Why? Because he served in Vietnam and two of his Marines died trying to save a downed Navy pilot. His goal, the goal of the Marine Drill instructors who ran each class under the direction of a Navy Lieutenant sought to weed out the weak so that only the best made it through. Why? Master Sargent Flager wanted to make sure that if anyone were to die trying to save us after being shot down, we'd be worth it.
Love was the motive that made our training tough. Love for country and love for their brother/sister in arms. I learned more about John 15:13 which says; "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends," here in the Navy than I ever did in any church I've attended in America. Most of the Church in America seems to be focused on provision and comfort rather than preparation for our divine call.
The motto was, the more you sweat and bleed in peace, the less likely you were to die in war. During those first 12 weeks they weeded out 65% of the candidates. Only 15 of us received our commission as officers in the US Navy Reserves.
Yahweh Sabboath - Lord of the Hosts/Armies
When you realize that God's name reveals His character and He is called Yaweh Sabboath (Lord of the Armies) more than 245+ times in scripture then you will realize how important a Biblical, spiritual, military perspective is. I mean think about it, He's called Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our Provider.....ONE TIME in scripture. Look how a revelation of that name has transformed the body of Christ. But God is called Lord of the Armies more than 244 more times that the Lord our Provider.
If you are an author and you are trying to make a point, do you mention it more or less? How is it we miss the blatantly obvious? I submit to you, it's because we're more concerned about "our" comfort than we are about our Father's will.
When we get a revelation of God as Lord of the Armies then 2 Timothy 2:3 and other scriptures will make a whole lot more sense? For example you will see the "grace of God" in a whole new light. Consider the context of 2 Timothy 2.
- It precedes 2 Timothy 3 which reveals the "perilous times that will come"
- Revelation 12 reveals we are in a spiritual war that spilled from heaven to earth and the issue at hand are the souls of men and women and their eternity in heaven or in hell.
- It is the GRACE of GOD that empowers us to "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ."
- This GRACE empowers us to discipline ourselves like one competing in sports. I was an athlete for years and I can tell you..... training is painful. It's about pushing and expanding your limits.
- Jesus call us to embrace our own cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). It's about dying to ourselves.
- Some will die as martyrs for the cause of Christ (Rev. 6:9 & 17:6) and its already underway with more Christians persecuted and dying than in any other time in history.
- These are some of the reasons why we need to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ
Think about this; disciple and discipline. What's the root word of discipline? It'a disciple. A disciple was a disciplined follower of a teacher.
God is love (1 John 4:8 & 16). Hebrews 12:16 says that whom the Lord loves He chastens (corrects, disciplines) and if He chastens you, He treats you as a son. Love disciplines! Love corrects. Love prepares.
It's Time to Get Discipline Back into the Disciple
My friends, its time for the DISCIPLE to get back into discipline and for DISCIPLINE to get back into the disciple that we might endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ in this spiritual war.
What say you?
Scriptures - See Underlined
2 Timothy 2
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him. If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us. If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
Approved and Disapproved Workers
Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
- Ephesians 6:10-12
- Ezekiel 37:1-11
- Joel 2
- Exodus 15:3