Basic Training

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NLT

I am familiar enough with the military to know that basic training is difficult. In basic training, you learn the basic skills necessary to be successful to enter military service–in a vacuum, I might add. The key things you learn during the process are discipline, endurance, and faith. But the process prepares you for battle, and for more learning.

This is a time of warfare friends. The Gospel being preached now doesn’t prepare us for the attacks of the enemy and his forces. Let’s be clear, we do have an enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."(NASB) This tells us that he is here, in our lives, operating through the people we work with, hang out, sometimes live with, and even fellowship with. We have to seek God with such fervor so that we can be trained properly on how to deal with him. This training enables us to pass the tests and be promoted in rank, which of course, has more training and more tests.

So then, what is basic training for a Christian? First, you must accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. (see John 14:6,7,13) Jesus is the way to the Father, and if you ask anything in His name, He will do it, so that the Father is glorified. Next, feed on pure spiritual milk. (1 Peter 2:2) But allow God to grow you. Next, study the Word, call on God, and seek divine wisdom! (see Jer 33:3, James 1:5) As babies grow and mature to understanding, so must you. Study, says Paul to Timothy, to show yourself approved, rightfully dividing the Word of truth. (paraphrasing 2 Timothy 2:15) After you have studied, you must become trained in what weapons are available for your use–see Ephesians 6:10-18. You can know the Word but not putting it to proper use won’t do you any good! You have to know to protect yourself and others with the Word. You have to know that calling on God in prayer and seeking wisdom for how to deal with the situations that will come is the strategy, something that you learn from studying and becoming well versed in the use of the weapons. These situations come to test you and sometimes to break you.

After basic training, the enemy is sure to come; he knows that God has a purpose for you and so he will come at you more intensely. So using that wisdom and discerning the attacks of the enemy–whether it be through things that happened in the past or unforeseen circumstances that will arise–you can rest in God knowing that He will give you the tools necessary to succeed and He is sure to guide you into deliverance. Like the enlisted soldier, once you pass basic training, you are ready for deployment to gain the specialized skills necessary for walking in your purpose. Don’t make the key mistake of failing to train; because when the heat turns up, you will be put to the test!

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory; 1 Peter 1:6-8

You Can’t Expect Full-Time Blessings Having a Part-Time Faith

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 Peter 1:7 NLT

I am guilty of a part-time faith. I have believed God for things in compartments of my life and I have not trusted Him in other areas. But where did it get me? I was left at the same place, asking God for the same things, again and again.

We are in a season where we must be all or nothing with God. We cannot waste time wavering back and forth. James 1:6 says "But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind." (NLT) Either you are going to believe all the way, or not.

God recently worked on me with this. Growing up, I was raised to pay tithes. It was just something I had to do; when I got some money, I gave God His 10%. In most churches, it is taught as a fire and brimstone principle. If you don’t tithe, you will be cursed. Being a believer in Christ, I could not rest easy with this teaching because I believed that as a believer in Christ I was freed from all curses because He became a curse for me and thus took on my sufferings and punishments. (Gal 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24). I would pay my tithes almost begrudgingly, for fear of repercussions if I did not pay them.

It was the very first day of my detox, my full day of juicing, that God had this issue settled in my heart. I was talking to a friend in the ministry about my concerns. Almost instantaneously, his response was the age old response I have heard my entire Christian life. As he was talking and I found things contrary to his explanation, God spoke to me clear as day: "Marquita, it is an expression of your faith in Me, to trust Me with everything, even your money." Immediately I stopped arguing with him, and kept saying, everything is faith. Faith is everything, I have to trust God with everything. I vowed from that point forward that I would trust God with everything.

Yes, God will continue to bless you, for He rains down blessings on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) But if you want to see God really move in your life…honey! You HAVE to trust God with everything: with your relationships, with your business, with your finances, with your growth, with your family and friends, but with EVERYTHING!!!!

Stop wavering, stop believing in Him part-time…be all or nothing…and watch God work full-time for you! Have faith and believe!!

Then Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. Matthew 21:21 NLT