When I was fresh out of high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps. When the Marines visited my high school on career day, I remember being captivated by their uniforms, fitness level, and discipline. I said to myself, “Man, I want to be a Marine. These guys have it together.” My biological father was a former Marine during the Vietnam era. So to me, this would be a natural fit, like continuing a family tradition. However, I found that the pathway to becoming a marine was more than just being able to wear their stunning uniform. I did not consider the mental and physical anguish I had to endure once I arrived at the MCRD San Diego training center. For three months, my world was turned inside out. All that was familiar to me and of no use to the Corps was ripped away while rebuilding me to be a mean & lean fighting machine. I share this because when many of us that receive revelation from God to do great things in His name do not consider what will cost us. Sure, we know that following Christ won’t always be a bed of roses. Still, there is this bit of wishful thinking for everything to work out problem-free. Well, at least I will admit it, so I will put myself on blast.
In my book, “I Choose to Win,” I high light the lives of Joseph and King David. These two biblical figures spent the prime years of their lives what appeared to be diametrically opposed to what they were called to do and be. Joseph was gifted with the prophetic and the ability to interpret dreams. He decides to share a vision with his family about how God would lift him up. Shortly after, his brothers sell him into slavery. He spends the next 13 years as a slave and prisoner before becoming second in command to the Pharaoh. Likewise, the prophet Samuel anoints David to be the next King of Israel, and he spends the next decade or so running for his life before donning the crown.
God used this in-between time to fine-tuned Joseph and David to be His lean and clean worship machines. I am not advocating that the only way to be fit for purpose is through life adversities. Still, I consider the relationship between a coach and the athlete. To take that athlete or team to the next level, a good coach must switch up the training regimen. The new training routine will cause the athlete to develop muscles and agility they do not often use. This means that there is going to be some pain and temporary setbacks. If the athlete decides they don’t want to put up with the training and quit, they will never experience the growth to compete at the next level. And so it is with God’s people. To be fit for greater things, God will change your regime to get the best out of you. We do have a choice. We can quit, and God will still love us but consider the alternative.
When the spies returned from surveying the land God had promised the children of Israel, they all agreed that it was everything God said it was. However, ten of the spies gave a bad report and frightened the people, and caused unrest in the camp (See Numbers 13). Now, I believe God knew about the people in that land. That is why He tried to prepare them for this moment by taking them the long way to teach them a few things before facing conflict (see Exodus 13:17-18). From the time Israel left Egypt to this point, they complained about God’s delivery methods and training. Sounds familiar? In the end, their rebellion cost 40 years in the wilderness. Wow!
I remember when I used to fight God’s regimen for my life so much that I caused my family to suffer for my lack of faith. Don’t get me wrong; I have not arrived. I have to fight daily to keep myself under God’s training for my life. However, sometimes I drop the ball, and that’s ok. We are all working out our salvation. The important thing is that we do not throw in the towel and give up. Some days will be better than others, and that is how growth works. Look, folks, why fight God’s plan for your life? Yes, God knows you will not enjoy every rep, and He is big enough to handle our doubts and fear. Look at the natural things in life. If we want to earn that degree, lose that extra pound, gain muscle, or gain control over our finances, we must all change our regimen to go to the next level. Why would we think it would be any different for the spiritual things? Consider what Paul says:
“Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”
2 Timothy 2:5 HCSB
In conclusion, DON’T DESPISE THE PROCESS, as one of my brothers would say. Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.