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Going Off to an Invisible War

When individuals turn 18 in the United States, you can register to vote and enlist into the military if that is the path you want to choose. Prior to January 27th 1973, young men were forced to serve this country via a draft. Today, nearly 60 countries around the world still have some form of service conscription. As for modern day Christians, instead of heading off to boot camp for training, all you need to find is a quiet before going off to an invisible war.

But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open, Matthew 6:6.

This concept was first introduced by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. The context of this passage was to ensure that prayer was done in a private setting, not as a way to show off in public as some Pharisees were doing. Jesus didn’t just preach to the masses, He lived out biblical disciplines. One of the apostle Paul’s ministry helpers recalls the time Jesus went missing in the middle of the night. As the disciples began to panic, Jesus was merely going off to an invisible war.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed. 36 And Simon [Peter] and those who were with him followed Him pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out], 37 And they found Him and said to Him, Everybody is looking for You. 38 And He said to them, Let us be going on into the neighboring country towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out, Mark 1:35-38.

Jesus went for a walk before sunset, finding a quiet place to begin his day with prayer. While Mark does not provide the length of time spent out in the wilderness, Jesus likely prayed for more than an hour, possibly two. As Jesus arose from this spiritual battle on his knees, He was armed with exactly where to go and what to do. As King Solomon once wrote about, “many are the plan’s in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose prevail,” Proverbs 19:21. This is what it means to go off to an invisible war.

by Jay Mankus

Swift Training

The term swift appears 38 times in the Bible. Swift refers to happening quickly or promptly. There are many circumstances in life that pop up without any warning. When you encounter these situations, there is often little or no time to react. Thus, this requires an immediate response, action that is instantaneous, rapid, and without delay. One of the most famous passages on this topic is Numbers 22:22-35, where the Lord allows Balaam’s donkey to talk or else he would have been killed by an angel of death.

Of the Gadites there went over to David to the stronghold in the wilderness men of might, men trained for war who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were swift as gazelles on the mountains, 1 Chronicles 12:8.

Swift training often began with soldiers, prior to going off to war each spring, 2 Samuel 11:1. According to the passage above, Old Testament boot camps took place in the wilderness, likely in the desert where there was no snow in the winter. The three main criteria for swift training included handling a shield, spear, and being as quick as a gazelle. What set these individuals apart was an intensity which was on display with a glance at their face, possessing the eye of the tiger.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the place of the dead), where you are going. 11 I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all, Ecclesiastes 9:10-11.

Yet, swift training isn’t limited to soldiers. King Solomon personalizes swift training to all members of the nation of Israel. Similar to the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 1:5-6, there is an urgency to fan into flames your spiritual gift and talents. It appears that Paul quotes the passage above in Colossians 3:23, a call to put your heart and soul into your best qualities. When you take King Solomon’s words and apply this toward the church, 1 Corinthians 12:6-7, your unique and special gift should be swiftly applied daily.

by Jay Mankus

Training Days

If you choose to enter the military, individuals must complete boot camp, also known as basic training.  Depending upon which branch of the armed services and career path you select, skills vary as basic combat training is followed by advanced individual training.  For those who survive phase one, soldiers must complete their service time before moving on to college, a professional career or accept another tour of duty.  Without these training days, the military would be unprepared for Murphy Law like scenarios.

And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus, Acts 9:19.

Training days aren’t limited to the military.  Prior to his missionary journeys, Paul spent several days with the disciples.  Steeped in Judaism, this apostle needed to adjust his mindset, poisoned by the false stereotypes he developed about Jesus.  While the details of these training days are absent, I’m assuming Paul participated in a Q & A with those who knew Jesus best.  Once Paul was able to connect the dots in the Old Testament leading to Jesus, he was ready for action.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Most people have endured the school of hard knocks.  This school doesn’t need a recruiter.  Rather, candidates are chosen through a series of trials placed in their lives.  Depending upon how you handle and react to these unfortunate events will determine if you pass or fail.  When the rubber hits the road, how will these training days shape you?  As you experience any trauma, don’t forget to apply God’s Word to help you overcome any painful situations that you face.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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