“…let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature…”
James 1:4 NRSV
When men and women make the choice to enter the United States military they must first go to a place known as boot camp. This is a military training camp with strict discipline. There are many different kinds of boot camp among which are fitness boot camp, prison boot camp, computer boot camp and, of course, military boot camp.
The boot camp teaches great discipline and obedience. There is nothing easy about it. Some people complete it and some do not. It is altogether different than what was expected or even what one has experienced previously. But, at the completion the person has become new and ready to meet the demands of life.
What about a spiritual boot camp? The disciples were in one that lasted 3 years. At the end they were expected to carry on the work of the Lord. They all completed the course, save one. Judas Iscariot could not meet the challenge of standing up against the Enemy—he joined him. The remaining 11 were equipped with the armor of God. Nothing could separate them from the work of the Holy Spirit who had breathed life into them. Now they stood as a mighty army against the foe.
Boot camp is hard, but at the end you will feel the strength of the Lord. As you meet the trials and tribulations you will count it all joy (James 1:2) because you know that God is working on your behalf. Through each trial, hardship, and disaster, God is there with you. At the end you will be stronger and the strength of your character will make you mature and complete lacking in nothing.
So, hang in there. It may be a tough go for a while, but the sun will shine again in your life. Graduation day is coming. You will put on the whole armor of God. In your hand will be the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18) Never cease your prayers. You are now a part of God’s army. The Holy Spirit has breathed new life into your once dead soul. Count it all joy, my friends. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Let joy reign when you are surrounded by many troubles and tests. “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” (Philippians 4:6) You are not alone.
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me that nothing can separate me from your love. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN
Romans 5:4 I Corinthians 15:33 Hebrews 1:3 Ephesians 6:11