Thursday, January 24, 2013

True Strength and Honor

Society has its own definitions of strength and weakness.  So does the enemy.
So does our Daddy.

I have a nephew who weighs about 230 lbs. and is built like a freight train. He enjoys fitness and body-building.  He also loves the Lord.

Reuben is only six years my junior - we were raised together - and he's an expert marksman and combat technician, serving eight years in the United States Marine Corps (I'm told it's basically against the law to ever call them ex-Marines).  He also knows how to kill someone in, like, 450 different ways and can bench-press about 500 pounds.  I remember him scooping me up in his arms once like I was a sack of sugar, then bouncing me a few times declaring he works out with weights heavier than me! (And I'm not what you'd exactly call thin, btw.)

All of that "tough stuff" notwithstanding, my nephew's got a heart like a playful, fat-bellied, puppy dog.  To me, that is what makes him one of the world's strongest men.

Moreover, were he not of such tender, soft-hearted character I would still love him, but I'd also view him as just another fitness fan who goes about flexing his muscles and sipping dietary supplements.   But Reuben's not like that.  There's much more to his insides than his outside, and that's why God's mercy follows him wherever he goes.

I believe that all souls today - but men, especially - need to understand God's view and definition of true strength.  Like I said at the start, society and satan define it one way, and God another.  A merciful, compassionate, softhearted man is one of the most attractive, powerful specimens of masculinity in existence.  That's not only my opinion - its truth originates in the character of Almighty God:
"Bless the Lord, O, my soul and all that is within me; bless His Holy Name...Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies...The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy...He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy upon those who reverently regard Him...As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who reverently regard Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
So many more scriptures define His sweetness but, growing up, I remember how the truth about Daddy in these excerpts from Psalms 103 gripped my soul's plea and gave me hope for deeper relationship with God and with a man truly sold out to Him, possessed of His priceless attributes.  

My Pastor's brother, Van, is also a man of compassion who society has ridiculed for his tender heart all of his life.  God constantly uses our deep rapport and spiritual kinship to deliver my emotions from fleshly grievances against men.  In truth, each time I work up a silly lather regarding some man's actions or reactions to a thing (whether I know the guy or not),  as I'm poised to cast the fiery blanket of self-righteous judgement over all men in existence, Holy Spirit gently asks one question...  "What about Van?"

When that happens, I always see Jesus dipping His hand into God's waters of life and delicately pouring them over me, extinguishing the prickly sparks of my hard-hearted fuse.

Merciful God.

Society will tell you that it's the outside that makes a man (or woman).  It will tell you that the possession of money and status and things in callous, judgmental pride is where real strength and honor lie; but God's kids know differently... or at least we should.  God's encouragements are extended to us in the truth that it's what's inside hearts of men and women that make or break them as people.  Saints, what if the Lord wasn't compassionate?  What if He wasn't tender, full of mercy and loving-kindness?  Well, for one thing He wouldn't be God if that were true, because it takes unconditional love to rule and reign in sovereignty... hatred just couldn't do that.  But if by some impossibility those immutable aspects left His character - where would you and I be?

We wouldn't exist at all because He'd never have created us.  Remember, we were created for love's sake.  We were created to love Him!  Period.

Merciful men, take a truthful look at yourselves and be glad.  Lift your eyes to your Heavenly Father and thank Him for the tears that streak your cheeks over (seemingly) the smallest, "sweetest" things.  Remember, God still coos softly at tentative footfalls of babes learning to walk, and God created beautiful flowers, heavenly aromas, and breathtaking sunsets.  God did that... Almighty God.  All who embrace God's tender heart will be crowned with His true strength and honor. 

May God draw everyone to His life-giving fount of wisdom flowing from the heart of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

In His Bosom Forever,
Daddy's Girl

"... fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
(Romans 12:11b)