Boot Camp

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Jimmy, a friend of the family, came home on leave from S. Korea.  It had been almost a year since we had seen this teenager leave for boot camp.  Honestly, I wondered if he would make it through the rigors.  He’s a great kid, don’t get me wrong, he just had some growing up to do, like most nineteen year olds.  But in he walked…no slouching, looking us straight in the eye, willing to talk about life and sharing the culture shock of living in another part of the world. 

The family surrounded him to hear all about his life changing experiences.  I was struck with this young man sitting across from me, sharing openly about his triumphs and struggles since he left home.  I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I couldn’t get over the change.  I finally blurted out, “Jim, you’re a man…you’re a grown man.”

He snickered a bit and looked down at his hands.  I went on, “It’s great to see how much you’ve grown: your manner, your confidence, your outlook on life.  Did you ever think as a kid you would be a chaplain’s assistant in the U.S. Army?  Did you know this is what you’d be when you grew up?”

It didn’t take him a minute before he began to speak.  “You know,” he said, “it hit me in boot camp, sprawled out in a ditch during a training maneuver.  As a kid I would have never chosen to do this — this is what men do.  I’m not a kid anymore. ”

The struggles, the trials, the rigors of boot camp grew this boy up into a man.  He remembered the moment he understood he wasn’t a kid anymore.  He had grown.  He was training for the job only a man could do.

When I’m sharing with others about this life in the flesh after salvation — this sanctifying process that begins with justification (salvation) and ends with our glorification (seeing God) — I often say it’s like boot camp.  We are in training.  We must experience the struggles, the trials, and the rigors of boot camp to grow up into the people of God He intends for us to be.

It’s not easy.  It’s not all roses once we come to Christ.  We are in this state of growth and it will not end until He says we’re ready for another life.  As He determines we must persevere in the flesh, walking by the Spirit until we grow up in our salvation. We are in training for life, real life.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  ~James 1:2-4

Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.  ~2Timothy 2:3-4

Once we’ve made it through boot camp, won’t it be great to hear Him say, “Well done! You’ve grown up nicely.”

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22 responses »

  1. This is such an inspiring post, Michelle, thank you! It’s such a great parallel. You’re right, we truly are works in progress, being transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). God bless.

  2. Michelle: This is so true….I find myself staring at Mike alot, just listening to him talk is so amazing to me, the maturity and confidence he has now. I can’t help but think back alot to when he was growing up, we talk about alot of memories. Great analogy and post, thank you for this! Debs

  3. Amen Sis! I also think about how our perception of things is so far from God’s intentions sometimes. Because we’re human and our flesh struggles with the trials and tribulations, we see it as slaying or suffering, but what a pruning process God takes us through! All out of His immense love for us and for our good [For all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose].

    When you talked about Jimmy saying he was no longer a child, I thought of Paul’s statement to the Corinth church about no longer being a child and not eating or doing childish things anymore. We go from being babes in Christ to mature men and women ready to swallow adult, spiritual food and He takes us through that process with so much grace and mercy. Praise God!

    Have a blessed day! XOX

  4. Good Morning, Birgit. Isn’t it wonderful to know He isn’t finished with us yet? We will continue to be changed, getting closer and closer to what He would have us be. Praise Him!!

    Hey, Debs! I’m so happy for you and Mike, to have this time together. I long to see this transformation for my own sons…in His time…we all grow at different rates, huh? He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it. 😉

    Yes, Gchyayles! I’m so thankful He takes us through the process with grace and mercy. 😀

    It is for discipline that we endure…Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?…For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
    ~from Hebrews 12.

  5. I remember basic training/boot camp. . .it was really tough. Then I went to Airborne School. . .it was tougher. . .then I went to SF training and wondered what in the WORLD I was doing!

    I remember visiting our home in San Antonio Texas and Mom telling me there was something really different about me and similar remarks as yours to your son. . .

    I didn’t see all my Mom saw but it was HUGE to her. . .

  6. The Most Glorious Storm!! Definitely. It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus…thanks, Nor.

    It’s time for your hibernation to be over! 😉

    Hey, Dan. I wondered what your response would be to this post. I thought it might strike home. So, from a spiritual application, would you say we continue to go through more and more training and it just gets harder and harder? Sometimes it feels that way.

  7. Me too.

    I was thinking yesterday about Jesus’ words to Peter that Satan had demanded permission (sounds like he pitched a little hissy-fit before the Father, much like he did with Job) to sift him as wheat. But that Jesus had prayed for Peter and when he had returned that he was to teach others.

    I have to keep my mind on the reason for the challenges, to grow us up and to bring Him glory in the trial. But also, to teach others how to persevere. Sometimes it’s hard to get to the “moral of the story” – the lesson that can be taught.

  8. Great Post Sis 🙂

    Glad you got to see your ‘Man’ back safe and sound and changed/grown up!

    That quote about the military service got me though…

    who is it who recruits earthly soldiers? is it not different to Him who recruits Soldiers of Christ. Is a True Soldier of Christ to not get ‘entangled’ in matters of everyday life such as King and country and – God Forbid – politics???

    i trust no leaders of any country’s militia – certainly not my ‘own’.

    i will change my mind the day i see THEM (Politicians who ‘choose’ who we go to war with) at the front line leading their own son’s and daughters into the battle they ‘believe’ so strongly in.

    i am NOT holding my breath that’s ever going happen anytime ‘soon’…funny that.

    One day – the entire world might just wake up to the con they keep us all enthralled with?

    <B

  9. Michelle, When I returned to boot camp back in 1986, I didn’t think I had changed a bit…. until I met my childhood sweetheart that I was about to marry….

    I had change
    We had grown apart

    But, you know what? I’m glad.. For the first time of my life I did something so incredibly important for me.

    It’s like the analogy you so put here, we should have our hearts like these young recruits.

    Love ya girl!!!

    awesome post!!!

  10. Glad to see you here, Love. The soldier who came back from boot camp was a family friend…my eldest’s best friend. It was quite a transformation.

    “who is it who recruits earthly soldiers? is it not different to Him who recruits Soldiers of Christ. Is a True Soldier of Christ to not get ‘entangled’ in matters of everyday life such as King and country and – God Forbid – politics???”

    Not really sure what your point is here. Paul was speaking to Timothy about serving faithfully despite hardship – to not give up when it gets tough. Here’s the context:

    So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well. Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules. The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this.

    I don’t know if that helps any to clarify the teaching. I’m not sure we can take this to be a prescription for enlisting in the military or not as a Christian. If we can then it seems to be fine in Paul’s mind to be in military service, he certainly did not speak against it. I’m not a pacifist — I do believe we can and should protect our families.

    I’m probably totally misreading your comment, forgive me if I took this down a route you did not intend. I’m way off the point of the post, either way. 😉

  11. Good morning, Heidi! I had no idea you were in the service, what branch? How long were you enlisted? You must be one tough mamma — I could NOT make it through the rigors of literal boot camp.

    The Lord seems to think I can on a spiritual level, but I think sometimes He gives me too much to handle…I know that’s not biblical, but…it’s honest.

  12. “i trust no leaders of any country’s militia – certainly not my ‘own’” ??? and the point is, please?

    I lke Paul’s use of the profession of ‘soldiering’ in his teachings. Soldiers, especially the ‘ground pounders’ who fight the battle, are totally mission focused. And so is the athelete. Perhaps my almost 30 years as a soldier drives some of my intense focus on the Gospel as preached by Paul as the focus of our ‘mission’ in the ‘great commission’. Anyone who has been trained to be intensely mission focused is not as easily distracted by the rest of the ‘world’s’ affairs. A bveliever who is intensely focused on the Gospel of 1 Cor 15:1-5 more readily spots the ‘counterfeits’ prevalent in American evangelicalism these days and is not as prone to be distracted by them.

    In case you are wondering what I meant there, it has a lot to do with ‘me-centered’ rather than God-centric Christianity.

  13. Hello, Becca, glad to see your wandering took you all the way to Texas! You are welcome down here anytime.

    Won’t that be great to hear?! I’m looking forward to that day. 😉

    I like this, Dan…Anyone who has been trained to be intensely mission focused is not as easily distracted by the rest of the ‘world’s’ affairs…in light of the Christian walk can we ever be too heavenly minded? I don’t think so. The more my mind is stayed on Christ, is trained in holiness, the more I remain focused on the mission of the gospel. Thanks.

  14. Hi, Brandi. It’s nice to see you here. Proud momma…yes, I am. Jim is a friend of the family, but he spent so much time in our home, I kind of claim him as my own.

    You’re welcome here anytime — love your avatar! 😀

  15. …in light of the Christian walk can we ever be too heavenly minded?

    Great question! My answer would be NOPE!!!!!!

  16. oh my gosh it’s so totally like bootcamp!
    but i think we have to remember that we will need to eventually leave boot camp behind for the real battles. and the real battles will come!

  17. Great post Michelle,
    it’s kind of funny but all the talk here about boot camp and battles and the parallel being drawn made me think of several Pillar songs. They are a great christian rock group and they have a lot of songs that treat our spiritual walk as a lifelong battle (and ‘game’ ) and I’ve always found that view fascinating because of a scripture (?) that talks about the powers and principalities of this world that are constantly fighting. I don’t particularly want to join the military service even though I have great respect for anyone who does, it’s just not for me, but I like the fact I can still consider myself a soldier in Christ.
    Fight on!
    G

  18. Well, look who’s back! Glad to see you, Goth!

    Yeah, I’m not much of a soldier-type. A bit too small, kind of puny, not real tough, and sickly…wouldn’t really make it in the military. But I’m so thankful for those who do.

    I will stand firm in the spiritual realm though…with the armour on and asking for His help. Check out Ephesians, you’ll probably like what it has to say.

    It’s good to see you here again, hope you’re all settled. 😉

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