I can’t speak for other cities but certainly for Auckland I can definitely feel that summer has passed and autumn has come. It wasn’t necessarily the lower temperature that made me conscious of this, but the smell of the cold morning breeze.
For some weird reason the smell of the cold morning breeze always reminds me of my time in the Army, lining up in early mornings in front of the barracks in my exercise gear standing still and quiet, waiting for the PTIs (physical training instructors) to make my life miserable once again.
I remember nervously taking in deep breathes through my nose and I vividly remember the scent of the cold morning breeze, and somehow whenever I smell the scent again, it brings me back my memories in the Army.
This got me meditating this week about living our life as a soldier of Jesus Christ, especially in terms of self-discipline.
Discipline of battle readiness
Being combat ready at all times is essential for all soldiers, especially when you are out on a mission. One part of being combat ready is routinely cleaning and managing your weapons. When you are out on a mission, your rifle can get dirty from all the mud, rain and carbon from the gunpowder. Having a dirty rifle may not seem like much of a deal but you certainly wouldn’t say that when you get a weapon failure in the middle of a combat due to poor weapon maintenance (life and death situation!).
Out on the field (not in base) every soldier is expected to go through a morning routine which includes weapon maintenance and cleaning. Afterwards, there is a random inspection throughout the platoon and if you get caught with a dirty rifle, you are in for a one heap of trouble! Such strict discipline is rightfully enforced throughout the Army because a weapon failure can not only lead to the individual soldier’s death, but to death of other comrades and potentially, even a mission failure.
“Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians Chapter 6, verse 11). If you don’t discipline yourself to arm yourself and put on the full armour of God everyday or if you slack off in your spiritual weapon/armour maintenance, don’t be surprised if you too get a weapon failure in midst of Satan’s spiritual attack. Slacking off your time in the word of God or prayer (communion with God) will lead to spiritual weakness, as unless we abide in him, we can bear no fruit (John Chapter 15, verse 5). Be diligent!
Discipline of focus
When you spend days out on the field on a military exercise, you tire out fast, especially if you are forced to go on with minimal sleep. Gradually you will notice the undisciplined soldiers losing focus as they fatigue, leading to poor performance of their duties. I remember a particular exercise in which our whole team was so tired that we only bothered to go through the motions of patrolling, then all of a sudden boom! We walked right into an enemy ambush.
Patrolling with mannerism and going through just the motions may cause self-deception in thinking you are taking the necessary steps of precautions, but in reality, you are only a sitting duck for the enemy that prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1Peter Chapter 5, verse 8).
Whether it be bible reading, prayers or a worship service; we can often find ourselves engaging in such activities in a disengaged manner. We fool ourselves in thinking that we have spent time with God but afterwards we know it to be false as we feel empty of the joy that comes from communing with him. It is therefore necessary to train ourselves in the discipline of focus, because we may feel like we are doing all we can to fight our spiritual battle but in actuality we may just be aimlessly doing it just to tick the boxes.
Discipline of forfeiting trivial enjoyments
As a soldier out on a covert operation, you simply cannot enjoy some of the things that you would enjoy as a civilian back home. You won’t be able to talk freely and aloud with your buddies whilst you are covertly moving about, you won’t be able to use torch lights when the sun goes down, you won’t be able to have your food in time (just quick cold foods to shove down your throat), and certainly you won’t be able to casually bring out your television set and watch it while you are on your lookout post.
A disciplined soldier would not view these things as entitlements but as temporal things, willingly forfeiting them for the sake of accomplishing his mission.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2Corinthians Chapter 4, verse 17,18).
Stop and think for a moment, perhaps you are living like a ridiculous soldier that is covertly manoeuvring with a loud music speaker on your back simply because you are too bored during your mission. Discipline yourself as you ought to, lest you be gulfed up by the enemy in your spiritual mission.
Let us remind ourselves…
Only after finishing up this article I realized that ANZAC day was nearing. On ANZAC day we remember the brave soldiers who gave their lives to safeguard our peace and freedom.
We should also endeavour to remember our Lord Jesus Christ, who died in our place so that we can enjoy the peace and freedom that comes from the reconciliation with God the father. “Lest we forget…”
Richard Kwon is from Auckland, a regular lay person who just loves the Lord.