“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be…” 1 Peter 5:10 Amp.
I’ve come across this verse before, always glossing over it. After all, it’s saying we’re in for some suffering before God makes us into what we’re ultimately going to be. That’s not something I want to think about. But recently I asked God, “Why do we have to suffer a while?” I immediately heard in my spirit, “Basic training is not pleasant.” Then a succession of thoughts began to flow.
When one enters the military, they are not immediately deployed for duty. Before a soldier can be a useful part in the lean, mean, fighting machine of an army, a total transformation needs to take place.
Getting in Shape
Just as a soldier in an army of this world goes through rigorous physical and mental training, so does a Christian soldier in the army of God. The following components are crucial in the transformation process:
Diet – The governments of this world make sure their soldiers are fed a diet to build them up, giving their bodies the nourishment needed to make them strong. So it is with a soldier in God’s army. As Christians, we’re to feed on the Word of God. Proverbs 4:20 says, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” Rom. 12:2, says the Christian soldier is to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. Because the battlefield for the Christian is in the spiritual realm, once the Word of God has transformed their minds, that same Word will be their offense and defense. “The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).
Exercise – Both the mind and body need exercise to maintain physical fitness and overall health. Exercise is defined as any movement that works your body at a greater intensity than your normal level of activity. To build muscle, force must be exerted against an opposing force. A soldier in the military will be put through every training exercise you can imagine: hand-to-hand combat, running, swimming, weapons training, along with making sure you have the proper battle gear on at all times.
A soldier in training for the army of God is trained in much the same way. Paul talked about the training process and likened it to training for a race. “Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain….Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training…. I keep under my body and bring it into subjection…” (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Proper battle gear is also emphasized for the Christian soldier. “…Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…” (Ephesians 6:11-17).
Follow Your Commander – Just as a soldier in this world’s army must be conditioned to listen for, and follow, the orders of his commanding officer, so must a soldier of God. “Endure hardship like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer” (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Jesus told his followers that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things (John 14:26), and that the Holy Spirit would tell them what is yet to come (John 16:13). As soldier’s in God’s army, we must listen for, and follow, the instructions of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Will Complete & Make You What You Ought To Be
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be…”
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6). Every begotten child of God will go through God’s boot camp. His basic training program is individually designed to prepare soldiers for service in the Army of God. Each will live on a special diet of His Word; they will be exercised through various drills and trials; taught to stay in proper battle gear; and most importantly, to always listen for and obey the voice of their Commander.
Yes, basic training may not be pleasant. But without it, the soldier wouldn’t be fit for service. The exciting part is, once the soldier has completed boot camp, he’s ready for deployment!
To be continued….