When soldiers are in combat, they know their lives are at risk. They have been given an identity as protectors of their country’s sovereignty. But the uniform itself, or their identity, might not be enough to win the battle; they must use their training. They must fight for their lives, and consistent military training is the foundation of their survival.
In a similar way, the foundation of our survival is how we embrace our identity. As children of God, we must focus our time and efforts on practices that drive us closer to Him.
Henri Nouwen, a well-known writer and theologian wrote in Life of the Beloved:
If it is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved; if it is true that we not only are children of God, but also have to become children of God; if it is true that we not only are brothers and sisters, but also have to become brothers and sisters . . . if all that is true, how then can we get a grip on this process of becoming? If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming?
Soldiers train day and night to be ready for battle, their daily discipline the foundation of their victory. In the same way, we must train our minds, eyes, and bodies. Praying, reading the Bible, gathering with other Christians, and worshiping the Lord are some practical ways we can train our minds.
Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8-9,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
We must think, imagine, and contemplate the possibilities of doing good, serving, loving, and being pure. Then we must put such things into practice. There may still be times when we feel we’re falling, but our God is faithful; he will not let [us] be tempted beyond what [we] can bear. But when [we] are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that [we] can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Questions for reflection and discussion: What is your daily training? How can you practice “becoming” daily? Be courageous: join a small group, start a Bible reading plan with a partner, commit to volunteer in church, find an accountability partner. Train your mind daily.
This week's devotions were written by Saul Flores. Saul is the Puente del Pueblo High School Program Coordinator. Saul and his wife Abby did missionary work in Mexico for many years before moving to the Chicago area.