It’s time once again for a small excerpt from my upcoming book “RETOOLED: Shaping Our Fathering From The Inside Out”. This is from the introduction and I think it fits for a post during Holy Week. Once again, I appreciate any comments!
And he said some day I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying – Country song by Tim McGraw
“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!” Romans 8:15
The calling to be dad is an awesome one and make no mistake, it is a calling. This call to fathering is simply following the example of Father God fleshed out in the life of Jesus. The power of this calling is born in the spirit of adoption, the extreme makeover of people into sons and daughters. The flow of the Holy Spirit through our lives is essential, not just as fathers of course, but as followers of Christ. The love of God, the example of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit are the building blocks for a strong father.
It is here our journey begins but it does require an unusual first step to be a more effective dad and a greater influence on all those in your care. This one step is a powerful, revolutionary difference maker. It will set you on a challenging course; and begin a journey of unbelievable adventure. It will change your life in ways that perhaps, you did not think possible.
What to know the one thing, the one step? Well, here’s a scene from one of my favorite Bond movies that might give you a hint to the answer. In the movie Goldfinger this small exchange talks place between Bond, super-cool spy guy, who is tied to a table, and the bad guy pointing a nasty laser device towards 007.
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
That’s it, that’s the one step. Lao Tzu, once said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. “ I say it begins with, “Are we there yet?”, at least, when it concerns the family vacation! When we talk about the journey with God, the Father does expect the “old self” to die to allow real life (His) to emerge in all we do. The wonderful gift of Salvation guarantees a new life from a lost one. He states it over and over throughout the Word.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
“For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
“I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
The New Testament is full of “new life” instruction that involve living like you were dying moments. The process of dying to self is the deep purging of all the barriers that block our growth as Christ followers. This spiritual power wash enables us to discover more about ourselves, and not just our weaknesses and our strengths. It gives us insight to see who we really are. Allowing this Holy Spirit retooling frees us to see the man we can become in Him. So what does dying to self look like? I believe it looks like Christ who modeled selfless living faithfully. If Jesus had a motto for this retooling life style, I think it would be the following.
"Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
Here’s the buy in for us…
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Denying oneself is a powerful agent of change. The Greek word for deny in Matthew 16:24 is a strong one, it’s the word aparneomai (ap-ar-neh'-om-ahee) and basically means to disown oneself. So, denying “me” is fully accepting the fact that I am no longer the center of my world. In my own journey with Christ, I’m discovering more and more that fatherhood is so NOT about me!
What is it about then? Sacrifice? Surrender? Yes, but it’s much more than a willingness to give up stuff, more than just being obedient. This retooling of the Holy Spirit is relational and deeply personal. God is imparting something deeper than a set of instructions and a list of rules. He’s calling us to a life changing journey with Him and He calls us by name!
“But now so says Jehovah who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1
Here the Hebrew word for called is qara' (kaw-raw') which means; to call out, recite, read, cry out, or proclaim. The picture is of a proud Father calling His children by name, reminding them of their security, their protection, and their value to Him. The Father makes this moment a declaration, a heavenly proclamation of distinct identification of us and with us.
Throughout scripture He speaks of a global positioning with Him, the creator of the universe. This is the nature of God—to be intimate with His kids—on a first name basis with all of us. Drawing us to Him, calling our name, grafting us onto the family tree and declaring universally, “you are mine”. As we walk in relationship with Him, He rubs off on us and our desire for living like our Daddy becomes alive and passionate. The focus changes from “what must I do to be good?” to “how can I be more like my Father?”
That’s all for now! God Bless…Jay