the true man …

Many of us have forgotten who we really are. Life comes at us hard and it can be a real battle. There is an enemy who fears what you could become and will do whatever he can to defeat you.

We all have identities – those put on us and those we have taken on such as “I am not enough” – or – “I’m not a real man” – or – “I’m a failure” – or – “I’ll always struggle with this” and we have learned to live from this identity.  

When we move into this process, we learn of the false self and poser for the first time and start looking below the surface at the 90%.  We’re asking, “Who have I become?” and “How have I constructed this fig leaf to self-protect?” and “What is it I am trying to protect?”

It is the process to letting God have access to all of you so He can begin the process of restoration.

God is after the restoration of your true identity.

The true man – is the kind of man who has nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and nothing to prove.  

What would it be like to live like this?  In our relationships, in our work, in the community, in the moments of decision when the stakes are high – what would it be like to have nothing to hide, nothing to fear and nothing to prove?  To just come and bring the real you, the true you?  Where you appear wanting nothing in return – no applause, no attention, no compliments and rather, to just offer a real strength and love to those in need.

This is what God is after in us for when we live through this trueness, our greatest work for the Kingdom is possible.

When I hide – or — when the shame of my past shuts me down – or — when my insecurity causes me to live as a poser, I cannot bring strength and love to my world.

When our souls become whole and, over time, we go through this metamorphosis into trueness, we are opened up to the greatest treasure given us by the heart of God: the restoration of our identity.

“We are built to count, as water is made to run downhill.  We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does.  That is our destiny.”

Dallas Willard

God’s primary mission is our becoming, and He is making his intentions known to us through every whisper in every day.  God is pursuing you … daily.  Not the false you.  Not the poser.  He knows the true in you and He is after that daily.  Pursuing you.  Asking you to rely upon and trust in Him instead of your pose.  He sees the man in you who has nothing to hide, nothing to fear and nothing to prove and He wants to teach you how to live this way.

My question for you today is … have you forgotten who you are? We’ll talk more about this next week.

One of my most favorite devotionals is New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. I encourage you to pick up a copy. Here we are this week talking about this topic and the devotional from 4/12 said this … “Who in the world do you think you are? I’m serious. Who do you think you are? You and I are always assigning to ourselves some kind of identity. And the things that you and I do are shaped by the identity that we have given ourselves. So it’s important to acknowledge that God has not just forgotten you (and that is a wonderful thing), but He has also given you and brand-new identity. If you’re God’s child, you are now a son of the King of Kings and Lord of lords. You are in the family of the Savior who is your friend and brother. You are the temple where the Spirit of God now lives. Yes, it really is true – you have been given a radical new identity.

The problem, sadly, is that many of us live in a constant, or at least a rather regular, state of identity amnesia. We forget who we are, and when we do, we begin to give way to doubt, fear, and timidity. Identity amnesia makes you feel poor when in fact you are rich. It makes you feel foolish when in fact you are in a personal relationship with the One who is wisdom. It makes you feel unable when in fact you have been blessed with strength. It makes you feel alone when in fact, since the Spirit lives inside of you, it is impossible for you to be alone. You feel unloved when in fact, as a child of the Heavenly Father, you have been graced with eternal love. You feel like you don’t measure up when in fact the Savior measured up on your behalf. Identity amnesia sucks the life out of your Christianity in the right here, right now moment in which all of us live.”

Have you forgotten who you are?

Oh, to be this man …

if you click on the link below, it will take you to Wild at Heart’s website. Scroll down to episode 2 “The Poser”. Watch it. Perhaps watch it a second time. Watch it with your wife and see what conversation comes to the surface. There is rich material in here …

https://wildatheart.org/wildatheart/

Oh, to be this man —

“A man of strength, integrity, who lives with an intentionality and has a movement in his life towards God and others.  A man who rescues others, who lives well, loves well and who is free, strong and loving.” 

We all know a few men like this; real, authentic, genuine men.  Men who are transparent and strong.  Men who don’t pose, are humble and yet so strong.  They are very rare but when you find a man like this, aren’t you just drawn to him?  This vs. the poser, you know that man who is always full of bluster, always has to speak, always has to be right. That guy…does he draw you in?  No, of course not.  That guy, the poser, no, he pushes people away because he is terrified to let anyone see his true self.

We’re all born with this question of “Do I have what it takes?”  Can I rise up and face and deal with all that is required of me as a man?  It’s a question that haunts us.

And we’ve all been told – some on multiple fronts, some in quite painful ways – “No, you don’t have what it takes.”  Maybe it was your father or an older brother.  Maybe it was a boss or a coach.  Maybe it is your wife.

When that plays out, when you’re told “You don’t have what it takes”, when that is seen and we’re exposed as not having what it takes…there is nothing worse. 

We all have areas where we get our applause.  But we all have areas that haunt us where we don’t have what it takes.  So what we do is we hide.  We hide those areas so no one will see us.  And we concentrate on the few areas of success, skill and ability.  And with those other parts, we hide. 

We pose because if we were truly seen as not having it all together, we couldn’t take it.  So we fake it.  We mask it.  We fall back on the strengths of our checkbook or our looks or our athleticism or our intelligence or our theologian-like knowledge of the Bible.  In so doing, we create this buffer around us, this bubble that keeps people a certain distance away from our core where they can’t see our vulnerability and weakness.  We don’t let anyone in too close perhaps even most particularly, Eve because she has the ability to cut our legs out from beneath us so we don’t let her see our weakness.

The beautiful thing is that Christ offers us a genuine strength so we don’t have to hide, pose or fake it.  His restoration goes deep. What He offers goes beneath the surface of what people see – the 90% below the surface. 

What God is after in us is a restoration, a transformation to becoming a man that is engaged, loving, moving towards others, offering, handling his world with a strength and courage and reliance on God.

Breaking the pose is the first step towards freedom.

A step to the future so I can start being trained for my role in the Kingdom instead of battling my past – i.e. I am wounded by this weakness I have, the things that were said against me, so I have crafted this slick pose, this false-front so that I can appear to be “the man”.

Breaking the pose means being strong enough to be vulnerable, to be real.  That authenticity will draw people in whereas the Poser pushes people away.

We have to cultivate this shift to authenticity and away from the pose.  We don’t fix it in one session.  No, these fig leaves we’ve crafted to mask our true selves have been perfected over decades.  They just don’t quietly go away in the night.  You’re going to have to fight for freedom and pursue this breaking of the pose. 

It is like a rough, clay filled piece of dirt.  We have to dig the soil.  Harrow up the field.  Fertilize it.  Plant it.  Water it.  Pick up the rocks.  Dig it all up again.  Re-fertilize.  Compost it.  Kill it back, burn it.  Dig it up some more, re-fertilize, replant.  And in a few years, you’ll have lush, green fields producing a good crop.  A good soil = a good outcome.  It takes time and work but the outcome is very much worth it – an abundant life.

Dropping the pose is going to take work but it leads to life.

How many of you are living in the past?  Fearing the future?  All of this at the utter cost of missing the “now”?  What’s the cost of the pose?

Chip Gaines … shapeshifting …

This is from Chip Gaines (HGTV’s Fixer Upper) new book “No Pain. No Gaines.” Right in the middle of us talking about the false self and posing, this comes along. As you read this, you will see how the false self was formed in him – how he took on whatever personality he thought would appeal to the crowd. And we can see how his wife called it out in him and how he developed his “non-negotiables” for life. Even in knowing who he is, he still fell into the temptation to pose on the red carpet. That’s the thing about your false self – it is well crafted and perfected and you’ve been leaning on it a long time. Just because we have exposed it doesn’t mean it will give up without a fight. It is a life-long process to crucify the false in us. Here is what he says…

I spent a decent portion of my life as an imposter, taking my cue from others about who I should be.  It sounds bad, but I was good at it.  I was good at fitting in, good at seeming like I belonged no matter what the scene.

In 6th, 7th and 8th grade, I was in a popular crew of kids who people wanted to be around.  I learned how to “shapeshift” (his word of the false self) with the best of them, adopting the lingo, the laugh, the look of anyone I wanted to fit in with.  I even wore boat shoes and tied a sweater around my neck one time, just to try out-country-club the actual country club kids.  I practiced shapeshifting all through high school.  Obviously, there was a pretty significant insecurity hiding beneath those polo shirts.  I started to believe that people were far more interested in their own version of me than the real me.

As human beings we can get pretty creative about coming up with multiple personalities, taking cues from what other people seem to want.  You look around to other people for evidence of who you should be.  You laugh at something you don’t think is funny because other people are laughing at it.  You pretend to like a band you hate or act like you hate a band you love.  You wear sunglasses everyone else is wearing.  These are small things, but it’s death by a thousand papercuts to your sense of self.  If you keep it, it’s easy to forget who you really are.

My personality muscle had become so conditioned to create new identities that I continued to generate new versions of myself throughout college.   I was still focused on being the guy everybody liked.  Fortunately, my imitation act took its final bow soon after I met Joanna Stevens.  She didn’t seem to want a made-to-order version of me.  She saw all through that nonsense.  After we’d been dating a while, Jo sat me down and told me she needed to know who it was she’d be marrying.  It became clear how easily this charade could destroy my chance of a life with this woman.  You cannot substitute in something artificial without compromising the integrity of the whole deal.

Jo’s question forced me to drop the act and take up the task of discovering who I really was.  I had to peel back all those crappy layers I’d accumulated and carried around with me since childhood so I could see what was really there from the beginning.  Once I could clearly see the difference between what was fake and what was real, these qualities became my non-negotiables: the strength of my faith, my dedication to my purpose, my love for my family, my commitment to who I am.

Identify your non-negotiables, and all those made-up layers fall away.  Then you start building from there.  But peeling off layers you’ve worn for a long time is not easy.  What you find underneath might be pretty unappealing at first – pale from the lack of exposure to sunlight, weak from lack of use.  But ultimately you were given the stuff under there to hold you up and help you move through the world.  Once that outer protective layer is gone, and you get used to moving around without it, there’s no feeling as beautiful and free.

Two years ago, Jo and I were selected on the Time Magazine Time 100 list along with LeBron James, Michele Obama and Taylor Swift.  Stepping out of the limo was like entering the Twilight Zone.  Cameras, paparazzi, red carpet, the works.  We kept saying to ourselves, “how are we qualified to be here?”

Chip outside his comfort zone and putting on the false self

A reporter asked me “Chip, what art has influenced you and Joanna over the past six months?”  My inner voice was silent.  I tried to come up with a name.  Who painted the Mona Lisa?  The Sistine Chapel?  Anything?  My head spun.  I came up with nothing.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zip.  It was all over by midnight and we went back to our hotel like a pair of zombies.  In the fog, we sat on the bed and asked each other, “What just happened?  Why do we feel like we just got kicked in the face?”

I’d let the idea of what that answer was supposed to look like get in the way of an answer that came from me, from my heart.  I should have just laughed and said, “Man, I’m a construction guy from Waco, Texas.  My idea of a work of art is a perfect three-bedroom house.  If you’re talking about painting, you wanna see the one my kid did that we have hanging on the fridge?”  I should have gone back to what defines me as a person, my values, my non-negotiables.  I don’t care much about art or fancy parties or awards.  I care that my kids think I’m a good dad.  I care that I am a good husband to my wife.  I care that my business is strong and that we are raising up and training leaders.

The authentic Chip Gaines

What leads us to believe that the original of who we are isn’t enough?  Who was it in your life who convinced you that you need layers of camouflage to be worthy of acceptance?  What passing comment started out as a “note to self” but turned into a false identity?

Each time we concede to someone else’s opinion of us, or we willingly buy into some lesser truth or inaccurate picture of who we are, what we’re really doing is surrendering our purpose.  I believe that when we abandon our true purpose, the thing God made us to do, we’re not the only ones who suffer.  There’s a ripple effect.  It really does change everything for everyone.

to set the captives free …

a friend of mine posted this on his website (https://summittrekcoaching.com/blog) a few days ago …

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the captives free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Okay, let’s skip past the baby in the manger with the kings, the livestock, etc. 

Where Jesus really shows up in the gospel narrative is when he announces his arrival.  He is a young man, likely early teens, and he is brought to the front of the synagogue to read from the ancient texts.  He “found” Isaiah 61 and reads.  

In summary he says:

“I have come to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.”

Then he rolls up the scroll, hands it to the attendant, and says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Essentially, you have all been waiting for a messiah to appear and I am that guy.

What a triumphant and audacious arrival on the stage of humanity!  Way more powerful and defining than the felt board representations found in many a Sunday school class of a manger, farm animals, and three kings.  The birth obviously mattered.  It was an invasion of humanity and the beginning of the “setting everything right” that God intended through that life.  But the announcement of his arrival as appointed king – come on!  It stirs me every time I think of that scene.

That triumphant announcement of his arrival is bookmarked by an equally stunning exit.  Ascending into the clouds, leaving his students to teach all nations the gospel, granting them all the authority in heaven and earth within that authority he had been given, and providing them with the Holy Spirit as a guide to direct their every step.

That transcends every heroic knighting, ceremonial pinning, or appointing of anyone in any situation since.  What could be more profound than that?

You have been appointed.  

You have been equipped.  

You have been deputized in the most profound and aspirational way.  

And likely no one ever bothered to tell you about that heritage.  

That legacy, honor, privilege, and responsibility.  

That is what we are working to restore…and it changes everything.

Because we were appointed to be co-heirs of this Kingdom.  

We are to be the hands and feet of God.  

We were intended to be the generative governors (life-giving leaders) that care for and tend to everyone who resides in our small “k” kingdoms.  

We are to be good kings that use everything in our power and discretion for the good of everyone entrusted to our care.

today’s session + video

I’m struck by the “name” or the “theme” of this year = “Deep Roots. Mighty Oaks”. Let us not lose sight of this. We invited you into a deep work last fall. The process of digging into this material. It is an agreement that if I want the mighty oak, I’ve got to be open to digging in to get to the good soil so my roots can grow to nourish that oak. It isn’t easy nor is it quick. If you just want the mighty oak without the work, good luck. If you don’t have time to dig deep, to take the hard look, you’ll come up empty. Sadly, that is what most do and it is why we find so many shallow men today. Good men – no doubt – but they are not willing to stop to go deep and, as a result, they won’t bear the fruit.

Today was a PHD class in the material. Weighty. Challenging. Authentic. It is not for the faint of heart or the man who only has one foot in the room and one foot out the door. This is for the man who wants the “more” and who is willing to take a good hard look under the surface of his life.

Al Johnson took us there with his question a few weeks ago. Ray Honea stepped into the deeper waters by asking his family …

For many of us, these truly are deep waters. We are just becoming “aware that we need to be aware”. We’ve never considered our effect on others. We operate out of a deeply wounded place of believing, “It is all up to me” or “I need to make it happen” or simply, “I’m just behind”. Out of that place we go out into the world seeking the answer to our question and it ends up a mess.

And so now … this. Now we’ve peeled back the facade and we’re exposing what lies beneath. We are seeing there is much, much more to our story and how we navigate it and how our false self operates and the damage that does.

Morgan’s story in the below video captures much of this. We are deeply honored he would invest his time in us. You’re going to want to watch this one a few times to let it sink in.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bjakusc471y15zx/Richard%20-%20BAK%20MSG.MOV?dl=0

We will push into this video deeper next week.

Morgan will speak to us

As we take a deeper dive below the surface, much is being uncovered. God is coming after the hearts of men right before our eyes. More exciting things are happening now at Manschool than we’ve seen in years. God is moving.

Morgan Snyder is going to speak to us next week in a message specifically for our Tribe. How cool is that?

You don’t want to miss it.

Until then, keep after it. Keep asking “What are you up to in me in this Father? What are the layers I need to peel back and expose to your light? What wounds are you trying to heal?”

Jesus comes for the one…

We played Reckless Love this morning. Jesus leaves the 99 to come for the 1. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. God NEVER stops pursuing us. He chases us down, fights until we are found. I don’t earn it, I don’t deserve it yet HE still gave Himself away. What we are doing right now in Manschool is powerful. We are hearing stories and seeing examples of God coming for us.

Morgan says in chapter 3, “To become a king, we must give our strength to the sacred work of excavating before we can participate with God in the process of building in His way and in His time.”

This is what happened last week.  Through Jeremiah’s story and Al’s question, we began the process of excavating, digging out the false so we can reach bedrock and begin to let God build the true in us.

Morgan continued, “While this ancient truth was knocking at my door, I had yet to become the kind of man what has ears to hear it or a heart to receive it.  I was spending most of my energy tinkering with my outer world, trying to change other people so I could feel better, trying to make life work.  All the while, I had largely chosen to ignore my inner world – the world to which God most deeply wanted to draw my attention.  The external world is easier to access, to measure, to evaluate.  The inner world takes time, curiosity, and, above all, an honesty we often won’t consider employing until the pain is more than we can bear.”

(Click on the link above to read the story of Jeremiah’s walk up the mountain)

What God did for Jeremiah on that mountain was an “inner world” work.  By agreeing to accept the help of those men to carry him up that mountain, Jeremiah consented to the process of becoming true.  He had to surrender a part of his false self.  The pose in him that pushed people away.  He had ears to hear what God was trying to say to him and a heart to receive it.  God’s breakthrough miracle power came down and it is changing Jeremiah’s story.  

Likewise, Al’s questions were the beginning of the inner work.  It is the willingness to go below the surface, go beneath the pose, being willing to admit “I’ve done this so long, I don’t even know what true is anymore.”   That is the vital first step. 

And what we heard this morning from those brave men that stepped up to share their story was the second step. These men were peeling back the layers and opening their hearts and consenting to the process of letting God come in to excavate out wounds, poses, false self’s. Ray boldly asked his family “what is my effect on you?”. Matt joined us for the first time from LaGrange and said that while he is an iceberg he also realizes an iceberg is also an island – that he is an island, isolated, alone, pushing people away. Gary said, in effect, the same thing.

DO YOU SEE IT? God is literally working right in front of our eyes in these men! How holy! How glorious!

what is real?

We had an amazing session this past Wednesday. God was moving. A powerful testimony from Jeremiah Means and an authentic, painful question from Al Johnson when faced with the picture of the iceberg and the quote below on bringing the “true you” … Al asked, “How do I do that? How do I find the real? I’ve been this way so long, how do I get to the real?” Beautiful. Raw. Honest. Transparent. Al took the first step towards the real by asking this. We will have much more next week with other stories from the Wild at Heart BASIC boot camp. More probing to Al’s question. Push in here. Much is being exposed.

Everything we do in here is all about recovering your true self.  It is all about restoring your heart and helping you find the man God truly intended you to become.  Lately we’ve been talking about the false self or the Poser and how that hides the real us and how it prevents us from receiving all God has for us.

The Poser is your way of navigating life.  A bruised, wounded boy grows into a man with these false fronts, these poses, these layers of the onion, these ways to live life built on agreements and vows like, “I’ll never be hurt that way again” – or – “I must come through” – or – “I’ve got to present the appearance that I’ve got life figured out”.

That false self is a wall.  It won’t let me in.  It won’t let your wife in.  It won’t let God in.  You’ve figured out life and, as harsh as this sounds, you’re saying to even God Almighty, “I don’t need you, I can do life.”

We talk in here a lot about spiritual warfare to help us realize the battle that is underway and to remind us that we are in a story far larger than the little life we think we lead.  We get beaten up by life and the enemy comes and lies to us and we settle for far less than God has for us.  We do this for restoration.  We do this for freedom and breakthrough and to rediscover our passion for the Lord.

We asked this question a few weeks ago and I wanted to present it to you again this morning….

What would it be like to have so much confidence in who you are that you know, whatever the circumstances and whatever context you find yourself in, that what you brought to the world is the person you truly are, the person that God made you to be?

THAT is the goal — or — we can continue live this way…

You know this man.  He’s a poser.  He is a caricature of a man.  He hides behind his façade of having it all figured out. 

You and I fear exposure.  We fear failure.  “I was afraid so I hid”.  Every one of us is a poorly constructed version of authentic masculinity.  We all wear a fig leaf.  Your false self – the 10% above the water line you let us see – is mature and sophisticated.  You’ve practiced building this façade that protects you in a way.  It gains you some applause.  It helps you avoid feeling exposed.  We all fear being found out.

It is idolatry.  It is a way of making life work … without God.  I heard a pastor say this weekend If God is one of your 17 choices, odds are, He’s going to let you try all those other choices.  When God is your only way, your only choice, then He’ll show up.”

Same is true with the false self.  As long as we’re content to fake it and stay with the 10% above the surface, we’re putting the idol of self and self-preservation ahead of God.

Will you keep hiding, keep posing or will you take the step of faith of giving that up? Will you allow God (and us) access to the hidden parts of you? Will you admit you’ve been faking it a LONG time? Will you cry out for the “more”, the deeper, the real, the authentic?

poser … exposed

Unless you slow and quiet your life down for a first-hand relationship with Jesus Christ, little change is possible.

can you even slow your life down? Is that even possible?

Pete Scazerro was leading an emerging church in Queens. Rapidly growing. He was working 6 1/2 days a week. His wife wasn’t happy. His children really didn’t know him. Deep inside, he began to sense this building anger and resentment – he knew he was becoming a jerk. A church split occurred and 200+ left for another new church. Pete raged internally at the Pastor that left and took this people with him. Eventually, his wife had enough and said to him, “Pete, your leadership stinks.  I don’t respect it.  You don’t have the courage to confront some of the people in the church who need to be confronted because you’re afraid if you do, they’ll leave.  So, I’m not going to sit here on the second row in what I know is a hypocrisy.  I’m going to leave and go to another church.” There you go. There is nothing like a wife to expose a man for who he truly is. Pete had a choice. He could keep running faster and maybe even work harder – or – he could slow down, stop and take a hard assessment of his life. Thankfully, he made the choice to stop and to begin the process of deconstructing his false self.

“Speed is the ultimate defense. The antidote to stopping and really looking. If we really saw what we were doing and who we had become, we feel we might not survive the stopping. So, we don’t stop and the faster we go, the harder it becomes to stop.”

Dan Allender

We move fast in part because we don’t want to take the time to see what is below the surface of our iceberg …

The false self is all about hiding that 90% of you that is below the surface. Your wife knows much of what is below the surface. Your kids know it. Some of your friends see it. And thus, they are the most prone to expose you. But for everyone else, you are highly sophisticated at posing. You work hard to present the false front that you want everyone else to see and the truth is, you can make life work in your pose.

God wants what is below the surface. The life you have that you think is working behind your pose truly isn’t working. If all you’re focused on is the 10% above the surface, that 10% is all you’re giving to God. God wants it all. God wants to break the poser and He wants to dismantle the false self you are operating in.

Will you consent? Will you stop? Will you listen?

the false self does not work…

My wife and I watched 20/20 Friday night.  There was a case they were covering back from mid-90’s.  The wife was on trial for her husband’s murder.  It was the first case to be covered from start to finish nationwide on CourtTV.  Cameras were all over the courtroom.  The wife’s lead attorney saw this as his big break.  Dressed in an expensive suit with gold cuff links, gold bracelet, and slicked back hair, he launched into his opening statement to the jury.  For 3 hours, the attorney talked about what a big deal this was for him, what a great opportunity it was, how he’d work his entire life for this moment.  3 hours!  The courtroom was dumbfounded, and the Judge commented at the end of the speech that in all his years, he’d never seen such an exhibition saying to him, “Opening remarks are your chance to tell the jury why your client is innocent and how it is you will lay out the case proving her innocence.  It is not a time for you to talk about yourself and what a big deal this is for your career.”  Weeks into the trial, realizing he was in over his head, he petitioned the court for a mistrial claiming he didn’t have time to adequately prepare.  The judge denied his motion, and, in the end, his client was convicted of murder.

The poser, the false self was exposed.

The false self took over and seized the opportunity to shine.  That man’s talents and abilities were supposed to be used for his client’s benefit.  He was hired to serve and work for his client.  Had he been operating out of his true self, the outcome could have been very different.  But the false self turned it into a time where he could get all the attention on national TV.  That he appeared talented was more important that what he could actually do. 

The false self has perhaps no better place to shine than in our relation to money. Money plays a huge role in the false self.  That we can use money – or the appearance we have money – to project an image we want others to see.  Money lures us as a way we can medicate our pain and hide our weaknesses.

Money is either going to be an idol we worship or an instrument we utilize.  It is easy to get to the place where we can have the assumption that everything is for our consumption.  That’s when money is an idol.  That everything is for me and my pleasure. Or living out of our true self, we can understand that everything is not for our consumption.  That by being generous, we can slay the beast of money from taking over our lives.

I would argue that much of what we do around money, around stuff, around a new car or a new toy is being decided through the filter of the false self.  That “I need this” or “I deserve this” or “I’ve worked hard for this”.  The root factor in all these is the false self.  The root in all of these is “I”.  The false self takes an instrument (money) and turns it into an idol.

The true self, the true man knows that abundance is not for his consumption.  He knows that money won’t prove anything to anyone.  Being rooted and grounded in who he is, he doesn’t need to project anything to the world about his business success or wealth.

Let’s look at the difference between the false self and the true self. Test yourself along the way. Where are you in these? Are you living/operating out of your false self?

“Mostly what you meet when you meet a man is his false self – his version of Adam’s fig leaf – behind which he hides from fear and attempts to avoid anything that generates the feeling of dread and death.  The false self can be understood to be the sophisticated construct developed out of separation from God to avoid pain and shame. 

We also build it to provide our identity, power and meaning.  It is a reaction to fear.  Ultimately, the false self attempts to disengage from authentic and loving relationship with others, with self and with God in order to self-protect.  Our false self provides the illusion that we can make life work apart from God.”

The brilliance of God’s design for masculine initiation is that the more we truly want life as it was meant to be, the less efficient the false self becomes in producing what feels like life.

As we said last week, you can navigate life pretty well out of the false self … for a period of time.  Eventually, it will catch up with you.  It’ll show up in how you relate to your children.  Or it will show up in a seething anger that is just below the surface.

For most of us, our wife best knows the false self.  She can call it out.  As men, we become very sophisticated in faking it in most relationships.  But thankfully, as we grow and move deeply into relationships such as marriage, the false self begins to get exposed.

Mike Mason said a wife is “wonderfully in the way, like a tree growing in the center of the living room.”

Nice.  The imagery of a tree growing in your living room is appropriate for just how easily Eve can expose you.

How I relate with other people, particularly those closest to me – especially my wife – is one of the greatest indicators of my spiritual maturity.

What is your impact on your wife and the other people closest to you?  Your son?  Your daughter?  You have a style and a way of relating.  How does that land on your wife?