There is quite the variety of boot camps these days – baby boot camps, correctional boot camps, technology boot camps, and fitness boot camps, to name a few. Of course, the type with which we are likely most familiar are military boot camps.
“Basic Training — often called boot camp — prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional. It gives service members the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be assigned to them for the duration of their tour. Each of the Services has its own training program, tailoring the curriculum to the specialized nature of its role in the Military.”todaysmilitary.com
Training in military boot camps is vital and intense, and for all the reasons listed above, preparing American warriors to serve their country in a multitude of ways. Friends and family members of mine who have served in various branches of the Military readily attest to this! Our country is honored to have such dedicated people protecting us and our interests both at home and abroad.
Likewise, spiritual boot camp for the Commander of the Armies of Heaven is vital, requiring your dedication and commitment to become Christ-like and to be a representative of Christ on earth. Note in the quote above that warriors are trained for specialized purposes (with the common goal of protecting the USA in one way or another). This, too, is true of disciples of Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:4-5 (CEV) “A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.”
Ephesians 4:11-13 (CEV) “Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastor, and teachers, so his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.”
Maturing… The training is ongoing, rather like being in boot camp for life. The encouragement in this is that the Lord is in it with us. We continue to be equipped as warriors before battles, during battles, and reflecting on battles as we do this with Him.
Hebrews 3:14 (NLT) “For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
I like to say that “nothing is wasted in God’s economy”. Each of us is uniquely equipped to serve. Our life training is unique to each of us because the Lord’s good plans for every person are unique.
Romans 12:6-8 (CEV) “God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.”
I Corinthians 12:4-6 (CEV) “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.”
While the experiences we have may be unique, there are still commonalities in our training as warriors for Christ. My “Top 10 List” of key elements in this basic boot camp follow. Please note, these are also weapons of war for the warriors of Christ, who is the Commander of the Armies of Heaven:
- Gratitude and Praise
- Nourishment – Daily Diet of the Word
The remainder of this blog post will focus on the first item on the Top 10 List. Future blog posts will address the remaining items on the list.
Why is the first item on my list “submission”? You have to make a choice – are you going to serve yourself or the Creator of the Universe? Who is god in your life – you or God? Do you think of yourself, your wants, your desires, you, you, you… or do you choose to recognize yourself as a part of something much bigger than you?
I know that “submission” has some bad connotations attached to it. The devil, our enemy, takes every good thing from the Lord and adds his twist to it in order to mutate it for his plans and purposes.
John 10:10 (TPT) “A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!”
As warriors of Christ, we have the following promise:
James 4:7-8 (NIV) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…”
I know the Lord keeps this promise because I do this every day. In fact, sometimes I do this multiple times a day as I refocus on the Lord and press into Him to be sure I am hearing Him clearly. Remember, the devil wants to steal everything – even your time with the Father and the direction and abundance of resources He has for you. To me, submission is a beautiful and freeing choice allowing the weight of the world to roll off of my shoulders.
Luke 9:23-26 (TPT) “Jesus said to all of his followers, “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to my ways. 24 For if you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for my glory, you will embark on a discovery of more and more of true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep. 25 Even if you gained all the wealth and power of this world, everything it could offer you, yet lost your soul in the process, what good is that?”
So, to me “submission” is not weakness. It is choosing His strength, which far exceeds any strength of my own. I opt for walking and battling in strength in Him. How about you, warrior of Christ?