Lessons from a Spiritual Boot Camp

Let me begin by saying, although I’ve never felt called to be in the military, I’m extremely grateful for the men and women who have taken on that responsibility for us all. One thing I know for sure is, I’d be a sad candidate for boot camp! But then again, I’ve learned a few things in the spirit that may have prepared me more than I think.

Natural & Spiritual Comparisons

When you look at the purpose of Military Boot Camp, it’s not hard to see the parallel with that of the spirit. For example, most aspects of basic training are psychological. The reasoning is that if a recruit cannot be relied upon to obey orders and follow instructions in routine matters it is unlikely that he or she will be reliable in a combat situation where there may be a strong urge to either disobey orders or flee.

This is exactly the same for Christians in a spiritual sense.

The average length of military boot camp is 3 months. Some Christians could wish our training only took 3 months! Remember the children of Israel in the wilderness? Their 11-day trip took 40 years! And sadly, many died in that boot camp…

The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:9-11, “Resist [Satan] steadfast in the faith knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The first thing we need to know is: No one’s exempt! Secondly, we understand the goal is to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle (but suffer?) And lastly, the other goal is always for God to receive all the glory.

So let’s look at the word suffer.  There’s no sugar coating here… it literally means to endure pain.

But why would God want us to “endure pain”? It’s sad that a lot of preachers have misunderstood God’s meaning here and led people astray with false doctrine concerning scriptures like this one. They’ve actually insinuated that God Himself will put you through pain (such as disease, tragedy, etc.) for the purpose of bringing Him glory.

But how does tragedy give God glory? —It doesn’t!

Jesus was the first one to bring attention to the devil. Satan is God’s enemy and Jesus wanted people to understand that. And once a Christian matures, he or she eventually learns that to suffer means: learn your adversary.

“Resist [Satan—your adversary] steadfast in the faith knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have [LEARNED YOUR ADVERSARY] a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

In doing a little studying on Military Boot Camps, I found some tips given to new recruits to help ensure they pass. Interestingly, these fit perfectly in a spiritual sense as well.

  1. Shut Up and Listen

Satan WILL assault you, your integrity, and your family. It’s a trap! The question is, how much can you take mentally?

  1. You Don’t Make the Rules

The rules have already been made for you –it’s your Bible. Every word and instruction in it is for your advantage.

  1. Pick Me

The Bible says, “Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). If God calls on you for an assignment, it’s a test first. Satan’s goal is pride.

  1. Prioritize

You will not always want to pray, read your Bible, or witness to your friends and family, but God has set certain things in order… first.

  1. Stay Focused

The battle is won and lost in your thoughts. DO NOT ENTERTAIN THOUGHTS OF QUITTING or of going back –there’s no going back now!

  1. Help Your Buddy

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking WHOM he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil doesn’t try to devour the team—he’d be outnumbered. He only seeks to devour those who are straying away—so be aware.

  1. Break the Rules at Your Own Risk

The Bible isn’t much different—there are really very few “rules.” But God does expect you to follow them for a reason.

  1. Do Not Question the Logic Behind What You’re Doing

God said, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Don’t question the logic.