I recently attended a conference where a former Special Forces soldier shared the arduous process candidates must endure in order to graduate. Although difficult to imagine how they even survive some of the challenges, they are strategically designed to accomplish specific purposes. The larger objectives being to equip the soldiers on how to best accomplish their mission, defeat their enemy, and if captured, overcome the various tortures they would most likely receive.
As I listened, I couldn’t help but reflect on how God also allows us to face various trials for the purposes of maturing our faith, overcoming our enemy and receiving victory in our own lives (James 1:4). Therefore, three mindsets can help us stay on course during our most difficult days of trial:
Training: Our challenges often serve as our most valuable training grounds. Just like the soldiers must learn to endure hardships, struggles and difficulties that may appear extreme, they all work together to help the soldier enhance their battle and survival tactics. Thus, as believers, we need not get discouraged by our trials (Psalm 144:1). For when we are in God’s hands, these times are purposeful in our development to be more like Christ.
Tackles: These are the pains and hard-hits we take in life. Just like the soldiers in training camp can expect hits, so should we. We need not be surprised by hardship. Rather, we should anticipate them so that when the tough times come we are in a place of preparation and protection – never taken off-guard, but always standing ready (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Transformation: It is nearly impossible to successfully complete Special Forces training without a physical and mental transformation taking place. Likewise, when we accept Jesus as our Savior and surrender to Him as our Lord, we are completely transformed by being born again with a new source of power and strength. Thus, we are equipped to face our trials with a new confidence, trusting that they are purposeful and serve as His precious training grounds in making us more like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Application: “Choosing To Not ‘Ring’ Out” – Matthew 7:13
The individuals participating in these elite trainings can choose to quit at any time. All they need to do is ring a bell and with no questions asked and with no condemnation, they are free to walk away. This is much like our walk with Christ. For we can always ring the bell and choose to walk away from the opportunities He sends our way, or we can maintain our faith in God’s promises and the eternal rewards that lie ahead as we confidently rely on Christ to see us through every step of the way in becoming His special forces in the world.