“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 KJV
I am not sure how many of you have ever been through military basic training, and I certainly know that each branch conducts training in a somewhat different way. However, each branch has at least one thing in common: taking random people and making them function as a team.
I had the opportunity to do my basic training for the Army at Fort Jackson, SC. Fort Jackson was called “Relaxin’ Jackson” for some demented reason. I am not sure if I was just not bright enough to figure it out, but I never found out why it was called that. Each and every time I turned around we were being run to and fro or rolling around in the sand and dirt or even doing push-ups until our arms felt like well-boiled noodles. The first two weeks were the worst. Those two weeks were called “red phase.” Red phase was the period of time that the Drill Sergeants attempted to make your life the most miserable. Those two weeks contained more screaming and shouting than the other seven weeks combined I think.
The goal was—I learned later—to take a group of mismatched people from around the country and transform them into a unit of men and women who could think and act as one; to take 52 individuals and teach them how to think as one well-oiled machine that is capable of completing any mission that may be thrown at them.
The physical component was only part of it. Yes, they wanted to take our weak bodies and build them up and make them strong enough to endure the rigors of combat, but the mind was where the real battle was taking place. Until the Drill Sergeants got all of our brains on the same page we would always be working against each other. Over a period of weeks it all began to take shape.
There is something about common suffering that causes people to bond in a special way. When you face the same trials as other people and come out victorious on the other end then you share an experience that only those who went through the fire with you understand. Did we all always get along? No, of course not, but we were able to set aside differences when it counted and we could pull together as a team and as a unit to accomplish the mission.
Finally at the end of the ten weeks when you stand on the parade field there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment that is born out of the training experience. And there is a bond with those men and women in your unit that the Army calls “unit cohesion”. It is the ability to work together to accomplish the mission no matter what the circumstances and that is what makes any fighting force successful in their endeavors.
So how does that apply to us? We in the church come from varied backgrounds and experiences. We each have a unique testimony as to how Christ has lead us to the point where we find ourselves today, and we have to find a way to develop “unit cohesion” if you will within the church.
Of course I am not suggesting that we make church members drop and do push-ups when they cannot get along, but we do have to learn how to move beyond our own opinions and embrace rock-solid principles from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. This is not always easy for churches to accomplish this, but accomplish it we must.
Friends I am convinced that we are in a spiritual battle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12). We may wrestle with flesh and blood, but our true battle is against “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Some of us may not want to learn how to work with others and we may think it best to just run away, but the Bible makes it clear that we must not forsake coming together. It is that much more important as the day of Christ’s return draws nearer and still nearer.
Maybe you have allowed Satan to drive a wedge between you and another member of the “unit” so to speak. Maybe you have been tempted to withdraw instead of standing firm in the Lord and trying to find a way to work with people whom you may find difficult or challenging.
Friends, time is too short for us to be swallowed up in petty differences. Time is too short for us to not be pulling together to win souls for the Lord Jesus. Time is too short for us to be absorbed in pity parties and self-consuming thoughts. Time is short, but Christ is still available if we will just call upon Him to heal the wounds of the past. It is my desire that you each will be willing to take a close look at your lives and ask the Lord how you can be a better member of the church team.
The Holy Spirit has been given, and we should pray that our hearts would be emptied of the selfish desires to which we often cling. It is only then that we can be filled with the Spirit of the living God, and it is only then that we will function as a dedicated unit of Christian men, women, and children that is truly anticipating the coming of our Lord.
Dear Father God,
Please speak to our minds—and give us the courage to give ourselves totally unto You. We need You to come into our lives in a deeper and more meaningful way that we may be able to focus on the tasks that You have for us as Your bride who eagerly awaits Your return. It is in the mighty name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.