Guest author John “Barney” Barnes is President of Warrior Spirit Ministries, whose goal is to awaken in Christian men their “warrior spirit.” Barney defines this as men having the heartfelt desire and determination to prepare and perfect in themselves what is needed to stand against evil in the service of others.
Barney is a retired Naval aviator and author of Born to Be a Warrior. He also is part of our expanding OneCry network of city revival leaders, helping to provide leadership for revival and spiritual awakening in his hometown of Charleston, SC.
While Barney’s primary audience is Christian men, many of the principles in this blog apply to Christian women as well.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).
Sadly, many men live their entire lives without fully understanding the motivation behind their actions—without answering this fundamental question: “What is your why?” Because of this, we men often struggle in our various roles in life, lacking wholeheartedness as husbands, fathers, Christian brothers, employees, and citizens.
David, the great warrior and king of Israel, despite great victories, experienced miserable failure in his personal and professional life. These failures brought him face to face with the underlying sinful motives that produced his overt sin. As he sought for deep healing, David cried out in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Retired Navy SEAL Mark Divine established Kokoro [spirit] Camp to prepare young men for the rigors of SEAL training, and to prepare civilians for high-performance lifestyles. In his best-selling The Way of the SEAL, he writes,
I ask my trainees, “What is your why?” I listen carefully, because their motivations are often a clue to who will make it and who won’t. One guy, a SEAL candidate, says he wants to become a SEAL “to prove to my father that I have the right stuff.” Fail. That’s an extrinsic motivator—i.e., powered by someone else’s values. Another says, “To be a better man so I can be a better father.” This guy, a 40-year-old businessman, shows definite promise with strong intrinsic motivation, one arising from his heart.
Truly, the secret is in our heart … not in our New Year’s resolutions, Christian seminars, or self-improvement courses. The challenge is refusing to let our hearts succumb to the prideful temptation of seeking to impress our wives, our children, our Christian brothers, or even ourselves that we have “the right stuff.”
Rather, we need to humbly and wholeheartedly pursue the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” regardless of what others may think of us (Matthew 22:37).
Jesus, our consummate example, said that His food “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Elsewhere, He said, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” (John 8:29). Clearly, this was Jesus’ heart desire!
In 2015, many things will again compete for our affections, our loyalties, our time … but especially our hearts. Just think how different our nation would be if every Christian man’s “why” was to have all his words and deeds arise out of his love for God and his desire to be pleasing to Him! Surely our wives would smile, our children would cheer, our churches would thrive, and our communities and nation would experience revival!
At the beginning of this New Year, take some time to linger in God’s presence and consider what your “why” is, what your heart’s true motivation is for all you do. If you are less than satisfied with what you discern, repent and give God permission to mess with you until He has your entire heart.