Dear friends of manna and coffee. My good friend, John Loy, shared some thoughts recently about how to face giants in our lives. He is a veteran and I would like to thank John, and all the other manna readers/writers out there, who have served our country in the armed forces. We are free to share our faith and praise the Lord openly because they were willing to sacrifice it all and fight for our freedom and for the freedom of others. We were discussing the fact that sometimes the biggest giant that believers face is the giant of the flesh. It is hard to battle a giant that wears us. John shared some thoughts from his military training on how to overcome the flesh giant.
“I have been in active combat in the desert and in the jungle, but the worst combat of all…is the combat that I fight daily with myself. I praise God that He has given me “free will,” but sometimes that free will is also a curse. It is so easy to get so caught up in “daily” life that you don’t even see this enemy. Sometimes I think that physical combat is easier than spiritual combat. That is why I never forget that I must pick up the cross DAILY!”
When I asked John to share more about how his military training and experience has helped him prepare for and engage in spiritual combat, he shared:
“Beginning with the basics…instant obedience to orders. When given a command, you do it right at that moment without hesitation/question. Doing this has saved my hide a few times. It was so easy to do in the Marines because it was constantly drilled into us. We knew that instant obedience would save our lives. I find that to be true with spiritual warfare as well. The more I open up to learning the Word, the better decisions I make. Being a Christian is like boot camp all over again. One must learn the basics before being able to go on. For example, when I used my M-16 on the first day of boot camp I could hardly hit the target at 500 yards. But after weeks of training, I could hit the target 10 out of 10 times. And even now (20 years later) I can still do it!”
“Then there was the close order drill marching. Hours upon hours were spent on the parade deck marching. It seemed like a waste of time and the marching did nothing to make us feel like Marines. Little did we know that this was also a way for us to learn how to obey commands automatically. Reading and memorizing scripture can seem to be just like that, a waste of time. How can doing this make me a better Christian? When there is an attack upon you spiritually, it is amazing how verses just come to mind, almost without thinking about it, and aid a great deal in not falling harder/longer in a spiritual attack.”
“For the first 5 years, I thought I was indestructible. I was a Marine and all the world feared me. All that changed when I got shot in Panama. I remember thinking, that shouldn’t have happened to me, I did everything right. I feel that way today at times, when I am doing everything as a Christian correctly, and then something bad happens in my life. Sometimes I think…I’m a Christian…that’s not supposed to happen to me!”
“I remember taking a night patrol out and was in a hurry to get to my check point. I did not take heed in my training and tried to do things on my own. I walked us straight into an ambush which would have killed us all. I am thankful it was only a training exercise. The same thing happens when I run my life my way, and I do not heed to Holy Spirit’s will. If I were keeping score it would be the Holy Spirit one hundred and me zero in running my life spiritually!”
“Contrary to popular belief, it was my second jump (and all those after), not my first jump, that scared me the most. The first jump was nothing but pure excitement and adrenalin! It was the second (and the next 165) that got me worried. I began to overthink everything and started to wonder about the “what if’s”. It was that same way that I felt the day that I first excepted Christ. I was excited and fully pumped that first night. It was the next morning (and every morning since) that I began to get worried and over think the “what if’s” in my Christian walk. Were there times in my 166 jumps that I needed to change my skivvies but my training took over. Has there been times in my Christian walk that I needed to change my skivvies? Yes, but allowing the Spirit to guide my daily life has limited my “emergency laundry times”.”
Dear Lord thank you for John Loy and for his willingness to share his life experiences with us. Please be with the men and women in the armed forces who are looking to you for strength and wisdom. Please help us to be willing to train to face spiritual combat in the same way that the military does. And help us to know that when you call us forward, and we mess our skivvies, that you will be there with us and that no victory comes before a step of faith.