Christian Bootcamp -
Optional or Required?
Christian bootcamp, from what I've seen on the internet, usually refers to a specialized program for troubled teens. However, I believe that is far from a Biblical outlook.
Paul had something to say to Timothy that makes me believe that we are all in God's basic training if we've accepted Christ as Savior. He said: Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. II Tim. 2:3,4
From this passage, and others similar to it, I've come to accept that God's plan isn't for us to be comfortable here. That's what heaven is for. We are here as His soldiers, to accomplish His will.
To better understand what this means, let's consider what boot camp is all about...
But, please understand, I can't speak from personal experience, I've never served in the armed forces, yet I have heard plenty of talk about basic training, and I've seen young men right after they got out of basic training.
If we think a few minutes on what boot camp is all about, it will help us understand what our lives here should be about, from God's perspective.
Christian Bootcamp --
Understanding Basic Training
Let's begin by thinking about boot camp, or basic training in the regular armed forces of our country. It is...
- the first step in becoming a soldier
- very demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally
- designed to instill discipline
- designed to teach instant obedience to superiors
- intended to teach the skills necessary to survive combat
- intended to mold individuals into a fighting team
- necessary for the success and health of the soldiers, the armed forces, and ultimately the country they are protecting.
It is not:
- only for a select few, or for the cream of the crop
- designed for entertainment
- designed for immediate comfort
- able to allow individual expression at the expense of the group
- willing to allow disobedience to superiors
- designed for long term living, or
- the real war.
Christian Bootcamp -
Preparing for Eternity
In the same way that soldiers in basic training are preparing for their time in the army, a Christian's life here is preparation for eternity.
Christ told his disciples before his death "In this world you will have trouble..."
Paul told Timothy to "endure hardness" as we've mentioned before.
Peter told his readers not to be surprised at "the painful trial" they were suffering.
And throughout the whole New Testament, the same idea is given repeatedly in many different ways.
Trials in this world, in some way we can't understand, are preparing us for eternity. Just as basic training is preparation for army life.
Christian bootcamp isn't something a few elite Christians go to, so they can be involved in special ministry. Rather it is God's design for every one of us who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we accept Him as Savior, we accept Him as Lord. He is our superior. He is the one giving the orders. We are to be the ones obeying them.
God's purpose is not that we be "happy, comfortable, and lazy," but that we have His peace, put on the whole armor of God, and stand against Devil's deceptions.
We don't have the right to make the decisions apart from His leading, but we do have the responsibility to learn His purpose for our lives, and give a hundred percent to obey His will.
Christian Bootcamp -
Read the Orders
So how do we do these things?
Well, it involves much more than praying a prayer to accept Christ as Savior. God has given us His book of orders. It is called the Bible.
I believe our whole lives here on earth are His basic training, or Christian bootcamp. I could be wrong, but if I am, what do these verses I've shared and others like them mean?
If we aren't in basic training, we still must realize we're in His army. If we want to graduate with honors we must know what God's orders for us are, and be sure we obey them.
It is impossible to accomplish that in an hour on Sunday morning, or even in three or four hours a week during organized church services. But that doesn't make it impossible..
Joshua 1:8 gives us God's success formula. It says: "Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings." (the Bible) "Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything."
I've rarely met anyone who didn't want to be successful, but I've met many who really don't seem to know what God has said about success, or simply aren't willing to obey His orders. Yet if we know Christ as Savior, I have no doubt that God will hold us accountable to obey His orders.
I believe for many Christians most of life's difficulties are caused because we have different expectations than what we should have according to God's Word. If we believe that knowing the Lord will make us healthy, wealthy, and wise, we'll be very disillusioned when our lives are full of trouble and difficulties.
However, if we understand that our lives here are Christian Bootcamp or basic training, then we can cooperate with the Lord in becoming like Christ. According to Romans 8:28 and 29, that is what he is using all the circumstances of our lives to accomplish. Let's make up our minds that we are going to work with Him and submit to Him as he molds us to His will.
Some day soon, basic training will end, and we'll begin eternal life...
At the beginning of eternity we'll have our graduation from basic training, in the Bible known as the Judgment Seat of Christ. "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." II Cor. 5:10
At that time, we will either here Christ say "Well done, good and faithful servant" and graduate with honor, or we'll be ashamed before Him, and live with that shame throughout eternity.
I believe the key to being successful in Christian bootcamp is understanding where we are, and learning to "endure hardship" as Paul taught Timothy.
May we learn these lessons today so we can carry out our God given orders.
Return from Christian Bootcamp to Electrifying Mission Trips