Sunday, March 15, 2009

Boot Camp for Life

Today I am thinking of Son #1, Justin, wondering what he is doing. Many times throughout the day our thoughts turn to him and immediately, our hearts lift him up to God. Knowing that as we are turning our eyes toward God with requests for our son, that HIS eyes are looking down, able to see exactly what is going on with us a satisfying comfort. One who is not present with Justin, plus ONE who is present with Justin equals confidence that is unshakable. Our whispered prayer is being heard and answered with God's best for Justin's life. :-)

Justin's decision to commit his life to serving others by sacrificing his own comforts in this life is comparable to the Christian's decision to follow Christ. He followed the pull on his heart, spent time studying the requirements and counted the cost upfront. He stepped out in faith, gathering up his courage to face the fears of the unknown, taking the oath leading to that first step onto Parris Island. He is now committing his every day to learning and training to be all that he needs to be, all that he MUST be to carry out the high calling of the Marine. He is being made. He had to be broken down to become nothing in his own eyes in order to be built back up with the mentality and confidence that is vital for the role that God has predestined for him, the duties that his superiors will expect of him. He will be made into a Marine, and accepted into the elite Corps of the United States Marines.

It is the work and pull of the Holy Spirit on our hearts that even gives us the desire to enter into service for Christ. It is good to count the cost, and to know the requirements by hearing the Words of God. Truly it is a step of faith, and will call for a measure of courage that we know not when we initially commit. The oath to serve our Lord Jesus Christ for this lifetime and beyond is the first step of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, and the army of the Lord. We, too, must have a broken spirit, aware of our unworthiness to even be considered, in order to have the Lord build us back up by naming us one of HIS own. We are made into a new creature. We are adopted into an eternal family. We bear the awesome name of Christ...CHRISTIAN,... we have become "little Christs."

But we have to go through Boot Camp! One could say that the spiritual walk in life on this planet serves as a Boot Camp for Heaven. We are no longer to say I, or me, or mine. We no longer live for ourselves. We are a part of one body. We are to live and act for the reputation and honor of THE ONE. We are called to a lifetime of training that will require an enormous measure of discipline. Without the saving grace and strength of Christ and the indwelling companionship of the Holy Spirit, we would most certainly fail.

Every time we fall, we get back up. Every time we feel weak, we receive His strength. Every time we doubt , we are revived with life-giving faith.

This is our calling. We are one body. We are to carry each other through. As much as is possible on our part, we are to leave no man behind. We are called to sacrifice for the sake or life of another... even as Christ did for our example.

This is not a self-survival mission. This is not a decision to be made lightly. This is not a solution for the moment to "fix" a troubled circumstance or overbearing trial. This is a decision of the heart....not the mind. It is for a lifetime!! We must count the cost. We must understand the requirements. We must realize the sacrifice we are being called to make.

This lifelong tour requires those who join to deny all that is in themselves, to pick up a cross, and to follow their leader, Christ... every single day.

Truly, it is the Holy Spirit that reaches down into our innermost soul, and divinely draws our spirits to step out with courage and commitment. It is God's plan unfolding for each life He has called and predestined to be a Child of God. It is a high calling that necessitates becoming a warrior for His Kingdom. He will walk with us through our "boot camp" experience. He will stand beside us in the physical and spiritual conquests of this realm. He will accompany us through our darkest moments and our highest celebrations in this life. He will stand before all peoples of all nations to reward us when the battles of this lifetime are over and done. He will give us the "medal of honor," the crown of life for service rendered in loyalty to our Lord and Savior, His own Son, Jesus Christ. Our loving Father will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matt. 25:21)

This is what I think of I think of Justin. I will say it again, and many more times. His commitment to God to follow his calling will affect me in more ways than he will ever know. I will grow and benefit from his example and from his life witness.

How about you? Have you recently pondered the sacrifice and commitment of your calling to be a soldier of Christ? Do you need to remember the "no longer I" mentality, and renew your "one body, one mind" commitment? Are you surrounded by a company of believers in the Battalion of God who are like-minded and committed to fighting by your side and defending you against the enemy? How goes it with your boot camp experiences? Are you relying on the Source of Strength that is walking through this lifetime with you?

Maybe it's time for a recommitment. Maybe you need to take inventory. Check out your attitude. Check up on your battle gear. Build up and encourage the ones who walk closest with you. Make sure you have the mindset and readiness you will ultimately need to fight the coming battles that you will surely face. And get down on your knees and talk to your Commander and King. He will supply you with all that you need to gain victory!

The Marine motto is SEMPER FI. May we as Christians carry the same motto in every mission we are sent out on in this lifetime.

"Always Faithful" to our Lord. Living or dying we serve the conquering and victorious King of Kings. HE deserves our all, and we should give no less.



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