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Jesus was not a hippie or Ned Flanders pt. II

"The world of posers is shaken by a real man,  They'll do whatever it takes to get you back in line-threaten you, bribe you, seduce you, undermine you.  They crucified Jesus, but it didn't work did it?  You must let your strength show up.  Many of us have actually been afraid to let our strength show up because the world doesn't have a place for it.  Fine. The world's screwed up.  Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it."  John Eldredge from Wild at Heart, p. 151

In my previous post on this subject Jesus was not a hippie or Ned Flanders I spoke about my personal struggles about the masculine identity of Christ.  Over these past days my struggle with the masculinity of Christ has taken on an even greater degree of severity.  As most of you know through my posts I am currently unemployed.  But beyond this great cross I have been also battling other demons.  Let me highlight some of my sufferings and trials from yesterday and this past weekend:
.

  • I went to a job interview only to find out that there were 30 other people fighting for the same $8.50 an hour job.  It sucks when an $8.50 an hour job feels like joining the New York Yankees
  • Mentally I was bombarded by thoughts of how I was a failure, how I did not have what it took to make it as a husband, a man in our society
  • On my way to mass as I was driving my car started to steam,  letting out a burning rubber smell.  Definitely not good.
  • Once I finally arrived home I tried putting on the T.V. to drown out my negative thoughts, but for some strange reason the T.V. decided not to work, Oddly when I needed it the most.
  • This past weekend I realized that I have to begin repaying my school loans, with money that I don't have at this point
  • This last temptation hit me the hardest because I now realize that going to college was a colossal mistake
  • My mental depression is so severe at times that I don't even have the energy to get up, let alone pray.
  • I have shouted at God, even yelling and cursing at him,  I even flirted with the prospects of leaving the Catholic church, becoming a deist instead
In a way I feel that the trials of these past 2 months have been a battle for my soul.  John Eldredge comments on this reality as he states,

"That is the next level of our Enemy's strategy.  When we begin to question him, to resist his lies, to see his hand in the "ordinary trials" of our lives, then he steps up the attack; he turns to intimidation and fear...So he's going to try to keep you from taking a stand.  He moves from subtle seduction to open assault.  The thoughts come crashing in, all sorts of stuff begins to fall apart in your life, your faith seems paper thin," p. 166

So what's going on?  I am being attacked viciously by the devil. Why? Because I matter, I am a front line soldier for the kingdom.  The devil hates my strength, especially since it is not my own it is Christ's.  The devil wants nothing more than for me to stand on the sidelines of life, not fighting any battles, not gaining any hard fought victories, being forever complacent in the lukewarm waters of faith.  In short the Devil wants me to be wimp, a lion without any claws, forever disengaged, being that perpetual "nice guy" whom everyone loves, but no one fears or respects, a hapless, sugary, impotent Ned Flanders.  The truth is that the world does not need a Ned Flanders, the world needs a Christ, a warrior for the kingdom, not a fledgling, pathetic side line wimp. Unfortunately our church, country are full of these wimps.

Yesterday as I was being walloped by the devil, I felt that the Lord inspired me to begin reading the book of Job.  I will close this post with this passage which helped to put my sufferings in perspective. I suggest that you read the entire passage on your own it is very powerful.

"Behold, happy is the man whom God reproves; therefore despise not the chastening of the almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he smites, but his hands heal...You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, as a shock of grain comes up to the threshing floor in its season."  Job 5: 17-18, 26

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