restoring a man’s identity

jay cookingham

Sonship:Restoring a Man’s Identity

© 2016, Jay Cookingham

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material pro-

tected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. 
Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part 
of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any 
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, 
or by any information storage and retrieval system without express 
written permission from the author / publisher.



"Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted." - Groucho Marx


We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and 

manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to 

suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the 
open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see 

and judge for themselves in the presence of God. 

2 Corinthians 4:2 MSG 

The fake disguise affectionately known as Groucho glasses are 

one  of  the  most  familiar  silly  faces  recognized  across  the  world. 
For decades this false glasses, nose and mustache combo have been 
worn by famous and ordinary faces alike. They’re funny looking and 
provide a good natured laugh or chuckle for most everyone. Still, I 
think they represent a deeper truth about humanity.

People seem especially gifted at wearing masks and using them to 

hide. The goal of a mask wearer can be to cover up the past, to mislead, 
or to please people. This cover up is an issue because of a yearning 
in all of us for recognition, and for our story to mean something. We 
desperately want someone to know who we are. The problem with 
masks is that they blur the line between the cover-up and discovery. 
Like seeing the Groucho mask on someone, We know something is 

off, but exactly what that is eludes us.

Society expects men to hide their weaknesses behind masks of 

distrust, coolness, remoteness, or portraying an image of someone 

they are not. Further confusing the issue is the fight of the false 
expectations of others. These expectations beg us to wear masks to 


avoid  labels  from  family,  friends,  co-workers  and  the  image  they 
want us to project. Mask wearing is an exhausting cover up power 
trip. The power is our imagined control over what others see and the 
trip punishes us with loneliness. 

I have discovered that many men have a masquerade problem 

and  embed  themselves  in  an  espionage  mission.  They  have  spent 
most of their lives covering up, disguising themselves in fear of be-
ing discovered. The fear comes from having a misunderstanding of 
their identity as men. I know this from experience.

My story of sonship started in a very dark place of abuse and 

neglect.  My  dad’s  assault  on  my  identity  was  vicious  and  left  me 
searching for meaning. I chose the mask of a clown, masking my 
pain and anger with humor. For years my father’s words, threats and 
beatings echoed in my spirit and the caustic abuse pushed me deeper 
behind the mask.

Growing up in an abusive home may not seem like the correct 

environment for me to discover freedom, but this is where my story 
began. It was in the context of living through this dark period of my 
life that I began to understand the secret to sonship.

The secret was in discovering who my real father was. It was the 

unearthing of the greatest treasure there is; a relationship with Father 
God. This is the discovery, the encounter that completely changes a 
man and enables him to feel free and alive.

When I met Jesus, my unmasking began. It involved forgive-

ness and rediscovering what it meant to be a man. Removing a mask 

is not easy or painless but freedom fills the wounds with grace. It’s 
risky to reveal what’s behind a mask, but it’s riskier to stay behind 
one.  There’s  pain  involved  in  both  decisions,  but  unmasking  is  a 
productive pain, leading to the abundant life Jesus promises. As you 
experience life beyond the mask, you hunger for more and the cost 
is nothing compared to the freedom gained.

For the King!

Jay Cookingham


day 1 - You Matter

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy  

nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises 

of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  

1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has 

no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” 

- Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life:  

What on Earth Am I Here for?

In the movie, LOTR: The Return of the King is this wonderful 

scene between Elrond and Aragorn. Elrond visits Aragorn before he 
leaves for Minas Tirith and gives him the re-forged sword Andúril. 
(Made from the sword that defeated Sauron and was broken in battle) 
While Elrond is trying to convince Aragorn to embrace the sword 
and his true lineage, this exchange takes place.

Elrond: You're outnumbered, Aragorn. You need more men. 

Aragorn: There are none. 

Elrond: There are those who dwell in the mountain. 


 Murderers. Traitors. You would call upon them to fight? 

They believe in nothing. They answer to no one. 

Elrond: They will answer to the king of Gondor. 

[pulls out Anduril] 

Elrond: Anduril, Flame of the West, forged from the shards of 



Aragorn: Sauron will not have forgotten the sword of Elendil. 

The blade that was broken shall return to Minas Tirith. 

Elrond: The man who can wield the power of this sword can 

summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth. 
Put  aside  the  ranger.  Become  who  you  were  born  to  be.  Take  the 
Dimholt Road. 

Aragorn:  [in  Elvish]  I  give  hope  to  men.  I  keep  none  for  


That last lines gets me every time I hear it. Aragorn seizes the 

role as a symbol of hope for Middle Earth, but relinquishes the life 
he  has  been  living  (the  life  of  an  unnoticed  Ranger,  living  in  the  
shadows)  and  undertakes  a  mission  that  may  kill  him.  When  he  
accepts the sword Andúril, he accepts his destiny. He will spend his 
hope on the cause and rescue a kingdom.

Men, you are a legendary creation and following Jesus is no ordinary  

calling. Your life matters because God says it does. You are on a holy 
mission, a commission and an epic journey to rescue others. Your 

heart, forged in the fire of the Father’s love, moves you to love like 
Him. Your life matters, it was designed to be so from the beginning. 
This is who you are meant to be, a man—God’s son—a man after 
His own heart.

Put away the Ranger, the part of you that drifts from your destiny, 

become a man who follows hard after his King.

Questions to reflect on
Do you feel you have drifted from your destiny? 

Are you embracing all God has called you to?

What hope can you bring to the world?


Father, hear my prayer!

I’m lost without you. My heart wants to give up without you. 

Without you…My spirit longs to run away and hide  The strength I 
possess seems small without you. Without your presence, vision is 
dim and my way is too dark to see.

Where can a man like me go but to you, oh giver of life? With 

you my strength returns…with you my spirit finds the strength to 
go on. Vision returns when my eyes set on you alone. I can rejoice 
because I am exposed to the fullness of your love. I am set free in 
your presence… I am set free in your presence… I am set free in 
your presence!

No good thing will you keep from me…your Word is good, 

your heart is good, your way is good and they will not be kept  
from me.

My declaration is this…I am yours because you made sure I 

was yours. Thank you for your sacrifice, the price you paid…for 
me! In you alone will I trust! – Amen!