Monday, April 6, 2015

Spiritual Discipline/Boot Camp/Boot Straps

Part of the missionary training we had for living overseas in a remote location was called, Boot Camp.   Our mission no longer uses that term since it offends or gives the wrong impression.

  Our day started with classes on practical life dealing with relationship with family, friends, saved, and unsaved.  Culture classes consisted of studying a group of American Indians  to learn the process of learning how others view the world. These classes required tons of reading which meant we had discipline ourselves to meet the requirements.
Jungle camp house built during Boot Camp,  made by small poles cut from the woods,
draped in plastics,  homemade mud oven for cooking.   Home made table and benches,
for eating the food we canned to last 6 weeks. 

Jungle house in the jungle.  Amazing how the training paid off.  

Afternoons were taken up with work detail  to help maintain  the training center.  In doing that we learned to work along side  someone with a different back ground and views on work among other issues.  

 Everyone looked forward to volleyball after supper.  Nothing like playing sports of any kind to bring out a lack of spiritual discipline. Even the most talented player could get in the flesh.  Pride knows no boundaries and all of us fell into it at one time or another.  It was a great time to put into  practice the spiritual disciplines we had been learning

 During that time we moved out in the woods for six weeks,  lived in tents while we built a jungle camp house, cook on a mud oven, learn to live without electricity, running water and indoor bathrooms.  The missions goal was to prepare the best they could for some rugged living.  Be flexible was the theme that went along with everything we learned.  

At times the training seemed hard and other times you had to wonder if there was any value in this.  Then you land on the shores of a country like Papua New Guinea where everyday you have the unexpecting happening.  Knowing how to order our day became an invaluable tool that kept us from completely falling apart when trials came our way.  

Some spiritual discipline come a little easier, because it involves our choices, like praying, reading our bible, giving, all doing disciplines. I am all for all the things I named and more but there is also a danger in these kinds of disciplines.  The Pharisee were very discipline in, memorizing scriptures, faithfully went to the synagogue, taught others, gave money, obeyed biblical rules, prayed, became leaders and they looked the part too.  Their faith was in their faithfulness not in God's.  

Then there is the discipline that comes with a trial,  the kind of spiritual discipline you have no choice in, James described it as trials of many kinds. They come in all shapes and sizes and knock us off balance in our walking faith.   If we could we would forgo that kind of discipline because  it's out of our hands.  Yet it is those trials that shows where are our faith is.  It brings out of us how much we love control, how much we love the "doing of discipline" better then a faith walk.  That old saying, "pull ourselves up by our boot straps" works well until the boot straps break under the load of trials.  

My boot straps have broke several times and no amount of doing the normal things a Christian should do, like read my Bible, go to church, etc, fixed them.  Only God in His perfect timing along with His perfects methods can fix those straps. Trust me I don't look forward to more of those broken boot straps but looking at the past ones I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I grew more from that kind of discipline then the ones I had a choice in.  

Great quote from Mary Demuth...Instead of obeying in the moment and experiencing powerful growth, we wander around in circles of chasing ease, trusting in ourselves to solve our problems living  a Godless life.  
      How's your boot straps?

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