I’ve never been one of those get out into the wild kind of people. You know the type that goes out as though they really were meant to live the life that Rambo lived. As far as I’m concerned, that is best left for the ones who train to do that kind of thing with the purpose of military service. I have a great level of respect for the military and all who serve in it. These elite men and women who do all that they do to defend our nation and liberties go through great hardship in the process of preparing themselves.
Whether you know the process as boot camp or basic training, the premise is to take a person and strip them of their self-identity and “me” mentality through some of the most strenuous and rigorous conditioning known to man. Then, instill in them with the principle of “the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.” The Star Trek character Spock would say, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”
So many Christians get shell shocked often by a rosy picture that has been painted for them. I’m often reminded of the song, Am I a Soldier, which words from the second verse says, “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?” This is a far cry from the image given to most who, are only told of how wonderful it is to be in the service to the King of Glory.
In life there are so many challenges that we face. They aren’t unlike the challenges that we’ve face before we received His salvation. We just are better equipped to face them. Throughout the bible you will read scriptures that say things like, “Count it all joy,” or “I know how to be abased and abound.” These scriptures illustrate only in part the hardships that we face throughout our journey.
As soldiers in service to the King of kings, the struggles we face serve a multitude of purposes. Among them are these:
- To Strip Us of Us: Like in our own armed forces, we must be stripped of our own identity, which we will take on the identity of the one who has enlisted us in His service. We fight under a set banner. There is no place for renegades or rebels.
- Our Will Becomes the King’s Will: There is a saying that goes, “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is just to do or die.” Jesus even told us to pray for God’s will to be done. His ways and will are higher and greater than our own. When we take on His will and the mission He has for us, we are covered by Him. He won’t disavow knowledge of us because we are in service to him. His will for us will always be something that He knows we’ll be able to handle.
- To Strengthen Us for the Battle: Our battle is not like your everyday battle. We must be able to have endurance and the ability to face the enemy. The way God strengthens us is through the troubles, tests, and trials we face. They show us who we are and what we are capable of. He wants you to have the agility, flexibility, endurance, wisdom, focus and drive to complete your set mission in life.
So don’t get bent out of shape when you find that you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Don’t lose your cool when your boss is pressing your last button. Don’t snap when your children are out of control. Disregard the people who are talking behind your back when you know you’re doing your best to do the right thing. These are all minor obstacles in the training ground and boot camp or basic training that will make you the elite soldier God has need of in today’s Kingdom Army.
In the movies you will often see that after training for a given period of time, a soldier may be dropped into a wilderness or survival training operation to test the mettle of what the soldier has gained. So it is in God’s Army. He will drop you into the wilderness of integrity, the wilderness of patience, the wilderness of slander and ostracism. Don’t fret. You can handle it. And despite how unfair or cruel it may seem while you are in it, know that it was for your good. How is it for your good?
- It Builds Confidence: The confidence you have after a wilderness experience is like no other. Especially if your wilderness experience is one where you have or are facing a major illness or traumatic event.
- It Makes You Stronger: Once you’ve handled certain challenges in your life, you know you can handle them again. You never fear them or react to them the same way again, because you’ve been there. It’s like in weight lifting; once you know that you can lift a certain weight, you don’t have that mental block or doubt about whether or not you can handle it. You’ve done it before, so doing it again is just a matter of remembering what you did before and then doing it.
- It Positions You to Save Others: In most rescue training programs they tell you that the surest way to ensure the safety of the group is to make sure you are set first. If you are set, then you are in a position to save another. When you fly on an airline, they tell you before takeoff that in the event of a loss of pressure in the cabin, you should secure your oxygen mask and then help the person next to you. But if you pass out fumbling with your seatmates mask first, then you’ve doomed the both of you.
Countless numbers of people are counting on you to be able to go through what God has for you to go through. Don’t give up. Don’t retreat. Don’t ring that “I Quit” bell like in the movie G.I. Jane. What you’ve gone through and what you will go through was and is for your good.
Question: Have you faced anything that you later discovered was for your good? What was it? How did it help?