It's no coincidence I was a wrestler in high school whose mascot was the Warriors and that I had a crazy coach who would recite Sun Tzu, Art of War, in practice. To wrestle can also be intepreted as to "lay hold". As sons of God we have been called to fight in the battles with Christ, we must test our strength against Him if we are to be developed and initiated as warriors. We do that by engaging in the wrestle with God and laying hold to the power he bestows upon us. The transcendentals (Latin: transcendentalia) are the properties of being that correspond to three aspects of the human field of interest: the good, the true, and the beautiful. If you are going be a warrior of light in Christ you will need to lay hold to all three.
Fighting for the good: The transcendental of good deals with morality and what is just, which is a damn good reason to fight since morality tends to be the major theme questioned and addressed in religion. A warrior needs that moral compass, and he needs to have it deeply seeded within the purity of his heart if he is to withstand the enticing of the evil one. There will be times in the hero’s journey when discouragement, pain, and heartache will seek to suffocate the heart. It is during this vulnerable state that the enticement to kill the heart of flesh and instead opt for a heart stone echoes through the dark corridors of the psyche. Even in the face of what is true and the understanding of what is righteous, the temptation to bargain with the devil, to succumb to the senseless lust, anger, and resentment and use knowledge/power to reap destruction and control in this word, instead of producing life and love to bring heaven on earth, draws out the carnal desires of the natural man. Its temptation pulls strongly on the ego, not because lustful, selfish, and riotous living is more fulfilling than life in Christ, but because the natural man is a coward. To live from the heart, to live and love for Christ, requires us to take to risks, to have faith, and most terrifying of all - to suffer. Loving others always requires sacrifice, which inevitably brings about suffering. In order to transcend the pain and wickedness associated with that suffering, the warrior must discover its deeper meaning. When he comprehends the purpose of the trials, he is able to overcome those dark nights of soul. The warrior will brave the wilderness and ascend from the chaotic dark abyss more godly, possessing an even greater capacity to love.
On the other hand, serving Satan by living a life of hate, rage, and lust apart from the heart may cause the individual suffering, but it is meaningless suffering. It is nihilism, which requires absolutely no assigned meaning and therefore no responsibility. To love purely requires heroic bravery. To hate and kill the heart is to be a coward and run from the risk, faith, and sacrifice required by love.
I once took a deep stab to the heart that had yet to fully heal. After gaining some confidence to fight again I was again wounded in that precise deep place. God allowed that wound to be poked a bit so that I could confront my demons and turn to Christ for healing, but having any type of wound addressed is never pleasant. It spiraled me back into a dark and vulnerable place where the devil made an offer to me. The offer was to kill my heart and live a carnal life apart from the desires of the heart God had given me. I was told that with the knowledge I possessed I could have anything I want and that I would relish in the destruction I could cause. I'd be very good at being very bad. Because of the pain I felt the offer seemed so enticing that I almost took it. It was an escape from reality and responsibility of love. I was engulfed by darkness that I could not see past that seductive bargain. I was so hurt, so enraged, so bitter and full of hate I didn't even possess the strength to properly pray because a wicked and sadistic part of me actually desired the dark over the light. I had to ask the Warrior's Court (my fellow brothers and comrades in Christ) to intercede on my behalf. There are demons eager to appease to appetites of our carnal flesh, and the natural man of me did crave to senselessly corrupt knowledge to wreak havoc. The devil's bargain was not rooted in false claims. The potential to be absolutely evil lies in all of us and it's a damn foolish sin to believe that we are exempt from falling prey to such malevolence. What enabled me to resist the devil was the sense of good seeded deep within the purity of my heart. Although suffocated by the dark, it was that light that broke through the darkness.
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it not by lying down. A man who gives into the temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation really means - the only complete realist.
- C.S. Lewis
That good seeded deep within the purity of my heart sprouted when I was first called into this journey to pursue and know God. I experienced a mighty change of heart, but through that mighty change, Christ required that core transcendental value of “the good” to be shaken and brought into deep and ponderous questioning. I was a full-time LDS missionary at the time, and so up until that point in my life the depth of my morality was as shallow as the superficial traditions of the Mormon church culture. In just a few weeks of divine testing, I was faced with dilemmas that completely shattered my moral compass. I was forced to dig deep into the soul and derive my source of morality, not from a sandy foundation of religion, but from the rock of my Redeemer Jesus Christ the Lord. This sparked a passion within me to be good, not as the world defines it, but as Jesus declares it. That fire still burns bright within the depth of my heart today. If Satan can not control you through ignorance, if he can not intimidate you into passivity, he will attempt to strike a bargain with you when you are either vulnerable to deception or vulnerable in your pain. In the midst of that dark confusion the offer may seem so completely rational and justifiable that you will lack the sound reason to defeat the adversary in an articulated debate. You will need to dig deep within the purity of your heart and hold true to that light, but if you have never allowed Christ to breathe that spark of life in you, you will die and something dark will animate your soul.
Through this process of wrestling with the good also came the aching realization that I was poor in spirit, which caused me to mourn over my wickedness. This state of humility caused me to hunger and thirst after righteousness, which lead me to the wrestle with the second Transcendental: The True.
In less than a month, I became a mini-scriptorian. I would stay up till 5AM in study or deep discussion with other missionaries about the mysteries of heaven. (or what seemed like mysteries at the time,). I would thirst and hunger so deeply for the word of God that I would fast multiple times a week, sometimes 2 days in a row, because feasting upon the words Christ sustained me so well that eating the food of this world became momentarily irrelevant.
The word of God is truth, which is said to be sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hew 4:11). The thing about a two-edged sword is that you may end up getting cut by it yourself when wielding it. The following is an excerpt from a previous blog entry about the piercing effect truth has on my soul:
When I was serving an LDS mission in the Philippines the Lord revealed unto me His word as He expounded the scriptures unto me. I was guilty and therefore took the truth to be hard. (Nephi 16:2) It literally made me ill! What He taught caused me to quake as it cut me to the very center. I reacted to truth with a degree of cognitive dissonance because it went against my religiously ingrained paradigms; dividing the LDS Church from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the precepts of men (the "infaliblity" of the Brethern) from the Book of Mormon, a vain religion from an intimate relationship with God. The Light of Christ allowed me to perceive the clear distinction and I therefore had to make a difficult choice. The choice I made required repentance and sacrifice. Since that time and to this very day as God’s Word is unfolded unto me my paradigms are constantly being shattered as the Truth cuts asunder those big clumps of mixed truths and lies. As I sift through the remains of my shattered beliefs, that is when I able to separate dirt and sand from the rocks and diamonds, conjecture and tradition from God’s Word and Truth. From the debris I am able to obtain the pure and strong elements needed to build my foundation upon the rock of Jesus Christ. This is an ongoing process which requires constant seeking, constant repentance, constant change, and therefore constant sacrifice. (The Dividing Factor of Truth)
A warrior of light does not cower from the chaotic unknown. They first prepare by spending quality time training with their king, Jesus Christ the Lord of Sabaoth, sharpening their sword upon the truth. Then they venture into the wild chaos fully clothed in the armor of God, wielding the honed Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. They battle, they fight, they cut asunder and divide the unbelief from the truth, and return home with more light. A warrior does not spend their days hiding in a protected sheltered bubble of timid, puritan paranoia of the wicked influences of the world. They do not freeze up from cognitive dissonance, contradictions, or paradoxes. They are tough sons and daughters of God possessing a tenacity of soul. They lean into discomfort, wrestle with contradictions, and unlock the paradoxes of the universe. They leave the comforts and security of their safe groupthink conformity and brave the wilderness to find God. They step out onto the battlefield of the world to liberate souls by helping others discover the good, the true, and beautiful within their own selves. A warrior of light creates order from the chaotic unknown.
I love truth. It has set me free and has fueled a passionate fire within me for the glory of God. The truth has been my pursuit these past three years. A good amount of posts contained in this blog address the nature of truth while expounding upon scripture. I will be addressing the topic of truth next month at Sunstone. But as wonderful as truth is, it is not enough to truly inspire a warrior to fight for God, live for Christ, and die for his friends. Most of the time, the truth merely sits as intellectually stimulating knowledge for the brain - spiritual Twinkies with no pragmatic application toward progression. Truth struggles to makes its way on the 18-inch journey from the head to the heart, and so it fails to become an actual experience. It never gets assimilated into our state of being- we never become a living embodiment of the truth. This is why a warrior must learn to embrace the third Transcendental. The warrior must learn, not to wrestle, but to dance, with the beautiful.
|It's a Cheesy Country Song, I know|
The difference between a mercenary and warrior is the purpose for why they go into battle. The former is a soldier who fights for mere pay, the latter is driven by a cause far deeper than a monetary reward. A warrior fights for his family, his country, his God….and his woman. In essence, a warrior uses his strong masculine energy from a place of love. I emphasize the woman because of how powerful her influence is on a man. Soldiers will carry into battle photo lockets of their sweetheart back home. In The First Avenger, Captain America flips open that locket with the photo of Agent Peggy Carter as he heroically crashes a German plane full of nuclear warheads into the icy ocean. Even Mormon missionaries desperately keep little photos of their girlfriend-soon-to-be-Dear-John-ex love in the little white handbooks they keep tucked in their left chest pockets, close to their hearts and under their black church name badges. What do the guys in Mulan want? “A girl worth fighting for”! The Trojan War is said to have been fought over one beautiful woman. My own dad sold his expensive sports car so that he could afford a ticket to go to the Philippines, take my mother out, propose to her within three days, and get married within the month. Whether for good or bad, a woman’s ability to inspire and motivate a man to rise to the occasion and take action is a divine trait of the feminine.
I can not address the beautiful without first addressing the woman, the "Beauty". She is the beauty of all of God’s creations manifested in the flesh. Notice Eve’s place in the order of God’s works; she is the very last of all of God’s designs. As the days progress in the Genesis account so does the complexity, exquisiteness, and the quality of beauty and life of creation. God keeps one-upping what he did the previous day. Eve is the grand finale to an intricate, magnificent, majestic crescendo of heaven’s glorious symphonic ensemble. She is the pinnacle of divine beauty, the Mother of all creation. It has recently been shown unto us that Eve actually derives her lineage from a source higher and of greater divinity then Adam- She is truly the greatest gift to man. In beauty, Eve(the woman) embodies majesty taller than mountain peaks, power greater than the rolling thunder, and depth more than the cracks of the deep places in the earth. Because she is the living embodiment of beauty, she is the messenger of that divine glory.
So what effect does the messenger of beauty have on the warrior? Read the following excerpt from John Eldridge's book, Wild at Heart:
There is something mythic in the way a man is with a woman. Our sexuality offers a parable of amazing depth when it comes to being masculine and feminine. The man comes to offer his strength and the woman invites the man into herself, an act that requires courage and vulnerability and selflessness for both of them. Notice first that if the man will not rise to the occasion, nothing will happen. He must move; his strength must swell before he can enter her. But neither will the love consummate unless the woman opens herself in stunning vulnerability. When both are living as they were meant to live, the man enters his woman and offers her his strength. He spills himself there, in her, for her; she draws him in, embraces and envelops him. When all is over he is spent; but ah, what a sweet death it is.
And that is how life is created. The beauty of a woman arouses a man to play the man; the strength of a man, offered tenderly to his woman, allows her to be beautiful; it brings life to her and to many. This is far, far more than sex and orgasm. It is a reality that extends to every aspect of our lives. When a man withholds himself from his woman, he leaves her without the life only he can bring. This is never more true than how a man offers—or does not offer—his words. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, says Proverbs (18:21). She is made for and craves words from him.
A godly woman arouses her man, not just sexually, but spiritually. Through her inviting presence, through her sweet kiss, she gives the warrior a taste of heaven, which stirs his appetite into a deeper hunger and thirst after righteousness. A man who is centered in the divine masculinity will desire not just the mere physical beauty of a woman, but will yearn for the deep essence of her divine feminity. When she looks her warrior in the eyes, the depth of soul contained within her will entice him to fall deeper in love with Jesus Christ. Her gentle touch will enchant the stoic warrior into a vulnerable and romantic lover, causing him to open his heart up to the intimacy of God. Her words of encouragement will inspire the warrior to become the greatest version of himself, not for her, but for their God so they can enjoy his literal presence. When the Warrior and the Beauty make love it is not merely sexual, it is a form of worship in the purest form. - a worship that is the closest form of deity emulation on earth, a return to Eden before shame, a reflection of the image of God, male and female joined together as one.
This is great power, or to better phrase it, this is great potential, contained in daughters of Eve and fully manifested in the sacred bonds of marriage. Of this is power the majority of the world is ignorant, and so it has become twisted, abused, and misappropriated. Man has a tendency to obsess and fixate on things, especially on the messenger in place of the message being conveyed. We tend to bow down and worship angles when they appear unto us instead of the one and only true God, despite their plead for us not to. (Rev 19:10) We love to idolize men we believe to be prophets, revering them as deity on earth and setting them up on pedestals between us and God. Man does the same with the messenger of beauty. They fixate on her making her the center of their universe- which never ends well.
A concept taught in the book Wild at Heat is that Femininity can never bestow masculinity. A boy must draw that masculine essence from a father, earthly or heavenly. When a boy goes to the woman seeking to validate his manhood, when he obsesses over and worships a woman and makes her the foundation of his reality, he emasculates himself. He becomes overly needy of her attention and ends up being the boy who loves the woman like a little girl, which goes contrary to his masculine core of order, strength, drive, and purpose. He will either end up with a lady who has to be more manly to compensate for his weak passivity (which is not a good thing nor the purpose of the woman in a relationship) and both he and his woman will wonder why he has lost that stallion passion he once had. He will waste his days rotting in the garage or basement ‘man-cave’ as a dead-beat horse with no individual identity to offer to the marriage. This is masculine strength gone passive which could also result in the guy remaining bitterly single for the rest of his life wallowing in wretched loneliness, pitying his condition as holy righteousness and masquerading his shame in a false facade of pathetic humility. Or the boy’s masculine strength can go bad. Through the rejection of the woman, he may become resentful towards the daughters of Eve. He will hate women and abuse and hurt them in an effort to validate his dominance over the opposite sex, which is counterintuitive to the insecure boyish man seeking to use compulsion as a show of manhood. The reality is, unrighteousness dominion will never be validated by true masculinity. To be a man for the woman is to condescend below her issues and imperfections, to enter into that dark lair of her soul and fight for her, protect her, and slay the dragons that oppress her true and divine beauty. The warrior fights for his woman from a place of love and treats and pursue his woman by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge. He fights for her heart- meaning he must respect the beautiful gift of agency in order for her relationship with God to flourish and for that love to be truly reciprocated by her. A warrior is not her sole savior - only Christ holds that position in her heart; but the man is to help the woman be comfortable and secure in unveiling the true beauty of her heart to God. A warrior can not influence her by virtue of his priesthood, or in other words a man cannot compel a woman to be with him on the premises that through his connection with the heavens God told him through revelation or vision they were meant to be and therefore “since God told me this you must obey!” A man may receive some pretty awesome revelations about his future spouse, but every woman deserves to be caught up in an epic love story, every woman deserves to be romanced. So fight for her heart, not her compliance to what you believe to be true. Pursue her love the way Jesus Christ pursues yours.
The Power of the Warrior’s Sexuality
A prophetic man once stated the following:
Priesthood is not a franchise nor given to control others. Priesthood in its highest form is an opportunity to serve and bless others. This high priesthood is a call to save, redeem, and rescue others from destruction. (4o Years of Mormonism, Priesthood)
The highest form of priesthood or order of God consists of the dyadic relationship between one man and one woman, also known as the patriarchal priesthood. In the highest priesthood, man is to serve and bless, not to condemn. That power is symbolically manifested through the male’s sexual organ. That organ is circumcised to God and so the warrior’s masculine essence, his potency, his sexuality is consecrated to the Lord. The purpose of his endowed power is to penetrate his woman, physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The warrior offers her his strength. He spills himself there, in her, for her in all aspects of life. When a man masturbates he is sabotaging his divine masculine essence, he is wasting the power designed to serve and bless the woman to the carnal traitor within. (the natural man)
Now I understand that statement probably triggered some major dissonance in the majority of my readers, so allow me to clarify. You should not approach your sexual education from a platform of fear and shame, neither should you separate sex and spirituality in your train of thought. Shame is the ultimate goal of the adversary because the belief you hold to about yourself in shame, the low vibrational frequency you subject yourself to in shame, is next to death. It is the lowest you can feel, any lower and your feelings register as dead. Masturbation is not an end, its a means to an end used by Satan to get you where he wants you to be- full of shame. We are sexually broken and have bought the lies of the adversary and religious demons about our sexuality, so instead try to view sex from heaven’s eyes to understand what God's values about sexuality.
I don’t believe masturbation is worthy of condemnation, but I’m pretty dang sure it is not a godly behavior, either. What I have discovered is that when it comes to lust, that evil spirit loves company. It never attacks alone, it tag teams with other spirits like depression, anxiety, shame, ect... After the other spirit has finished delivering its blows upon you, lust moves in and takes advantage of your weak and vulnerable condition. What I have observed in myself when it comes to pornography and masturbation is that the temptation only comes when I have failed to be true to my masculine identity in Christ Jesus. It hits me when I have failed to be the man in life’s situations, whether that be at work, school, dating, social situations, ect… I would retreat into my hollow shell, “hide behind my fig leaf” and sabotage my essence to vain imaginations. There is a quote from a dating coach named Corey Wayne. He states,
If you hesitate, you will masturbate
If you do not lay hold to your masculine identity when called to rise to the occasion to spill your strength as a man in the service of others, you will seek for that fulfillment through the imitation. Preserving your sexuality is not simply about remaining abstinent. It's about always using your energy, now, as a man, to be a true man! Instead of trying to abstain from self-stimulation, go out at seize the day: set goals, help a damsel in distress, engage in the battles and confront your fears, be the man, lay hold to your divine masculinity, become a dangerous warrior for Jesus Christ and stop being the wimpy nice guy. Try this. Test your strength against God and wrestle with Him in this. He will bestow masculinity to you if allow him to father you in your broken manhood. You will feel such fulfillment from God in you that the temptation will cease. This is not about “purity” so much as it is about confidence in your sexuality and masculinity. That energy is a dangerous and wild power, but God expects us to be meek and to know how to use it if we are to become warriors.
I'm paraphrasing a bit of Wild at Heart again here. The Warrior fights for the Beauty, but the warrior’s life mission is not the Beauty. A man has to have an adventure to live that exists outside the woman. The warrior then invites her into that adventure, but that God-given mission will transcend even his relationship with his wife. If a man makes the woman the focal point of his world he will become like a spiritual vampire to her and complete drain her of all life and beauty. If a man’s orbit is a woman, worlds will collide and uncontrolled chaos will unleash. The man and the woman together must orbit the Sun and each must individually draw their life and energy from God. A godly woman will inspire the Warrior to pursue that journey in God and to live the adventure. Even the mother of God directs adoration and worship to her son. (Luke 1:46-55) I love the examples we have in movies like Captain America the First Avenger and Wonder Woman. In both movies, the male lead role loves the woman and desires a relationship, but in both movies he must answer the call to fight for the greater good. Despite how intensely they yearn to be with her, it is greater act of love to sacrifice their lives to uphold their higher purpose. In both the boxing/UFC movies Cinderella Man and Warrior, the lead female character pesters her husband for his pursuit to fight in the ring, but despite her objections, at the end of both movies the woman shows up to support her man the final and grand fight. When a man is true to what God has created him to be, when he is secure in his divine masculinity, it will attract the true feminine heart.
I love the book The Alchemist. It conveys deep spiritual truths to the reader through the best medium possible: an epic story. The journey Santiago goes through to discover his personal legend and find the hidden treasure resonates with my own spiritual journey. In the beginning, Santiago is fixated on the beautiful daughter of a merchant in his local town and desires to eventually marry her, but heading the call to adventure he leaves the comforts and routine of shepherd’s life to pursue a prophesied treasure. He travels through the desert toward the pyramids of Egypt. During his trek through the untamed wilderness, he falls in love with the desert, learning and revering its beauty and workings. In the desert he develops his connection with the divine as he learns to speak its language. It is during his sojourn through the desert that he meets his soulmate, Fatima, and falls in love with her. She is a woman of the desert, gorgeous and exotic who embodies the beauty of the desert Santiago has grown to appreciate and love. He asks her to marry him and she promises to do so only after he completes his journey. He is frustrated by this, but later learns that true love will not stop nor must one sacrifice to it one's personal legend, since to do so robs it of truth.
"Fatima is a woman of the desert," said the alchemist. "She knows that men have to go away in order to return. And she already has her treasure: it's you. Now she expects that you will find what it is you are looking for.”-The Alchemist
The warrior must brave the wilderness to find God. He must embark on that journey of the soul and learn to love the wild before he can come to truly know a woman of the wild. He must not just fall in love with the beauty; he needs to fall in love with what she embodies: The Beautiful. A man can not just be a warrior for Christ, He must be a lover of God. What enables a warrior to bleed and suffer and fight? It is love. That is what enabled Jesus to suffer on our behalf in Gethsemane.
"All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing he had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men."-Come let us Adore Him, Gethsemane
Love is the answer. Love is what lifts us out of the dark abyss and into the light and life of God. A warrior is only a mercenary if he has not love. This is why Confucius stated, “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance”. Meaning if you are not in tune with the lover within you to guide and direct your passion, the fighter will become destructive, without aim. Masculine knowledge needs its counterpart feminine wisdom in order to be good in the sight of the Lord. A beauty will cause a man to climb mountains and cross seas to be united with his woman, but a warrior who becomes one with the Beautiful will move mountains and split the seas for His God.
Since I began this Sojourn three and a half years ago I have had experiences with God that have brought me to my knees in humble adoration and love, but I can honestly say that the majority of truth I had come to learn merely sat as intellectually stimulating knowledge for the brain - spiritual Twinkies with no pragmatic application toward progression. It wasn’t until 9 months ago beginning in September 2017 that the truth held in the realm of abstract thought began to embark on the 18 journey from the head to the heart. Moving from a state of mind to a state of being. Diving into your heart is one million times more fulfilling than running circles in the brain (that's the ratio for subconscious-conscious mind processing power). Being immersed in the beautiful will have that effect on your soul, which is why God has recently taken me more and more away from my enclosed bedroom where I would bury my nose in scriptures, to his wild temple, the mighty mountains and diverse deserts of Utah, where I can soak in and drink up His wonderful beauty. I have received more light and truth this past season through Mother Earth then through any book and that has caused a tremendous transformation in me that I did not think could be possible. I am a new man because it. I love this quote by C.S. Lewis in his sermon “Weight of Glory”. He is describing how to receive the glory of God is to make us shine like the sun, and he describes our deep desire to be one with the Beautiful:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
My heart has been captivated by the beautiful and oh how I yearn to be united with that beauty. It is what drives me. The good and true are great reason to fight, but the greatest Transcendental is the beautiful. Its give ultimate meaning to being a warrior. Since encountering her I have never been more inspired to seek after my Lord Jesus Christ. She has stirred an appetite within me and I do hunger and thirst after His righteousness. She has aroused within me a deeper yearning in my heart to know God in closer communion. There is the love of God that will bring you to your knees and crush you, and then that love calls you to arise to engage the beautiful. Be the warrior and arise to the occasion, it is worth all the battles, the pain, the suffering, and the sacrifice.