In a real walk of faith, life is much harder, much more demanding than the requirements of legalism.  But “you don’t eat the elephant all at one time,” as one of my bosses used to say.  In the everyday world, a seemingly monumental task can be broken down into small steps and divided out to numerous people so that you can then accomplish the seemingly impossible in a space of time much smaller than you would expect.  I’ve seen it done so many times in my military career and have even eaten numerous metaphorical elephants myself as a military leader.  The training of a Christian over a lifetime, the walk of sanctification, would seem to be a monumental task.  But you do not walk alone, and it is not all up to you.  Legalism is doing it by yourself, in your own power and living in guilt, frustration, and dissatisfaction.  Faith is doing it God’s way with Him gently guiding you in each step, giving you His words of understanding, putting in you the power of His Holy Spirit so that you can do what you would otherwise be incapable of doing, and living in peace, victory, and serenity. 

You serve a tremendous, wise, and gently loving God who knows it is His responsibility as the Father to train you properly, just as you train your own children over the space of many years, maybe even continuing to provide guidance and wisdom to them well into their adult years.  God takes His responsibility to train you very seriously because He loves you with an infinite love.  And He promises in His word to complete the task of training you (Phil. 1:6).  Moreover, God takes the tremendous demands of living a Christian walk and breaks them down into easily digestible bites that you consume in countless training situations over a lifetime.  Every day, every moment is a training opportunity for you to take on just a little bit more of the Christian character.  But bit by bit, you do eat that elephant over a lifetime, becoming a person that you will not recognize when you reach an advanced point of Christian maturity, nor will you recognize the old person that you were when you look back from that point. 

God’s way is a progressive and endless process.  He starts training you in the simple things, then moves to harder and more complex things over time, always progressively more challenging.  You’ll find in time, however, that the yoke of His training and His demands grows ever lighter over time.  It becomes easier to yield to His will.  The challenges may become bigger, and there may still be monumental, heart-rending lessons sometimes as He has to tear loose from your childish grasp things that you think you can’t live without in your immaturity and lack of understanding.  But if you yield to Him these things, you will find that you really didn’t need them.  You only needed His power and understanding.  And if you remain humble, over time you become ever bigger in character so that things that once were scary and difficult become easy to conquer and even appear laughable, once you look back in hindsight and realize how foolish you were to be afraid of each stronghold conquered. 


Continued tomorrow.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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