant to the work of God. As desperate as I was to fix the pain in me, the path I took wasn’t working.

Other guys medicate with alcohol, over-eating, over-working, over-anything. 

Truth is, it’s all a pursuit of false-delight. Do you really think those porn women care about you?  Do you really think your obnoxious humor is going to soothe the pain in your heart?

Do I have what it takes to be a man?

Like you, I long to be validated. For that next step in my manhood journey, do I have what it takes? Is it me trying harder? My posing or faking it to prove to you I’m more of a man than what I really am?

Here’s what I know. In James 4:5 we discover that God has tremendous feelings for you. 

 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

There is nothing more that God wants than to spend time with you. To live in you by his Holy Spirit. He longs for you. He loves you and wants nothing more than to validate your life. He delights in you.

In Psalm 139 it says that God’s thoughts towards you outnumber the sands on the planet.  And, I’d add the number of stars in the heavens.

God gives you a new heart in Christ and His every move towards you is to father you; to restore your heart. To heal those wounds that have held you back, have sent you into a self-medicating loop. 

There’s Hope!

God wants to speak to you. He wants to enter into those secret places of your heart. Those locked parts of your soul where pain and wounds fester. 

Will you give Him permission to enter?  Will you give Him the key to that locked part of your soul?

Will you be willing to tell your story?  Not to just anyone, but to someone who can help you, who can walk with you through the journey from where you are at as a man to the man God meant you to be?  I won’t promise it will be an easy, painless journey, but I can promise you this. If you let God father you through those two questions, you WILL be more of the man God meant you to be; and that is exactly what will cause those sinful behaviors to dissipate. “Holy Spirit, live your life through me. Father me through the wounds and pains. Restore my heart.”

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.

Comments are closed.