… To Meat

Posted: 2011 06 24 by jmmllr in Discipleship
Tags: ,

(You can read Part 1 Here)

I want to share two things I’ve noticed with you.

1. Being thirsty is fundamentally different than being hungry. People like Mohandis Ghandi have made their names on being hungry. But thirst can kill you – or at least make you a little bit loopy. Thirst needs to be quenched again and again. But hunger can prove a point. Hunger, not thirst is where the power is. And Guys (correct me if I’m wrong) are driven by power.

2. When I was in College, I worked as a waiter. And far and away, the greatest day to be a waiter is Mother’s day. Every restaurant is jammed on Mother’s Day. More than Valentine’s Day even, Mother’s Day is the single biggest revenue generator for the service industry. Father’s Day, on the other hand, gets hardly a notice in most restaurants. “Dad’s would rather Grill than go out to eat” is the assumption – and most Father’s Day cards back it up with a picture like this:

Father's Day

Only one Brat left? DIBS!

Men are driven to meat. Men are driven by power. I think these two truths actually work together in the process of Disciple making.

Home Improvement hit a skewed nail on the head when it caricatured guys as power obsessed. But I ask you this: if there weren’t truth in that claim – why are we coming up to Michael Bay’s third Transformers movie? We’re obsessed with power. But the thing is that power is only ever useful in a relationship. And I know that is men’s ministry we try not to use the ‘R’ word, but power is nothing on its own. Friendships, Marriage, even co-workers put us into relationships with people, places and things – and as guys it’s in us to focus on the power dynamics. Right or Wrong, we’re obsessed with power.

But what I want to say to you today is this: Our real power is related to our hunger. As we go looking for power in any of these relationships, our ability to find it and to handle it will be determined by our appetite. That’s what the writer of Hebrew’s meant when he urged Christians to seek out solid spiritual food – not just milk. Hebrews 5:14 tells us that it’s for the mature – the grown up, the strong. Solid food is for people who have power. Solid food will not make you mature. Once you are mature you will crave solid food.

Discipleship is a net that can catch us all wherever we are. And that refuses to leave us there. It’s a process of growing closer and closer to the likeness of Jesus and so as men, I think we should be about the business of getting to the point where we can order a nice juicy tenderloin for dinner rather than just a milkshake. We’re built to be driven to meat.

But here’s the irony: We only get there by starving ourselves.

Anybody can tell that discipleship and discipline are related. The words share seven letters at the beginning. But what I pray that you catch today is that the way in which they are related is important. We sometimes think that Discipline will follow discipleship – that if we’re in the right church or reading the right books that our lives will change to be the men God wants us to be. But the truth is that it works the other way. Discipleship is a result of discipline. When we understand that the power we think we have is an illusion and will disappear when we do, we become free to take hold of the only power that really matters.

As guys I think we need to lead in hunger. We need to discipline our lives so that discipleship can follow. This means picking up some old standards: meditation, prayer, fasting, study; simplicity, solitude, submission, and service; confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. These actions aren’t natural – but that’s what makes them powerful. They go beyond what we are to what we are becoming. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing about each of these from a guy’s perspective.

Hunger matters.

So dig in!

Cheers,

Jared

Comments
  1. Paul S says:

    Great words Jared. I look forward to the comments.

  2. Very good post! I have been hungry for God as of recent, and this has really encouraged me to keep pursuing that!

  3. Jared,

    You mentioned fasting.

    What is fasting to you and how would you teach it to another?

    • jmmllr says:

      @Donald

      Great question.

      The Bible seems to assume fasting is part of life. For most people, it seems that fasting was just part of how you expressed your connection to the religious community. It was something you did.

      As I understand it, and have practiced it, fasting is about creating a change of focus. We starve ourselves so that we can be hungrier for the things of God. We deny ourselves, so that we can be satisfied by what really matters. Fasting is about creating spiritual hunger by creating physical hunger.

      How would I teach it? I think it is learned the same way any discipline is learned. From walking to talking driving to studying, we learn by taking baby steps. Fasting is like swimming – we can’t learn it from a book. We have to wade in, starting in the shallow end, until we can take the plunge. ANd it never hurts to have a swimming buddy.

      But I’m going to talk more about it in my blog post in a few days. Stay tuned, and thanks again for the question. It’s nice to know people are reading!

      • Paul S says:

        I also think that fasting does not have to be from food. I have fasted from food, I have fasted from electronics, I have even fasted from society. Different fasts can be used for different purposes. I look forward to your post about this Jared.

      • Jared,

        I am happy to wait for your next post on this topic, indeed.

        To give you a small hint at my take on fasting as a New Covenant son, please reference Isaiah 58:6. To me, fasting is not about self-discovery or selfishly to be done, but it is warfare in the spiritual realm, and it is powerful stuff.

        A perfect example from Matthew 17:14-21 NAS
        {{When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. “I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

        Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”}}

        Again, looking forward to your continued discussion of this topic!

  4. Paul,

    I have not heard of such a concept. Is this in The Scriptures?

    To “fast” from anything that is not critical to sustaining human life, ie food, seems a bit silly and religious. That to me is not a fast, but a weird form of Lent.

    • jmmllr says:

      Interesting choice of words. Lent is actually a season in the church that was originally set aside for the purpose of fasting. The arguments went though that mandating fasting removed the freedom grace provided, and so Lent become non-mandatory.

      I’m enjoying digging into some passages on fasting. I look forward to sharing in a couple of weeks.

      Meditation and Prayer are up first though …

    • Paul S says:

      Donald, I encourage you to read Isaiah 58:3-7. This passage explains fasting very well. It does not delineate food or water as the thing to fast from. It says that fasting is a time to break Isaiah 58:6b-7 is especially potent and descriptive. “No, this is the kind of fast I want. I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!” There are 9 points here. I’m not going to go into them in detail now, but here’s a start.

      Break every burdensome yoke- if anything is getting between you and your worship and obedience to God, cast it aside.

      I have fasted from things and never returned to them. This was a fast to break a yoke which I had burdened myself with. A yoke of this type could be movies, games, alcohol, or many other things. These things are not sinful to use, but become sinful if they take away from God. If you have burdened yourself with this type of yoke, a fast from them is a fast that is pleasing to God.

      • Paul S,

        I would encourage you, as well, to read Isaiah 58:3-7 and compare it to the light of spiritual warfare I shined earlier. Breaking bonds, removing yokes…good stuff.

        You are giving an illustration in which you were the one who had the bonds and you implemented fasting to break them. Sure, okay. If you say so, who am I to scrutinize?

        But again, why didn’t you just lay these things down as a son and let our Father take them? You needed to fast?

        I find this intriguing.

        Looking forward, oh so forward, to more discussion on this!

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