Eve (pt 2) going after her heart

Restoration is possible.  Jesus wants to breathe into us and give us a genuine strength we can offer to our Eve.  But we have to deal with our own woundedness because a wounded, hurting, un-validated man is ripe to be taken out.  We must battle this in real time – every time you see an image on TV or a woman across the restaurant, bring Jesus in … “She is not life.  I bring the cross of Christ against my enemy.  Only in you Lord Jesus will I find true life.”  When a memory surfaces, out of nowhere, of an old girlfriend or an impure moment, bring Jesus into it.

Now… we can talk about pursuing Eve…

We need to understand her heart, her core desires and how she is wounded.  First … she is wounded.  Every woman you know is a deep well.  The grass is not greener on the other side.  Satan hates Eve.  He was once beauty and no longer is.  She is.  His is a kingdom of death and she births life.

Know her story and how her father handled her heart.  Every little girl is yearning for someone to choose her.  “Am I beautiful?”   “Am I worth fighting for?”

Women have their own version of pornography … romance.  The TV shows, the Hallmark movies, the novels, etc. they always have the hero coming to fight for her heart.  He sees what no one else sees and she deeply desires to be seen as captivating.  Every girl wants this and every girl is wounded here.

The #1 predictor of sexual promiscuity in teenage girls is the presence of a father.  If she doesn’t get it answered by Dad, she will take the question to boys.  She’ll have sex hoping that some boy will truly love her.

Eve’s # 1 fear?  To be abandoned.  You notice this in relationship failures she has – be it her Mom or her Dad or a dear friend or a broken relationship with her child … she just comes completely unraveled.

You are meant to fight for Eve.  Not to get strength from her but to offer strength to herThis is perhaps our most misunderstood dynamic.  We men are coming at Eve all wrong.

You and I have all kinds of wounds and issues and insecurities from our past when we meet our wives.  We finally find a woman that will put up with our stupidity (!) and actually likes us and we fight to win her.  And when we win her … we hand her all our hurts and hang-ups that have been there a decade or longer and have zero to do with her and expect her to then validate and heal us.

We don’t exist as men to offer weakness to our Eve and have her fix it.  We exist as men to put her ahead of ourselves.  “To love her as Christ loved the church”.  We need to fight for her, pursue her heart, step in on her behalf – and when she realizes, “Oh, there actually is someone really willing to fight for me?”   Wow, it’s powerful.

Where was she wounded?  If it was neglect, be sure not to neglect her!  If she was never told that she mattered, you need to be sure to tell her she matters.  Your words, your actions – they can be very healing.  Of course she gets her healing from Jesus but as your wife, you play a key role.  You’re made as a warrior and the very first battle Adam was given to fight was for Eve.

You will encounter spiritual warfare all over this.  The feelings of “Geez this will never get better.  I don’t want to fight for her, I want to run.  I don’t want to have deep conversations that make me uncomfortable about our marriage”.  It’s resignation.  Fight this.  Yes…you do want to do this!  You’re a man.  Go in.  Fight.

Pray for her.  You have authority because you are praying in Jesus’ name.  The enemies you face that are assaulting her are vastly cunning.  They are ancient and skilled in the practice of deceit and warfare.  But … they will respond to your commands on behalf of your wife because you are praying in the name of Jesus.  They will respond to the absolute authority of Christ.  In fact, the entire spiritual realm is built on authority.  Just as Christ is the head of the Church, you are the head of your wife.  You have authority to fight for her.  Your prayers over her and on her behalf will have a real impact.

We are to be tender towards her brokenness and fierce towards her enemy.  Isaiah 61 after we are set free and restored, the Word says that we will become “oaks of righteousness”.

(Les Mis film clip 32.46 – 38:38)  You see him being both fierce and tender.  Holiness.  He stands down her accuser … “You are dismissed.  Enough!  Leave!”  Try that in your prayers against the enemy over your wife!  Dismiss him.  Tell him “enough!”  Tell him to leave in Jesus’ name that he cannot have your wife and heap destruction upon her anymore!

Stacy was under assault of being “overwhelmed”.  There was a deep woundedness.  He worked to unpack that with her, inviting Jesus in, helping to restore her heart, breaking agreements, fighting for her, bringing Christ in to fight against her enemy.  It works.

Beauty – I’ve yet to meet a woman who thinks she is truly beautiful.  Even super models struggle with this.  We can speak into this “you are so beautiful”.  Will she ever believe it?  That’s not the question.  Do you believe it?  If you believe it then you have something to bring to her.

You cannot do any of this effectively if you’re taking your question to her.  Check your motives in all this.  She cannot be the report card on the effectiveness of your impact on the world as a man.  The danger is you go in for a few rounds and fight for her and it just doesn’t change course and you withdraw and check out.  To go in and give it a try and then quit in your pursuit of her … that only helps to confirm to her that she isn’t worth pursuing.

Quitting.  Giving up.  Divorce.  Adultery … is saying, “I know you deeply and I know you are not worth pursuing.”  This strikes a deep, devastating blow at Eve.  It is why God hates divorce.  That is the essence of divorce – it is saying “you are not worth pursuing and you no longer capable of meeting my needs”.  It’s a deadly blow to a woman who already believes this about herself in the first place.

This is crucial and the key —> we don’t do any this for what we can get in return“I’m doing all this and you’re not responding.  Hey reward me for my valor.  Give me something.  Throw me a bone”.  The original motive is way off base.  That man is focused on what he gets out of it.

There is no guarantee this will work.  But it is the call, the charge God gives us a men.  And God understands.  Yes she can be frustrating.  Yes, the well seems impossibly deep at times and no, she may never change.  But the Father sits there and receives you in your fatigue with deep love and appreciation for the role you play in her life saying, “I know son, I know.  I understand.  I’ve given her to you for a reason.  Go back.  Never give up.”

This can’t be the way I choose to live  —> because she is going to validate me.”

It has to simply be the way I choose to live  —> “because this is the kind of man I want to be.

John – when Stacy isn’t doing good immediately accusation comes upon me.  I resent that she isn’t doing well.  I’ve got to take that to God, “Oh Father, rescue me again.  Help me love.  I want to love.  I want to choose a life of love.”

This can’t be about my self-preservation or just “climbing the palm tree”.  It’s got to be about love, having a heart of integrity, to be that kind of man.  So when she’s having a bad day, I can be OK.  “It’s not about me” – frees me up to love her, to pursue her.  She’s not the report card on me as to how I’m doing as a man.

more to come next week… 

 

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Eve

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”   Jeremiah 6:16 

The work of Christ can free the human soul from bondage; it really does bring restoration – if you are willing to embrace the process.  The promise of “abundant life” actually has a condition to it, and the condition is becoming a student of Jesus and embracing the ways of his kingdom. Those who make the choice to walk “the ancient paths,” are the ones who find “rest for their souls”.

“Adam and Eve were naked and without shame” – we can get that back, rescue the world and get back all that was lost.  God seeks to restore all that was lost”.

Eve is the incarnation of God’s mercy, tenderness and unconditional love.  We men tend to take our question to Eve – looking to her for our validation and primary love which are questions we should be taking to God.  “Make me feel like a man”

Adam’s fall – He was right there.  Passive.  Adam was not deceived by the serpent, Eve was.  First, it was his passivity – he does not act – but then there is this moment where Eve has fallen and he hasn’t.  Adam has a choice…do I go with God or the woman.  He chose Eve.  How easy is it for you to go toward passivity? 

Men worship at this alter of woman.  Men have destroyed families, households, churches, ministries, businesses … kingdoms have fallen over this.  (Tiger Woods, Marc Sanford governor of SC, John Edwards, General Patraeus)  — It goes way past sex.  We go to Eve for the validation, love, affirmation we crave.  To a fallen man, who isn’t experiencing the Living God, Eve looks like a fountain of life.  She is beautiful, she is mercy, she is love, she is intoxicatingly beautiful.  And yet, a man with a genuine strength … can walk away.  He doesn’t have to go there for his validation.

All these issues that come up with affairs, pornography, masturbation, addiction, sexual fantasies, etc. go way beyond the orgasm – we are taking our core questions to Eve.  1) Am I loved?   Does anyone delight in me?  2) Who am I as a man?   There is nothing like a woman arousing you sexually to make you feel like a man.  And if you don’t feel like a man anywhere else in life – Eve is going to be tough to resist.  To have a woman offer herself to you, the bigger the poser, the more unhealed your heart … the more you’re going to be a disaster here.

You know if you’re taking your core questions to a woman instead of God if you find her irresistible.  If just looking at a woman’s body is irresistible, you’re taking your question to her.  A real man can say, “Wow, she is beautiful … but … I don’t need that”.

You know if you’re taking your core question to her if you’re afraid of her.  Most married men are afraid of their woman.  She’s got the goods on you.  You can fake it publicly but she knows you.  When she asks, “Could we sit down tonight and talk about our relationship?” … you want to run!  Or when you walk in the door and you see that she’s just furious with you … you don’t feel strong, brave or loving.

The deadly thing is if you give a woman the power to validate you as a man – “Make me feel like a man” … then you are also giving her the power to invalidate you.  You’ve given her the power to absolutely castrate you.

The fallenness of Adam – the two things that effect all men 1) the passivity and 2) the worship of woman.  The desperate need for affirmation, love and validation and we take all that to her.  No wonder relationships get messy.  We have to take it back.  There is one more dynamic at work here – There is the passivity and the worship of Eve and then there is 3) the dynamic of our wounded heart that we get from multiple places in our childhood, teen years, young adult ages, etc. and we take our already wounded heart here – the sexual issues, looking to medicate, etc. and we try to find comfort.  It’s a recipe for disaster.  The enemy is all over this.  It’s the number one thing that takes men down.

Yes, Eve is love.  She is beauty and tenderness however, she is not life.  She looks like it until you get into it and you realize Eve is a bottomless wellGet that … a bottomless well.  She’s got all kinds of issues, past wounds, emotions, etc.  When is the pull to sexual relief the strongest in you?  When are you most tempted to cruise the internet looking for a little relief?  Isn’t it when you are lonely?  When you’re hurting?  When you’ve had a horrible day at work?  There is this empty ache in us and we go looking for relief.  Realize this – that empty ache in you is that you are looking for God.  You are looking for God!

When we turn to her with all this – the compulsions, fantasies, masturbation, addiction, porn, affairs, adultery – it is the wounded heart that desperately needs mercy and love and kindness.  And she just smiles at you and sweetly says, “thank you, you’re amazing” and BOOM … you feel like a man.  It traps us.  We addict to it.  Compulsion sets in.  We can’t resist.  And then the enemy just pounds you with guilt and shame and self-loathing.            (This is the cycle of porn)

We have to begin to turn this by taking it back and not going to her to fix our wounded heart

“I don’t want to give my soul away.  I want genuine strength to be able to fight the battles I know are coming my way and if I compromise my strength, I know I will be taken out.”  Every time we turn to her in weakness – for just a little something to make me feel better – we surrender a little bit of our own strength.  Something in us is further weakened for the next time.  Every time we look away and say, “No.  No.  I’m not going to give my soul away” something in us is strengthened and we are stronger for the next time.

The only antidote for the poser and the imposter is the real thing.  The more you lay down the poser and experience the real strength and the love of Jesus, the more you will want it.  And that man… God will entrust him with a kingdom.  God wants to give you a kingdom but not until you’re ready for it.  If you’re not ready for it, that power will destroy you.

Loving a woman really well actually starts here … by NOT taking your question to her.  She is not a problem to be solved or fixed.  She is a woman to be loved and enjoyed.  A real man fights for her, pursues her, brings his strength to her and it starts by taking your integrity back.  Go to God for your validation, your need as a son and for the healing of your woundedness.  This will produce a man of real strength.

Warfare – last session

Today we wrapped up our study on warfare and next week, we move onto Eve(If you think warfare has been intense, just wait until we dive into Eve!)  Please read Chapter 10 in Wild at Heart.  It was a great session with powerful testimonies from three of our men about agreements they’ve made, accusations they’ve been under and how they’ve used the Word of God to break those agreements.  All testified that breaking these long held agreements isn’t a “One & Done” process.  Rather, you will need to continue to battle against them but as you do, you will start to learn the skills to identify them quickly as they crop back up and you’ll be able to knock them back quickly and clear out the noise to get the Truth.

The clip from War Room is a powerful example of warfare.  In this, you see her taking back control of her family, her marriage and her home, verbally and strongly.  It’s a great example of how you can battle for your home…

Next, John writes a great story about how the subtle agreements come at us and how easy it is for us to turn to “relief” instead of restoration.  You’ll notice in this how the assault comes at him three times…

http://andsonsmagazine.com/18/beauty-heals#.VhUPjzOFOM8

Lastly, Morgan shares a powerful story on his blog about his 10 year-old son Joshua and his own battle against the evil one.  One small thing that happened at school was starting to form an agreement that could have stayed with Joshua for decades.  Notice how Morgan takes to the battle for his son and then, profoundly, he lets his son do his own battle.  Joshua prays, renounces the agreement and then invites the Father to speak.  Wow!  I strongly encourage you to follow Morgan’s blog.  It’s rich material for your walk and battle.

http://www.becomegoodsoil.com/access/

Below are the summary notes from the chapters on Warfare.  I just pulled out some of the key themes.  This is rich, rich material and I highly encourage you to read those chapters if you haven’t and if you have, perhaps re-read them a few times.  Underline what speaks to you.  Write in the margins what you’re feeling and what God is showing you.  In a few years, you’ll pull this back out and you’ll be amazed at what you wrote.  I also continue to encourage you to be journaling all of this.  Journal, journal, journal … write down what God is doing and saying in your life.  It’ll mean the world to you.

Warfare – notes from chapter 8 & 9…

From John Eldredge & Dan Allender – “If you don’t give Jesus your past, the enemy will no doubt take advantage of it.  He’ll take advantage of every bit of it – the guilt, fear, relationships that collapse, not being able to move forward in your dreams, hopes, career, etc.  If you don’t bring Christ to sanctify your past, bring your story back into the light and bring it into the light of Jesus… if you leave it in the past, neglect it, leave it in the closet … it’s not going to go well.”

You cannot fight a battle you don’t think exists.

A man must have a great battle to fight – a great mission for his life that involves yet transcends even home and family.

That is why God created you – to be his intimate ally, to join him in the great battle.  You have a specific place in line, a mission God made you for.

No one else can be who you are meant to be.  You are the hero in your story.  Not a bit player, not an extra but the main man.

The man who wants to live valiantly will lose heart quickly if he believes that his heart is nothing but sin – “Just a sinner saved by grace”.

We are never, ever told to crucify our heart.  We are never told to kill the true man within us, never told to get rid of those deep desires for battle and adventure and beauty.

We are told to shoot the traitor.  How?  Choose against him every time you see him raise his ugly head.  Walk right into those situations you normally run from.  Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over.  If you want to grow in true masculine strength, you must stop sabotaging yours.

A man’s addictions are the result of refusing his strength.

Let people feel the weight of who you are.  Don’t be afraid to rise up, to speak up and to be strong.  Let them deal with it.

The world of posers is shaken by a real man.  They’ll do whatever it takes to get you back in line – threaten you, bribe you, seduce you, undermine you.  They crucified Jesus.  But it didn’t work.  You must let your real strength show up.

Who was behind that brutal assault on your own strength, those wounds you’ve taken?  It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which demons hurl their mightiest weapons.

Rev 12:17 – “The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus”.

The enemy’s first line of attack is “I’m not here – this is all just you.” 

We’ll say it again —- You cannot fight a battle you don’t think exists.

The enemy will break your lines of communication.  He does it in churches, ministries and especially in marriage.  Marriage is a stunning picture of what God offers his people.  Scripture tells us it is a living metaphor, a walking parable, a Rembrandt painting of the gospel.  The enemy knows this and he hates it with every ounce of his malicious heart.  He has no intention of letting that beautiful picture be lived out before the world with such appeal that no one can resist God’s offer.  So just like the garden, Satan comes in to divide and conquer.

I’m not blaming everything on the devil.  In almost every situation there are human issues involved.  Every man has his struggles and every marriage has its rough spots.  But these are like a campfire that Satan throws gasoline on to try to erupt them into a bonfire.

He will try to intimidate.  Even reading this chapter on warfare, you’ve probably thought, “Do I really want to get into this super-spiritual hocus pocus?”

Why do so many pastors’ kids go off the deep-end?  You think that’s a coincidence?  So many churches start off with life and vitality only to end up in a split or simply wither away and die.  How come?  Why did a friend of mine nearly black out when she tried to share her testimony at a meeting?  Why does everything fall apart at work when you’re making advances at home and vice versa?  Because we are at war with the evil one and he is trying an old tactic to strike hard first to see if we’ll turn tail and run.

Why is it so hard for men to pray?  To have “quiet time”?  To read the Word?  It feels as important as flossing our teeth.  But if you saw your life as a great battle and you knew you needed time with God for your very survival, you would do it.  You’ll find a way to do it if you’re convinced you’re history without it.

Don’t even think about going into battle alone.  The “friend-less man” is dangerous in America.  Many men find it hard to accept that they need the fellowship of other men.  We don’t need accountability – we need fellow warriors who have our backs.

You will be wounded.  Satan knows your story, reads your mail and knows your weak spots.  He will exploit your weaknesses.  So you’re going to have to fight.  If you’re going to live in God’s kingdom, Jesus says, it’s going to take every ounce of passion and forcefulness you’ve got.