• The Good Life

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THE GOOD LIFE

By Barry Cameron
October 09, 2015

In 2 Timothy 2:3-4, Paul encouraged Timothy, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”1

Most Christians don’t view themselves as soldiers of Christ Jesus; nor do they want to join anyone in suffering. We’ve signed up for THE GOOD LIFE! Part of the problem lies at the training we receive. Much of contemporary preaching focuses on all the cool things God can do for us and very little is said about what we should be doing for Him.

In his new book, FIRST, FAST, FEARLESS, Brian “Iron Ed” Hiner talks about Navy SEALs. “SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land. As the U.S. Navy’s Special Operations Force, SEALs have evolved into one of the leading Special Operations Forces in the world. There are about 2,700 SEALs on active duty, around 1,200 of whom are engaged in frontline duty. Navy SEALs are trained to operate in all environments — the sea, air and land, for which we are named. We are trained to operate in climate extremes, including Arctic cold, scorching desert, and jungle environments.”2

The Navy SEAL program actually began back in 1961. During the same speech where President John F. Kennedy shared his dream of putting a man on the moon, he “announced his intention to strengthen U.S. Special Forces and unconventional warfare capabilities. He created the first two SEAL Teams, which formally came to be in January 1962.”2

Have you ever asked yourself, “What would it take to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus?” Here’s what it takes to be a Navy SEAL: “It takes a year to be qualified as a SEAL, and 2 1/2 years to be fully trained and ready for the first deployment. SEAL training is extremely rigorous, among the toughest training regimens in the world. At times, the dropout rate exceeds 90 percent, but on average, it is 75 percent.”2

I do want to remind us that the call to follow Jesus isn’t a walk in the park — especially an amusement park.

In other words, at times 90 percent of those who sign up drop out. And the majority of the time, 3/4th’s of those who sign up drop out. Wow!

“In the middle of the first phase comes Hellweek, during which, from Sunday to Friday late afternoon, the students never stop active training. They are wet 24/7, their bodies are chafed all over from the sand, their calves are swollen as big as their thighs, and the tops of their scalps have a baseball-sized open sore from carrying a 200-pound rubber boat on their heads. If they are lucky, they will get a total of four hours of sleep a night for the duration of the week, and all of it while they are wet and sandy on the beach.”2

Hiner says, “After Hellweek, it is almost unheard of for a student to quit.”2

I’m not suggesting we have to put everyone through Hellweek or you have to become a Navy SEAL to be a Christian. I do want to remind us that the call to follow Jesus isn’t a walk in the park — especially an amusement park. As a matter of fact, once you become a Christian, you’re going to face a number of Hellweeks and Helldays. Some Christians would even attest to having experienced some Hellyears!

The Bible says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). The Bible also says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Titus 2:11-13 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In 2 Timothy 2:3-4, Paul encouraged Timothy, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”1

When we purposefully and passionately train ourselves to be “good soldiers of Christ Jesus,” we won’t quit when Hellweek, Hellday or Hellyear comes.

At the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

That’s THE GOOD LIFE!

© 2015. Barry L. Cameron

1 The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1984. Print.
2 Hiner, Brian. "A Special Kind of Warrior." First, Fast, Fearless: How to Lead like a Navy SEAL. N.p.: McGraw-Hill Education, 2016. 11, 13, 17, 22, 23. Print.

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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