My 18-year-old daughter recently enlisted in the Army. She went from waking up whenever she wanted to, scrolling for hours on her iPhone, taking 30 minute showers, and leaving her laundry in a pile the size of Mt. Rushmore, to none of the above. Now he gets woken up long before the sun comes up, doesn’t have a phone or a laptop, takes :30 second showers, and has to have her bed made so tightly that you could bounce a quarter on it!
Currently, her Drill Sergeant is taking her from being a civilian and completely transforming her into a soldier. She has to give up her former life, and allow herself to become a new person. She must be willing to do this of her own accord, or it will be very difficult to survive the next 4 months!
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
She has had to separate from her former self who had an easy life with time to waste, her old relationships, her soft bed, those daily distractions, her comfy clothes, and individual freedoms. Though her life changed the moment she enlisted, this process of becoming a soldier can take several weeks, sometimes months, as she continues to develop and grow within her MOS (job).
For this to work, a Private (soldier in training) has to change their focus from self by mentally dying to self, to becoming a new person who has a new uniform, who listens willingly and obeys immediately, and who responds directly with complete respect.
These soldiers in training quickly learn discipline. attention to details, and organization. This does take some time! But their Drill Sergeants are there to instruct them, to encourage them, and help them face those challenges that often appear so daunting.
All of this training has a purpose: to develop a civilian into a combat-ready soldier, who at a moments’ notice will fulfill whatever their leader asks them to do, and do it to the absolute best of their ability.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
As I sit here and consider how my daughter has been handling this process, (though I don’t have any word from her directly yet), I know it has not been an easy road. She chose to cut off her hair to save time in the shower and to get speedily dressed and ready to “toe the line”. For a young woman to cut off 16″ of of her blonde, thick wavy hair shows how committed she is to this process!
Do you remember when you accepted the Lord as your Savior? At that moment, you became a new person! Jesus took away your former life, your sins of the past, and forgave you. He clothed you with a new garment of righteousness, and your new life as a Jesus follower, albeit a Christian, began. Have you completed your training to be like Jesus? NO! Definitely not. That takes a lifetime of practice, acknowledging your mistakes, and getting back up again with the passion that a developing soldier has of eventually getting it right and getting it done.
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Jesus is allowing you to go through a hard moment. Do you believe He wants you to worry and fear about the outcome, or do you think He wants you to remain faithful, joyful, and completely trusting in His purpose? Fear not!! Go through this moment KNOWING that He is in the midst of it!! Trust Him! Ask God for the confidence to keep moving, the desire to keep trusting, and the fear of a Holy God who asks you to be in this moment. He is like your Drill Sergeant, although He is a kind, forgiving, and gentle one who undoubtedly deserves and requires your utmost respect. He is continually reminding you that He has your best interest at heart, so dig in and fully give your all to Him. It is responding like a soldier would that you will experience the freedom of serving God.
“Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…”
Food for thought: DO NOT forget that as a child of God as well as a soldier of Jesus Christ, you have been provided with the weapons we need to fight and develop into who God wants us to be.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Fun facts: The Army ‘s Basic Training lasts 10 weeks. This is divided into phases: Reception, Red, White and Blue Phases, and culminates in Graduation. The privates begin their day around 0430, with lights out at 2100 hours (9:00pm.) They do more by 9:00am than most people do all day.
Photo by: Drew Wiseman – Karli enlists in the Army