Battle is not pretty. It is costly, and it requires discipline to obtain victory. Thus, in boot camp, soldiers learn winning strategies so they can fight, and win.
When we send enlisted volunteers to boot camp, it requires grueling discipline on their part. Think about the mindset a soldier needs to succeed, and the rigorous training they must go through to prepare for the battlefield. Soldiers have a single purpose, and they are well aware that it is birthed through suffering.
As Christians, how we embrace suffering reflects the measure of faith we have attained. As God’s soldiers, we will never become mature unless we are willing to go through the preparation designed to break, shape, and mold us for Christ’s kingdom. How we endure sets a model for our families to follow in our footsteps as we faithfully follow Christ and submit to His boot camp.
Faith is created in uncomfortable, but necessary bouts of suffering. But the results amidst suffering is priceless. Relying on Christ as we endure suffering allows us to look from where we have come from and realize positive results.
I will be the first to admit that the word “endure,” especially paired with “suffering” seems strenuous and grueling. It is not appealing. However, it is discomfort that is necessary for growth. What we are willing to endure, reaps many benefits. As Christ shapes us, we become better “soldiers.”
Endure suffering along with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.~2 Timothy 2:3-6 NASB
Paul’s plan to Timothy for the church encourages him in a time when he is facing much suffering. It is inevitable. There is no way to get around it. Those who desire to be a registered, proven member of Christ’s army, will suffer. To endure suffering, it is necessary for us to embrace it.
We must go through suffering if we want to experience growth and God’s anointing. We will not see oil until the olive is squeezed and pressed to produce that which is already inside. The Lord uses suffering with a purpose for His glory, but the key is not giving up. To endure is to suffer patiently; to experience without giving in; to undergo a tough situation.
As Christians, how we embrace suffering reflects the measure of faith we have attained.Charles Maldon, author of In the Beginning: Godliness through Marriage
Paul sets the tone for us by giving us information as to what is needed to P.A.S.S.. He challenges us to increase our faith by accepting the challenge. Like boot camp, we must commit to putting in our best effort to reach our goal. Suffering is tough, but the mental surpasses the physical. Yes, our body is engaged but in order to endure, we must see the end result before we get there. Faith requires us to encourage ourselves to have the right outlook, focusing on the unseen result.
Let’s break this verses above with the acronym, P.A.S.S. Paul explains that if we are going to be a mature soldier in God’s army, we must develop in key areas. Christ requires this of all of us. No one is exempt.
Here are Paul’s battle-ready, boot camp P.A.S.S. steps:
P- Patience– In order to endure we must increase in patience. Patience cannot be rushed. It steadily builds over time. Patience is gained while we are enduring the suffering. We only develop patience when we are determined to have a single focus. Patience teaches us self-discipline. No patience; no discipline.
A – Accept– We accept our responsibility to serve Christ no matter the cost. We determine to see this journey to completion. We accept that we must give up whatever is necessary to be successful in this endeavor. We recognize we are called to serve. We have a decision to make when we decide to accept this call. Just like the soldier in boot camp, we consider the cost, and we know that we must follow through with hard choices. We ask ourselves, “Am I willing to accept the challenge?”
S – Sacrifice– We must sacrifice those things that we cannot control. We cannot control the outcome of suffering, but we can make a decision to live a life purposely surrendered to Christ. It is not a sacrifice if it does not cost us anything. Boot camp requires us to separate ourselves from family, friends, ideology, and our perspective, and take on a whole new mindset–that of Christ’s. Remember, when we sacrifice, we are giving some things up but we are gaining better ways. The sacrifice has value and purpose. When we endure suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, we gain Christ.
S – Strength– We gain strength by suffering. It builds the inner man and increases our ability to trust the Lord. Strength can only build when we continue to push. Strength only results when we don’t quit. We will never know how much strength we truly have until we find ourselves in the midst of a battle.
So, are you ready to endure suffering, and take a P.A.S.S. on suffering? It is worth it, friend, to be battle-ready for the Lord. Enter boot camp as a good soldier.
Have you gone through Christ’s boot camp of suffering? Share your experience.
Father God, help me to develop good character through suffering. Like a soldier in boot camp, help me to give up worldly security, and endure hardships. Help me to remember the purpose I am working towards, and that my highest desire is to minister effectively. Encourage me to move forward, strengthening me when I experience weak moments. When I have missed the mark, redirect me, and help me to keep going, with my focus upon You. I love You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Copyright 2021: Boot Camp: Charles E. Maldon, Jr.: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
CHARLES E. MALDON, JR.
Charles E. Maldon Jr., is an ordained reverend, speaker, writer and mentor. However, the title he is most proud of is a servant of Christ.
Charles is a devotion/article writer for VineWords: Devotions and More, specializing in the area of marriage, with the goal of helping men improve their marriages.
Charles’s mission in life is to encourage others to know their true value by developing an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. As the Lord continues to mold him, Charles uses his colorful life experiences, both “good and bad”, as real-life ministry tools. He believes there are treasures to be found in every trial—perspective is everything.
The crux of his writing is to bring others to freedom through authentic transparency. In addition to his writing, Charles is the founder/administrator of Break-Thru Ministries,a men’s ministry which focuses on helping the family, especially men, to become all that Christ created them to be. He enjoys helping men to fulfill their calling in life, relationships, and manhood.
He is currently in the process of revising his book, In the Beginning: Godliness through Marriage. He is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association and Word Weavers. He also blogs on his ministry page, Break-Thru Ministries, where his hope is to touch someone with the love of Jesus.
Charles is the proud father of two boys and resides in North Carolina with his lovely wife Lekeisha. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, traveling and spending time with his family.
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