DISCERNING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CONDEMNATION OF THE ENEMY

Thanks to Ryan Slack who brought this post to my attention. For those of us who are learning to discern the messages we hear internally, this is a great guide. The original post is located here.

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

It is important for those of us who are born again Christians, to know that there is a huge difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the enemy of our faith, because it can affect how we approach life.

Please, let there be no confusion. The Holy Spirit works to convict us to push away from the ensnarement of sin (doing that which is wrong) and towards God in freedom. The condemning spirit of the enemy of our faith works to push us away from God in shame and condemnation, so we are more prone in hopelessness, to continue to do what we should NOT.

“There are two feelings we can experience after we’ve sinned. One is conviction and the other is condemnation. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit, prompting us to confess and be restored to fellowship so God can continue to bless us. Its purpose is to draw us closer to God. Condemnation is from Satan, trying to convince us that we’re no good, and that God will never forgive us. It’s purpose is to keep us away from God by making us feel guilty.

“As soon as we confess our sins, we’re forgiven and the sin is forgotten as God immediately purifies us from all unrighteousness (See: 1 John 1:9). Any bad feelings we have after that are feelings of guilt that come from Satan.

“So if you’re being drawn closer to God, you’re feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But if you feel like hiding from God and begin to doubt His love for you, you’re feeling condemnation from the devil. Rebuke those feelings in the name of Jesus. Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you” (see: James 4:7-10). (Jack Kelley, of Grace Thru Faith Ministries)

Furthermore:

“There is a simple test to see if you experiencing condemnation by the enemy or gentle conviction by the Holy Spirit. Guilt and/or shame will draw you further away from the Lord deeper into sin. Conviction is the Holy Spirit nudging us to confess and turn from the sin as He provides the power to overcome” (See:Romans 2:4Romans 8:31-39Philippians 4:13Luke 22:31-32). (Robin Samson of Heart of Wisdom.com)

To help you further to discern the difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the devil, we are going to share with you additional principles and scriptural references that we believe will empower you in your spiritual life, your personal life, as well as your married life.

Why is this relevant to marriage? It is relevant because the condemning method of the enemy of our faith works to draw us away from the healthy thinking and actions that God wants us to embrace. And when that happens our marriages are in peril of being weakened and destroyed. When we draw towards God, we have the power of the Holy Spirit working within us to do what is good, noble, right and pure.

The following is a short study of what the Bible tells us about the character of God and the character of enemy of our faith. We pray it will inspire you to dig deeper into studying the Bible so you will rightly discern what is Truth both now and in the future.

1. Tone of the enemy of our faith: Accusing, nagging —it’s a mocking voice generating fear and shame causing confusion, projecting a sense of rejection and ministering questions like: “Has God indeed said?” He’s the father of lies (see: John 8:44). He’s deceitful, pretending to know what’s best for you.

  • TONE OF VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRITLoving voice of our Father, imploring, beseeching and urging our return to Him …as we’re told in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy laden…” And in John 12:32 where Jesus says,“…I will draw all men to myself.”

2. The enemy of our faith’s messages are vague and general: He generates a blanketing, choking sense of general guilt, as though everything is wrong and there’s no one action you can really take to overcome. Often a sense of complete hopelessness and weakness prevails. The enemy attacks you in general. You can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. You feel helpless and hopeless focusing on half-truths.

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SPECIFIC: The Spirit says, “Fix this one thing and you’ll be free.” He commands you to take one specific action — to make a choice of your will.“And you must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or deliver because they’re futile. For the Lord will not abandon His people” (1 Samuel 12:21-22).The conviction of the Spirit is specific to the sin. The Spirit defends you against your over-sensitive conscience. He draws you to God.

3. Discouragement is the message of the enemy of our faith: He centers his attack on you as a person and cuts your self-image to ribbons. He pushes to agitate and provokes you to be disobedient to God (see: 1 Chronicles 21:1) and tempts you in areas of weakness. He tells you that you are weak and not one of God’s chosen ones. He tries to ruin you without cause (see: Job 2:3).

He tries to deceive (see: Matthew 4:31 Thessalonians 3:5Revelations 12:9). He continually accuses you before God (see: Revelations 12:10Revelations 20:3). He is impatient and feeds anxious feelings.

He schemes against you sending discouragement as flaming missiles (see: Ephesians 6:16). He tries to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord (see: Acts 13:10).

4. “Remember all the past” says the enemy: The devil replays the videos of your past memories of sin and guilt and shame. He draws up accounts of your past sins, failures and offenses that are under the blood.

5. The message of the enemy is rejection as by the holiness of God: He disguises himself as an agent of holiness and an angel of light (see: 2 Corinthians 11:14). He produces the feeling that God has rejected you as unworthy and unholy. Satan speaks of God as your judge and you as a miserable sinner. He emphasizes “good works” instead of God’s grace. The message is to “do, do, do” and yet you can never “do” enough to “measure up.”

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT DRAWS YOU TO GOD: There is a pull of attraction towards God. He generates in you an unexpected kindness, love, long-suffering, forgiveness and new beginning with God’s help. The Holy Spirit speaks of your permanent relationship with God, drawing you to the Son of your Father (see: Joshua 1:8-9). The emphasis is to experience and live in God’s grace and forgiveness! He desires all men to be saved to come to the knowledge of truth (see: 1 Timothy 2:4).

6. The enemy brings negative scriptures to mind: As Shakespeare said, “The devil knows how to quote scripture to his purpose!” Satan threatens judgment and says, “Grace is denied because you didn’t fulfill the conditions!”  He uses the Law against you to justify yourself and rely on your own righteousness (see: Romans 10:3Galatians 2:16). He comes and sometimes takes away the word which has been sown (see: Mark 4:15).

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT BRINGS POSITIVE SCRIPTURES TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE:(see: John 14:26) He speaks of the unchanging nature of God and of His steadfast love towards us. He confirms that God remains faithful to His covenant (see 1 John 1:9Hebrews 10:23) even when we prove faithless for a time (see: 1 John 3:20). The Spirit reassures us that there is no law that is effective against those who rely on Christ’s work (see: Colossians 2:14Psalm 25:8-14Psalm 40:1-5). He assures us that He is our help and strength (see: Psalm 121 and Psalm 146).

7. The enemy works to isolate you: Suggestions are sown that cause you to withdraw from other Christians and works on you to think that they reject you. In your isolation, you then feel lonely, hurt, unworthy, rejected by others and angry (see: 2 Corinthians 4:4). He works to divide you from others.

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT DRAWS YOU INTO FELLOWSHIP: The Spirit sends others to minister to you in love — thus you learn to accept other’s words of encouragement and to appreciate one another and their ministry to you (see: 1 John 1:3Hebrews 12:1-2Hebrews 10:24-25). He sends others to open your eyes to turn from darkness to light so you may receive forgiveness (see: Acts 26:18). He works to unite us in love with other believers (see Luke 22:31-32).

8. The enemy of our faith emphasizes feelings: He tells you that the way you feel is the way things really are, even if facts differ (i.e. feelings are truth!). Your feelings of guilt, despair, hopelessness and doubt of God’s love for you are made to seem real. He encourages feelings of frustration at God’s unfairness and partiality and focuses on half-truths to cajole and control you and acts as a stumbling block to set your mind on your interests above God’s.

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT STATES FACTS AND TRUTHS ABOUT YOU AND GOD:Feelings will follow faith in these facts! The Holy Spirit gives you correct doctrine and the whole truth. Learn your theology to avoid being fooled by Satan (see: Romans 16:19). The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth to move, influence and inspire you (see: John 16:13Matthew 10:26-28Psalm 19John 8:45). He will also guide you to set your mind on God’s interest instead of man’s interests (see: Matthew 16:23;Colossians 3:1-2).

9. The attack of the enemy is destructive and demoralizing: The object is to get you to curse God to his face (see: Job 2:5). He fills your heart to lie (see: Acts 5:3). He encourages selfish ambition, arrogance, lying, bitterness, jealousy and disorder (see: James 3:13-16).

10. The Devil accuses: He accuses you of having committed the unpardonable sin (see:Zechariah 3:1). He’s quick to judge and quick to accuse (see: Revelation 12:10).

THINK ABOUT IT:

What is the purpose of the enemy of our faith in accusing and condemning us?  It is to draw us away from God and to render us helpless to ourselves and to others! What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit convicting us? It is to draw us to God and to each other and to help us to be all we can be!

The Enemy:

  • Speaks in half-truths
  • Pushes, agitates
  • Emphasizes: “Do, do do…”
  • Divides people
  • Encourages our willfulness against God’s ways
  • Tells us we are inadequate
  • Encourages complaining

OUR HOLY SPIRIT:

  • Is about the whole truth
  • Wants us to be anxious for nothing
  • Emphasizes: “Be, be, be…”
  • Unites people
  • Emphasizes the will of our Heavenly Father
  • Empowers us
  • Encourages contentment

The emphasis is that we’re to study all that God is in the Bible. We need to keep in mind that God is strong and He does not tolerate sin. He is our judge, but He is a fair judge who punishes and disciplines us, always wanting to draw us to Himself  —not push us away from Himself. The devil’s purpose is to pull us away from God and his people. God is straightforward and direct. The enemy is sneaky.

As you go with God, you will push away that which you should release and embrace that which you should hold onto through his guidance —with His strength.

The above article was compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions. It is a compilation of years of research and study (from personal study of scripture, various sermons she has heard, and help from others who have pointed out additional points).



The Primary Barrier to Intimacy with God

“People who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe that they are worthy of that love and belonging.”

At Heroes & Heroines, we’ve been talking about Hearing God, and the existence of barriers that inhibit that connection. We’d like to share with you an 18 minute video that highlights our primary barrier to connection with God. It is a video of Brene Brown speaking at a TED conference. Brene is a researcher and I believe you will find her humorous and enlightening at the same time. Her exploration of her topic has immediate and direct parallels with our own spiritual journeys.

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html


The Truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.

“The Truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

Rick Warren tweeted this quote this week-I don’t know if it is his own or not. But, it really struck me with its accuracy. The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.

This past Sunday a couple of us continued a conversation after class, and among other things, we talked about how “doing business with God” is kind of a bummer while we are going through it. It is the point at which we are beginning to take in His truth at our core, and He uses it to stir things up-things that we would rather let lie, things that push our buttons perhaps, things that infuriate, ache or sadden.

It seems so often that as God draws us into Himself, the process strips us of our pretense, and it stings, similar to ripping off a “Band-aid.” Our pretense, our False Self, cannot commune with Truth, with God Himself. For us to commune with Him, our spirit must agree with the intention of His Spirit.

If you have asked Him for growth, intimacy, or to know Him more deeply, He has answered “YES!” And, He has already begun drawing you to Him, and some of the evidence is the misery you may currently feel.


The Semantics of Fear

God woke me up in the wee hours this morning: He wanted to talk about me. I asked him, “What about me?” and the impression that I got was that He wanted to talk about my being fearful of my calling.

I’m not fearful of calling in the traditional sense of “What if God asks me to do something I don’t want to do.” Instead, I am fearful because I don’t want to miss out on my calling.

I argued back and forth with Him a little about this. “Isn’t it a good thing to be fearful of missing out?” There is a sobriety that comes with keeping your eyes on His lead. He responded by simply stating, “Healthy fear.” “But that’s what I’m talking about!” He was trying to show me that there is a healthy fear and an unhealthy fear of missing out.

I think I missed the point for a while until He pointed out a subtle distinction.

It is the difference between being fearful and being afraid. Listen to the difference:

Fearful: feeling fear, dread, apprehension, or solicitude

Afraid: feeling fear, regret or reluctance

I told God I was fearful of missing out on my calling, but He wanted to show me that the healthier perspective would be to be afraid to miss out on my calling. Being fearful involves dread, and I almost see it now as a state of being controlled: being full of fear. That doesn’t sound healthy to me at all. Being afraid, however, does not involve dread. And the aspect of “afraid” that stood out to me most was the part about regret.

I do not feel dread. What I do feel is an awareness of the regret that I would face if I were to become entangled in the affairs of this life and miss out on the best that God has for me.

I will no longer say I am fearful of missing out on my calling.

This is, once again, a reminder to me that my Father does not want me to be ruled by fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18


A Poem for the Easter Season

Last year I wrote a poem to commemorate the significance of Holy Week: specifically Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It is written from the point of view of how Jesus may have felt during the events of His betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and ascension.

We sometimes forget the humanity of Jesus, and the reality that He felt every bit of the emotionality and physicality of these events. This poem is an attempt to portray His humanity as respectfully as I can. May He be glorified in these words.

A Moment of Humanity

In the chill of the night hour on My breath,

I see My words floating as they leave My chest,

rising like incense before the great test;

but heaviness clouds the words, I must confess.

 

In a moment of humanity I grasp for words,

for I know what the mission is-I will be hurt.

The very same voice that spoke the heavens into place

now chokes under the strain of its destined fate.

 

In a moment of humanity I have to ask,

“Is there any other way to now complete this task?

Abba, can you hear Me?” Nevertheless,

I am here to do My Father’s will-His business.

 

So much for friendship! They all fell asleep!

“The Spirit is willing but the flesh is truly weak!

Could you not watch and pray with Me this night?”

Alone, alone, alone

I face the fight.

 

In a moment of humanity I accept a kiss,

though not born of love or honor-a heartless twist.

My soul longs for someone dear to walk with Me;

a kiss becomes the cruelest form of mockery.

 

Over 600 soldiers have come to “handle” Me

(If they only knew I made them and I could set them free),

and with them, officers of the chief priests.

Priests of whom? They no longer represent of Me.

 

I know who they seek but I ask them anyway,

“Jesus of Nazareth,” My human name, they say.

But I reply, with all restraint, and voice My holy name,

“I AM HE,”

and they are thrown to the flattened clay.

 

A secretive trial is held for Me, the Prince of Life.

Accusers want answers to the questions they contrive,

but it is all that I can do to hold Creation’s voice.

For if the rocks cried out My name right now, the fearsome noise

would bring this place down to its knees in worship or in terror;

to crucify the Prince of Glory they would never dare.

Man would stay unredeemed; no, we must proceed,

so, I choose to hold My tongue and let them make Me bleed.

 

In a moment of humanity I hear the rooster crow;

What hurts worse-the striking fists or simply now to know

that someone who I showed My glory denies he ever knew

the transfigured Christ, his closest friend, his brother true.

 

The governor questions Me, examining for fault,

but since this trial is rigged, I do not answer him at all.

Akin to casting pearls to swine, I choose to hold My tongue

and let the prophecy unfold as it must be done.

 

I hide a smirk when he mentions his authority

and I have to remind him that it only comes from Me.

He doesn’t see the big picture-he only plays a role;

He doesn’t have a choice but to let events unfold.

 

And then, I’m struck by someone’s fist so hard that I see stars,

and as I stagger to steady Myself, I hear the crowd’s applause.

“Crucify! Crucify! Release Barrabbas tonight!”

Events unfold exactly how the ancients prophesied.

 

“This is the only way,” I still have have to tell Myself,

“To save My people from their consequence of sin in hell.”

Rome has made an art out of torture and of death,

and I, their greatest canvas, now display their skill bereft.

 

And as they nail me into lumber, searing pain ignites,

but it does not compare to the overwhelming spite

of taking on a billion cancers in the form of sin

for all mankind and for all time. They celebrate their “win.”

 

As hours grow, My thirst betrays Me like the treasurer;

a moistened sponge with vinegar is offered as a cure.

The throbbing ache within My joints heightens with each breath;

Hanging here in agony, I long for quickened death.

 

My body is pierced. My soul is pierced. Eternity awaits.

Yet, knowing this, I still am burdened by the crushing weight:

Abandonment, by friends, by all. The Father too seems mute.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me aloof?!”

 

Ichabod! The glory is gone! This God-forsaken place,

completely void of light divine, goes dark now at mid-day.

From noon till 3, darkness reigns-the temple veil is torn,

and with a final heave for breath, I yell with vocals worn:

“IT IS FINISHED!”

I cannot contain this new decree!

“Oh Grave, where is your victory? Oh Death, where is your sting?”

Vanquished is your stranglehold on life for evermore,

for I will rise in three days time and void your sepulcher.

 

The moment comes for Me to let My spirit leave this frame

for My impending victory march to magnify My name,

and in the bowels of Creation I proclaim the Truth

to every prisoner of the grave, for glory and reproof.

 

And when I finally manifest, three days beyond My kill,

and show My body glorified, unbridled by this realm,

I radiate within the presence of My closest friends

before the masses, mesmerized, watch Me soon ascend.

 

And at the right hand of My Father, I announce at last

that I have done His business well, and finalized the task

to bridge the chasm in between My Father and mankind;

Now all who worship Jesus Christ will gain My gift of life.

 

I ask you child, “Are you content with living for the grave?

Are the things you live for worth the sacrifice I made?

I conquered death, so why do you pursue the fruit of sin?

Come to Me; I promise you will never thirst again.”

© 2011 Brandon Scott Elrod


Providence

It was April, 2011. Life was moving along. Ministry was flourishing. I was unaware of the new chapter I was about to enter.

It was a Sunday morning when a friend came up to me with an urgency in his pace. He said to me, “Brandon, I had a dream last night, about you! I just saw you standing alone, and behind you, over your shoulder, were ominous clouds-dark, very dark. It wasn’t demonic, though. But something was coming. ‘Brandon, do not fear!’ is the message I am supposed to deliver to you. ‘Do not fear!'”

So, in light of this alarming forecast, I did what anyone would do…I panicked! I mulled over this exchange for a few days, but after a while I moved on and forgot about it.

As the slow season at work approached, money was slower to come in. We had to find ways to stretch the funds. And sometimes, managing payables and receivables felt like a shell game. During this process, our payment to our workers compensation provider was returned as NSF.

Our insurance check had bounced. Payments we made to other vendors cleared first, and we were out of funds. We had another check prepared, ready and waiting for more funds, but as it turned out, we didn’t receive any more payments for the rest of the month. As a result, our workers comp insurance policy was terminated.

We immediately set to work to resolve the matter. We contacted the provider to resolve the matter, but since the policy expired, they refused to renew it. They were treating us as a brand new client, and as such, they required a large deposit down on the new policy. First though, they wanted the remaining money that was due them from the cancelled policy. In all, they wanted us to come up with $20,000 in order to write a new policy for us.

We worked so hard to make this happen. But to do so meant to operate without workers comp insurance. If we stopped working though, we couldn’t come up with the money. My concern at that point was that our clients might find out.

Soon afterward, we received a phone call from our biggest client. They had been performing a random internal audit and they noticed that our contractor’s license was suspended. This was news to me! I couldn’t believe it, so I had to verify it for myself. Sure enough, since our workers comp insurance was cancelled, our license had also been suspended.

I was mortified. I apologized profusely and promised that we were doing everything possible to resolve the matter.

We had just come up with the $20,000 to reinstate our WC policy. It was a Monday morning, and my administrative assistant was calling State Fund to make the wire transfer. I decided to work remotely that day, so I went to Starbucks near my house. As I walked to the front door, I got a phone call from the office. Since it had taken us a month to come up with the $20,000 deposit, there was now a penalty. They wanted another $8,000 on top of the $20,000. I was devastated. It had taken such hard work and sacrifice to come up with that chunk of money in the first place.

With a heavy heart, I opened the door and walked into Starbucks, went to the nearest table, and set my stuff down. I went and ordered a coffee, and returned to my seat. I had only sat down for a few seconds when the young woman sitting across the table from me asked me something.

“I have a strange question for you…do you know Jesus Christ?”

“I do…” I replied warily.

“You see, this isn’t my normal Starbucks. God told me five different times to come to this location this morning. I’ve been sitting here wondering who I was supposed to talk to, but when I saw you come in, my spirit was energized!”

Needless to say, I was astounded. I believed her. God has had me do similar things, so I recognized His way in her story. She asked me how I was doing, and I began to share with her the devastating news I had just received. I told her how encouraged I was that God had arranged her being there.

Her name is Vanessa. She asked if she could pray for me, and as she did, I just sat there and wept. I was so tired. I was so overwhelmed. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. She prayed so clearly. She prayed for exactly what I needed. And when she was done, she looked at me and said, “Brandon, He wants you to know that He sees you. He sees you.” I was so overcome, having been ministered to by the Holy Spirit through another believer. It gave me renewed strength to carry on.

This insurance matter always seemed like it was just a couple of days away from a solution. If I had known how long it would actually take to resolve, I would have lost all hope. I kept praying for wisdom, and He kept providing it. In one situation, I had to choose between saving money for payroll and paying my mortgage early. I chose the mortgage. If I hadn’t paid it early, there wouldn’t have been any funds to pay it later. In another situation, I had to choose between using funds for payroll or saving it for a WC insurance solution. I prayerfully chose payroll. In another situation, I was short funded for payroll. At the last minute, God reminded me that I had a credit card check that I could use to give the remaining employee his paycheck.

It had now been a few months since our insurance was cancelled, but we had continued working to come up with the funds for a deposit for a new policy. We were interviewing with 15 different insurance agencies. My greatest fear at that point was that we would have an accident while we were uninsured. And, sure enough, we had a slip/fall employee accident. My mind was reeling. All I could think of was the consequence of the penalty. Would there be a lawsuit? Would we be put out of business? I had no idea what to do. So, once again, I prayed for wisdom. And, once again, God provided it.

As I considered what the best option would be for an employee who had hurt his back after a fall, I suppose I thought of the most logical choice; I would take him to my chiropractor. We did just that, and a few visits later this employee was released and ready to work. I was blown away at God’s goodness.

At this point, the client who first notified us about our contractor’s license was getting impatient, as work was starting to accumulate and we couldn’t perform it for them until our license was reinstated. So, they gave us an ultimatum. We had until the 30th of that month to rectify the problem or our account was going to be cancelled.

By now, every single insurance lead that we pursued had dried up. Our trade is a very hazardous one, and insurance companies are very reluctant to provide coverage to our industry. I was so discouraged. My life seemed so dark. Anxiety consumed me, and what energy survived it was swallowed up by depression. I was in a dark place and my family didn’t know how to help me.

Interestingly, every devotional I came across and each radio program I heard seemed to be all about living with adversity and having endurance.

I ran into Vanessa at Starbucks again. Again, we had a time of prayer and encouragement. She shared with me that there was something much greater at stake here, and that there was a time of refreshment coming-not necessarily easier, but restful.

It had been so long since I had experienced rest. And then, late one night, God woke me up to talk with me about it. It was 4:00 AM and He called me downstairs. I grabbed my journal and Bible and just sat with Him for a few hours. He gave me Scripture. He gave me promises. He gave me pictures of a special future. And He began to show me His purpose. I had been praying for rescue, but it was not His plan to rescue. This trial was a critical part of my journey into destiny. There was no way around it. It was formative.

He also showed me His providence throughout the process. He started connecting all the dots fort me that night. He reminded me of my friend who had given me a prophetic word, long before the trial began, “Do not fear.” He reminded me of the times He had provided financially. He reminded me of the many ways He gave me wisdom in critical moments. He reminded me that He had sent another believer to minister to me through the Holy Spirit in a very dark moment. And, He showed me that the process was drawing to a close.

Soon afterward, again as the result of asking for wisdom, God prompted me to look into Employee Leasing services. Long story short, this was the option we needed, and we were able to sign up with a company who provided WC coverage for our employees and without a big deposit! This ordeal was coming to a close.

It kind of went out with a whimper. As this crisis was resolved, another, smaller one sprung up, followed by other, even smaller ones. There was no great celebration. We just shifted gears and went from one battle to another. But even so, God had delivered me through this trial. It had been six months of anxiety and depression. I had experienced the lowest lows of my entire life, and I had stayed there a long time.

It is a strange thing to walk through trials. There is no trivial answer that makes it all better. It is surreal when you know that it is not oppression, but that it is God-ordained. It is perplexing to know that He does not intend to rescue you.

It was confusing to remember scriptures like, “Be anxious for nothing…” but pray for everything. How do you not be anxious? It was a journey into togetherness with the Father, bringing my anxiety to Him and being with Him in it. It meant being emotionally vulnerable with the One who made me. The anxiety didn’t magically go away. But I wasn’t alone in it.

God’s providence is His engineering, oversight, supervision, participation and communing, all in one. And it was exactly this that buoyed me through the darkest time of my life.


An Introduction to the Holy Spirit

It is fair to say that the vast majority of people subscribed to this blog come from a conservative church background. Many of us are hesitant to open up to the work of the Holy Spirit due to a lack of proper modeling of what it might look like.

In just a couple of weeks, we will be launching a 12-month series designed to introduce Christians to the Scriptural activity of the Holy Spirit. This series is called “Heroes & Heroines,” and it is designed for people who are ready to move into spiritual maturity. For those of you who have been through Fight Club, you will recognize some recurring themes.

Calvary Church’s Executive Pastor Eric Wakeling recently preached on the Holy Spirit; it was a great introduction and invitation for us to respond to. If you weren’t present for this message, I encourage you to listen to the podcast here. Eric laid out some great challenges and used some simple, yet profound analogies that will help you recognize our need for the Holy Spirit’s influence within us.

We want to invite you to come to the preview on April 1 at 8:45 AM in N1 at Calvary Church of Santa Ana. This may be exactly what your heart has been craving.

 


How to use hardship as a catalyst for improvement

This one is for the men out there…it is a secular opinion on how we can capitalize on hardship. I think there are some spiritual truths to be found in this article, personally. What do you think?

What Man Hasn’t Squandered a Life Changing Event?

by A MANLY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR on NOVEMBER 20, 2011

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren from Advanced Riskology.

The other day I asked myself, “Tyler, how long has it been since you’ve recognized yourself?”

That’s a pretty funny question when you think about it. But the truth is the me that I know today is less than two years old. My life has changed dramatically in the last 20 months—by accident at first when I was fired from my job, and then slowly but surely on purpose as I learned about what really motivated me to make significant changes in my life.

To say I’m happier now is an understatement. When I look at pictures of myself from a few years ago—slightly overweight, mildly depressed, and generally bored—I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the old me. If only Old Tyler had learned earlier what New Tyler knows now…

I turned 27 a few weeks ago. Birthdays have a funny way of making you examine what the hell you’re doing with your life. If you’re lucky, you won’t come out of it too depressed. And for the first time in a long time, I was excited about the year ahead.

And what about the year ahead of you? This is your life after all, and time seems to speed up with each one that passes. If you’re waiting to make a change for the better, then what, exactly, are you waiting for?

Me? I was waiting for something big to happen—a sign from the universe that told me it was time to change. Lucky for me, I got it when I was fired from my job. But should I have needed that? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t feel like I need it now. I’m capable of any change I want to make—with or without any galactic message.

The truth is, these kinds of messages surround me every day if I’m willing to look for them.

What Man Hasn’t Squandered a Life-Changing Event?

Human nature tells us to strive for more: own more, do more, be more. As a man, this is both your gift and your plight. And while we’ve learned to accept and attenuate our desires to have and do more, what man goes a day without wishing to be more?

And is that such a bad thing? Is it not required of us, as men, to attempt to be more each and every day? To be more faithful and less capricious? More dependable and less inconsistent? Filled more with life and less with burden?

What man doesn’t wish to be better tomorrow than he is today? And what man who doesn’t deserves tomorrow at all?

So we aim, strive, and toil to improve, but so many of us find improvement fleeting. Improvement means change. And change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. Change is risky.

Despite the intense desire to pursue it, our habits of yesterday tend to win the fight for the future—the best predictor of how a man will behave tomorrow is how that man behaved yesterday.

So how does a man, flawed as every other and steeped in responsibility and other burdens, change his position to become better? How does he begin to reconcile the difference between the man he sees in the mirror and the man he constructs in his mind?

The answer, perhaps, is not so complicated:

He alters himself in response to a life-changing event.

The Life-Changing Event as a Force for Revolution

If motivation is the missing ingredient for a man to make a change in his life and follow his dream, then fear is almost certainly the culprit. This fear stems from the risk that if he were to try, it may not work. Failure, they tell us, is something to be celebrated, but science tells us—and a man knows intuitively—that depression is the result when we try and fail to change something important.

These are large hurdles to overcome, yet nothing makes overcoming them easier than a truly life-changing event, and almost every man has experienced one in his life.

The unexpected loss of a job, a messy divorce, a death in the family, or the prognosis of a terminal illness. These types of unwanted traumas, time and time again, produce massively positive changes in those fortunate/unfortunate enough to experience them.

Life-changing events work because the unsolicited stress they produce is many orders of magnitude greater than the changes that used to seem enormous and insurmountable. They raise a man’s stress threshold.

When you can look at yourself and objectively say, “Everything in my life has changed, and the world will never be the same again,” what seemed impossible before, now becomes inevitable.

If you were given six months to live, would you spend your day tomorrow the same way that you plan to spend it now? What if you separated from your wife or girlfriend with the knowledge that you’ll never be together again? Would you behave the same as you did yesterday, or would you immediately make a change? If tomorrow you lost the job you hate but can’t imagine leaving, would you immediately look for another one you’d hate, or might you apply a little different criteria to the work you’re willing to do?

Without a doubt, a truly life-changing event can take a man’s dreams and make them a reality in rather short order. The problem, of course, is that you get no control over these things. You have no say in when an event like this will come, so instead, you wait impatiently for one to arrive, all the while praying that it never actually occurs.

But in the meantime while we wait for these life-changing events, we’re squandering many smaller ones every day.

Mini Life-Changing Events: How a Man Changes His World on Purpose

Perhaps the reason we need such enormous events to make an appreciable difference in our lives is because the changes we want to make are equally enormous. When our desires are overwhelming, so to must be the events that precipitate them.

So, what if you were to dial down your desire? Cut it in half. Then cut it in half again. And again.

What if you dissected your desire for change until you had something so small and commonplace that it took almost no effort at all to achieve? Then what kind of life-changing event would be necessary to motivate you to act? An equally small one.

And what if you multiplied these changes over time? What could you accomplish in a week, a month, a year if you acted on one unremarkable life change each day?

What kind of remarkable things might they add up to? Who might you become then?

Each and every day, we wander through the world, manipulating it as we go. And with each step we take, breath we breathe, word we utter, the world manipulates us back.

Each of these moments has the potential to be the catalyst for the world’s tiniest revolution, if only you repair your filter to allow yourself to see them. But with no milestones to guide the way, they’ll go unnoticed—squandered by a need for too much, too soon.

Just as the savvy card player looks for an opportunity in every hand rather than waiting to be dealt a royal flush, so must you look for an opportunity in every moment of every day. The card player may need $1 million to win the tournament, but he must get there $1,000 at a time. You may need to turn your life 180 degrees, but you must get there in excruciating 1-degree pivots.

The beauty, of course, is that these tiny actions don’t act independently. And they don’t only add together, they multiply. Each step, each pivot, builds momentum in an exciting new direction.

The card player may start by winning $1,000 hands, but with several of those behind him, $10,000 hands become the new normal. Before long, he is winning $100,000 hands and his ultimate goal is at the tip of his fingers.

To begin this process, though, a man must wake himself up—not in a physical sense, but in a perceptual one.

The Awakening of a Man to the Realization of His Dream

Once a man realizes that the task in front of him is to make many small changes over time, his immediate goal must be to wake himself up in a way that will allow him to estimate the changes needing to be made.

To do so, he must make three critical adjustments to his life:

  • The tuning of his perception filter
  • The deceleration of the speed of his life
  • The reframing of his daily experiences

By focusing his attention here, he can prepare himself to take advantage of the many life-changing events each day that were never noticed before.

The tuning of your perception filter

In order to make tiny changes, you must prepare yourself to see the tiny things that precipitate them. Where you previously waited for life to hand you a striking blow, you now must turn up the dial on the microscope and become sensitive to the many small events that happen each day that affect how you behave.

By tuning your perception filter to a finer lens, you prepare yourself to take in the many otherwise unnoticed events in your life. Rather than seeing a bad day, you’ll see the individual things that went wrong that lead up to such a day. And you’ll notice the things that went right, but weren’t good enough to overcome your negative feelings.

More importantly, you’ll see the way you reacted to each event so that you might start to alter the way you behave when a similar event occurs again.

Instead of seeing your boss as a jerk, you’ll see the minute characteristics that make you feel this way about him. You’ll pinpoint the problem, and then you’ll see how you react to him so that you may alter your own behavior.

Rather than seeing a task as too hard, you’ll see the many small parts of the task—the ones that are easy to complete, and the ones that will keep you from finishing it. This will allow you to see where your attention must be focused to improve and complete the work.

With the ever finer tuning of your perception filter and each alteration of your behavior, you’ll begin to build small successes that add up to a sum much larger than its parts.

The deceleration of the speed of life

In a modern world, your life is allowed to move at whichever speed you choose for it. And the predominant setting for most men is “fast,” so you’re likely to default there without consciously deciding on it.

But once you’ve adjusted your perception filter to take in more of life, fast becomes incompatible with your new settings. Fast results in information overload and makes it nearly impossible to choose and analyze the most important micro life events that will allow you to make the progress you want.

When you drive through a city, how much detail do you notice? If you were to travel back through on a bicycle, what might you see then? And if you took the whole day and simply walked across it, what kind of relationship would you build with that place that would have been impossible from a car?

The goal now is to place the emphasis of your actions on “effective” over “efficient.” You must give yourself the opportunity to see the right pieces of life to be worked on. When you move slowly, this is easy to do. But if you move too quickly, it’s very difficult because the temptation to “just get things done” becomes more and more pervasive.

In practical terms, this may mean removing yourself from regular social habits and replacing them with solitude where you can reflect on your day. Or it might mean refusing an extra task at work so that you can give your full attention to the project that’s most important to your success.

When life slows down, improvement speeds up.

The reframing of your daily experiences

Perhaps the biggest problem that a man wanting to change his life faces is his frame of reference. When life is diverging from the path that you want it to be on, it’s easy to feel defeated and begin to look at each day as something to get past, hoping that the next one will go better. Unfortunately, with this viewpoint, it won’t.

If this exists in you, then it’s critical that your perception change before progress can be made. Instead of looking at each day as something to get past, you must reframe it as a series of events to get through instead.

When you attempt to get past something, the details don’t matter. But when you’re trying to get through something, you begin to place more emphasis on the method that you use to get through it.

This may seem inconsequential—both of these ways through life are less than ideal—but the difference is important. By allowing yourself to focus on details, you enable yourself to manipulate them. And by allowing yourself to manipulate them, you set yourself up to change them in ways that align with who you really want to be; you open yourself up to the process of change.

A Man on the Right Path

What man hasn’t squandered a life-changing event? Likely no man at all.

But with an improvement-minded attitude and the right perspective, any man can take control of what seems like a wild and unpredictable world, and spare himself from squandering any more.

He can begin to do this by refining his perception filter, slowing the speed of his life, and reframing his daily experiences. And hopefully he will, because even though these life-changing events are all around us each day, their numbers are finite, and one day every man will find himself without any more ahead of him.

Let no man forget that the quest to become who he desires to be is not only possible, it is also urgent.

Go forth and be more.


Commissioned Conference 2011

Commissioned Conference 2011

Brandon here-I just returned from Saddleback Church’s Commissioned Conference 2011, a conference intended to bolster church planters in their passions, strategies, and actions. Rick Warren spoke during the main sessions, and other church planters spoke in the breakout sessions. It was a deeply valuable experience and I had several takeaways.

For many years I have had a deep passion for what the Church could look like. Ten years ago, God began planting the seeds of a vision that has become clearer and more eminent in my own mind and heart. Attending the conference, it was clear that I was not alone. But the clarity that I hoped to leave with eluded me, as instead more questions were triggered that I have yet to find answers to. I took many notes, both from the wisdom of fellow attendees as well as the speakers themselves.

What was instantly obvious is that all the presenters, seasoned church planters, have a shared passion: Evangelism. While it may seem intuitive in hindsight, I was caught off-guard. I’m not sure why, but  I was expecting more variety in the types of passion and roles represented, but the Evangelist clearly is the heart of the church planting movement. This presents a conundrum for me, as my primary passion is for Discipleship. I was designed to be a Pastor, not an Evangelist. Now, of course, there is always overlap. But, the serious question emerged, “Do I have the right passion for church planting?”

We reviewed independent statistics about the church and we discussed all kinds of church planting strategies, but another concept began to take shape for me. The vision that I have believed in for so long, the picture of what the Church could truly be, was deeply reinforced over the course of the conference. The healthiest churches are churches that all share that common core belief system about the purpose of the Church, based in the five principles from Acts 2 and Ephesians 4:11.

I have much to process. Is this vision for a healthy church intended for me to initiate? Is a passion for a healthy Bride of Christ enough, or does a church planter really need a primary passion for the lost? All I know for certain is that I have been discipling within the Church for many years, and it isn’t enough anymore. It isn’t enough to only reach a few.


The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine: The Warrior

This is a fantastic post that I have borrowed from The Art of Manliness. I love how it details the “redeemed” and “unredeemed” versions, or the mature vs. immature. If you are wired this way, where do you find yourself in this process?

BRETT & KATE MCKAY on OCTOBER 23, 2011 

This is the fourth part of a series on the archetypes of mature masculinity based on the bookKing, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the introduction to the series first. Also, keep in mind that these posts are a little more esoteric than our normal fare, and are meant to be contemplated and thoughtfully reflected upon.

Every great civilization has a great warrior tradition and accompanying warrior myths. The Old Testament recounts the stories of a warrior people and a warrior God. In the ancient Mediterranean, the Spartans had perhaps the most legendary warrior tradition. From birth, Spartan society nurtured and trained their boys to become warriors, and that rigorous training created men like Leonidas and his 300 men of unconquerable spirit. Japan had their fearless samurai warriors whose undaunted courage came from living life as if they were already dead.

Today the Warrior archetype lives on in our reverence for those who serve in the armed forces and in modern books and movies. William Wallace from Braveheart and General Maximus from Gladiator embody the Warrior archetype.

But in general, modern culture is not comfortable with Warrior energy. The advent of mechanized warfare during the first half of the 20th century dampened the romantic ideal of martial courage. Since the social and cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s, we’ve generally taught boys and men to avoid confrontation and conflict and to instead nurture their “feminine side.” The result is the Nice Guy; the man who will avoid confrontation and aggression even when confrontation and aggression are justified.

Society pushes men to be sweet and sensitive, because they fear them becoming coldly stoic, abusive, and destructively angry. But society’s perception of the Warrior archetype is not based on the Warrior energy in its full, healthy manifestation, but on the archetype’s shadows. The problem is not Warrior energy itself, but Warrior energy that is not used in harmony with the other masculine archetypes and directed by empathy, contemplation, and order. Fighting itself is not bad, the question is simply: What is a man fighting for? The Warrior’s energy is needed not only in times of war, but on all the battlefields of life.

Properly tapping into the Warrior’s energy provides a man with an unsurpassable power source which will fuel him to reach his goals, fight for worthy causes, achieve greatness, and leave a lasting legacy.

The Warrior in His Fullness

Moore says that “The characteristics of the Warrior in his fullness amount to a total way of life, what the samurai called a do (pronounced ‘do’). These characteristics constitute the Warrior Dharma, Ma’at, or Tao, a spiritual or psychological path through life.”

What are these characteristics? Let’s take a look.

Note: While here we use the language of the martial warrior, the characteristics can be applied to any man’s life mission, whether civilian or true solider.

Aggressive

If you look up the word “aggressive” in the dictionary, these are the definitions you’ll find:

1. characterized by or tending toward unprovoked offensives, attacks, invasions, or the like; militantly forward or menacing
2. making an all-out effort to win or succeed; competitive
3. vigorously energetic, especially in the use of initiative and forcefulness

Of the three definitions, the first is most popular in modern culture. Something unprovoked, out of line. Notice how often “overly” precedes “aggressive” in common parlance. Aggression may also bring to mind military policies a person does not agree with. In general it has a negative connotation.

But true aggression should be thought of in the context of the second two dictionary entries.EffortEnergyInitiativeForce. Aggression is a neutral tool that can be harnessed for either ill or good. How it is channeled makes all the difference. A man who does not harness his aggression at all picks a fight with everyone and about everything; his relationships fail and he is stunted in his personal development. The man who reins in his aggression too much becomes the stereotypical weenie Nice Guy–proper aggression turns into passive aggression. He is too “polite” to go after what he wants, and he’s seething inside because of it. A man who has successfully integrated the Warrior archetype harnesses his aggression as the force that pushes him to compete to be the best and moves him ever forward towards his goals.

Purpose

Of course that proper use of aggression presupposes that a man has goals that he’s striving towards in the first place. A man has to have a clear and definite purpose in life, or he will feel lost and restless, like he is drifting along instead of marching ahead.

Mindful

The mindfulness of the Warrior is two-fold. First, he is always alert and awake, ever vigilant. He has keen situational awareness. He never lets complacency lull him to sleep; instead, he is always watching, observing, studying, and planning. Secondly, the Warrior is mindful of the finiteness of life and the inevitably of death, and he purposefully contemplates that death. His courage is rooted in the fact that he is not afraid to die. Life’s shortness brings clarity to his mind. He knows that any minute could be his last so he makes every day and decision count.Carpe diem! becomes his battle cry.

Adaptable

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army knew that it could not match the man and fire power of the British. So instead of facing them down on a field for a traditional battle, the minutemen took to the woods and launched surprise hit and run attacks on the enemy. This is the way of the Warrior; he is a guerrilla fighter. When he’s up against great odds, he bucks convention and uses his cleverness and his strategic intelligence to find creative ways to turn the tide in his favor. He is an efficient fighter–he studies the weaknesses of his opponents and concentrates his strikes there. He is flexible and able to respond to change by shifting tactics on the fly.

Minimalist

The key to successful guerrilla warfare is the fighter’s ability to travel light. While the traditional force has power in its superior resources, those resources also weigh and slow them down. The guerrilla fighter strips away all superfluities and excess baggage; he carries only what he needs and is thus quick and nimble, able to be two steps ahead of the enemy.

Decisive

In times of peace or crisis, whether for big things or small, the Warrior is able to boldly make decisionsHe doesn’t stand there shilly-shally, wondering what he should do, scared of choosing the wrong option. He is calm and cool under pressure. Once he makes a decision, he unhesitatingly moves on it because he does not live in regret. The Warrior is able to be so decisive because he trains so thoroughly for these moments; he is prepared. He thinks about all possible contingencies and what he would do in each situation before the crisis arrives. When the crisis does come, his mind and body already instinctively know what to do.

Skillful

Part of the Warrior’s confidence in his decisions is rooted in his supreme competence. Accordingly to Moore, “The Warrior’s energy is concerned with skill, power, and accuracy.” The Warrior “has absolute mastery of the technology of his trade…the technology that enables him to reach his goal. He has developed skill with the ‘weapons’ he uses to implement his decisions.”

Loyal

If you remember, the Hero is the boyhood archetype which matures into the Warrior archetype. Part of this maturation process centers on a shift in a man’s loyalties. Moore argues that “The Hero’s loyalty…is really to himself–to impressing himself with himself and to impressing others.” The Warrior’s loyalties, on the other hand, “are to something beyond and other than himself and his own concerns.” The Warrior’s loyalty centers on “a cause, a god, a people, a task, a nation–larger than individuals.” The Warrior has a “central commitment” around which he organizes his life. His life’s purpose is rooted in ideals and principles, which naturally strips away superfluities and pettiness and brings his life great meaning.

Disciplined

The Warrior has mastered himself in body and mind. His power is rooted in self-control. He knows when to be aggressive and how aggressive to be.  He is the master of his energies, releasing them and pulling them back as he chooses. He decides the attitude he will take in a certain situation, instead of letting the situation dictate how he feels. Unlike the boyhood Hero archetype, the Warrior understands his limits; he takes calculated instead of unnecessary risks. His discipline also frees him of a fear of pain. Feeble, mediocre men believe all pain is bad. The Warrior knows there is bad pain and good pain. He is willing, even eager to withstand psychological and physical pain on the path to his goals. He’s the kind of man who subscribes to the “pain is just weakness leaving the body” philosophy; he relishes difficulty because it makes him stronger.

Emotionally Detached

Not all the time, but when he is in Warrior mode. To complete his mission, the Warrior must be emotionally detached–from the fear and doubt generated by his own feelings, from the intimidation emanating from his enemy, and from the “shoulds” and demands put on him by friends and family. The Warrior needs the kind of mental clarity that only comes from single-minded purpose, or as Moore puts it, “The Warrior needs room to swing his sword.”

Switching off that emotional detachment when away from the mission represents the great challenge for the Warrior. The inability to do so can result in one of the Warrior’s shadows.

Creative Destroyer

The Warrior is the archetype of destruction. However, the Warrior in his fullness only destroys in order to “make room for something new and fresh and more alive.” His is an act of creative destruction–he doesn’t tear things down simply for the pleasure of doing so. We call upon the Warrior archetype when we quit bad habits and replace them with better ones or when we get rid of people in our lives who bring us down and surround ourselves with people who edify.

The Shadows

The Sadist. As just discussed, men in touch with the Warrior archetype have the ability to detach themselves from emotions and human relationships. While detachment provides a man with much needed focus on important tasks, when it becomes a man’s permanent state, the Sadist shadow controls a man’s psyche.

This is why soldiers, who have a mission-minded attitude while on deployment, can find it very difficult to adjust to life back home and find their place in their families, which are based on emotional needs and currents–the stuff the solider has been used to setting aside. The mission-focused life freed him from human pettiness–and returning to it can be grating. This is also true of lawyers, ministers, doctors, politicians, and other men who may be married to their job–shifting from mission-mode to domestic-mode can be difficult for them.

As the name implies, the Sadist can be cruel, even to those most vulnerable. He disdains the weak. A commanding officer in the Army may try to rigidly run his family in the same way that he led his troops. The Sadist creates unattainably high standards for himself and those around him. When a child comes home with a less than perfect grade, a father influenced by the Sadist will put her down and berate her mercilessly. A man with positive Warrior energy would have kindly shown disappointment, but then offered to help his daughter study for the next exam so she could ace it.

The Sadist’s disgust at weakness is linked to the boyhood Hero archetype. The Hero tries to break away from his mother and from feminine energy in general as he seeks to become his own man. But adult men who are still insecure about being “man enough” project this insecurity onto others. He hates what he fears is within himself.

According to Moore, men possessed by the Sadist also tend to be workaholics. They’re the men who take pride in working all night at the office and coming home at 7AM, only to leave for the office again an hour later. They’ll choose work at the expense of health and even family. They take the Warrior’s comfort with pain to an extreme and grind it out to get to the top. But they’re doing it because they really don’t know what they want out of life, and constantly working distracts them from this fact. Once they do reach the top, they often feel empty, lost, and bitter. But many Sadists simply burn out before they even get there.

The Masochist. The Masochist is the passive shadow in the tripartite Warrior archetype, and its attributes closely parallel those of the boyhood Hero archetype’s cowardly shadow. A man possessed by the Masochist feels he is powerless. He is a push-over who has no personal boundaries and will let others walk all over him. He may hate his job or the relationship he’s in and complain about it, but instead of quitting, cutting his losses and moving on, he digs in and tries harder to be who his boss or girlfriend wants him to be and takes even more abuse. Because while he might complain about the pain, he really likes it. This is the man who enjoys being the martyr.

An archetype’s bi-polar shadows often work together against a man. Men under the Masochist’s influence will take the disrespect others dish out without fighting back or asserting themselves. Then one day something, maybe a criticism from his wife, pushes him over the edge and he “explodes with sadistic verbal [and sometimes even] physical abuse.”

How to Access the Warrior Archetype

Many men today lack Warrior energy. They’ve been told all their lives that aggression is bad and they should just work on being be “nice guys.” But if there’s anything the world needs today, it’s men in touch with the Warrior archetype. It’s the energy that propels men to dare greatly and to fight for a worthy cause. So what can we do to access this positive Warrior energy?

Watch movies about great warriors. Yeah, it’s cliche, but it works. They don’t necessarily have to be war movies. Any film that showcases men with the warrior spirit will do. Here are a few of my favorite warrior movies. I’d love to read yours:

  • Braveheart
  • Gladiator
  • The Seven Samurai
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Shane
  • Glory
  • Patton

Read biographies about great warriors. Also, dig into writings like those of Marcus Aurelius (the ultimate philosopher-warrior).

Take up boxing or another martial art. 

Do something that scares you. 

Work on becoming more decisive.

Meditate. Especially on death.

Quit shoulding on yourself. The Warrior is able to detach himself from the opinions of others in order to carry out his mission.

Find your core values.

Have a plan and purpose for your life.

Boost your adaptability by strengthening your resilience.

Study and practice the skills necessary for completing your goals. Whether that’s marksmanship, computer programming, or being charismatic, become a master of your trade.

Find the principles that you’re loyal to.

Establish some non-negotiable, unalterable terms (or N.U.Ts) and live by them. 

Compete in a race like the Warrior Dash. It’s got the word warrior right in the name!

Strengthen your discipline by establishing habits and daily routines.

Adopt a minimalist philosophy. Declutter your life. Simplify your diet. Get out of debt.