Monthly Archives: January 2015

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

After many years of leading Marines I learned this truth: “The sun rises, the sun sets, and the Private doesn’t know Sir!” Some of you may be wondering what this means. It means, each day by God’s gracious miracle of life, and whether we see it or not the sun will rise and it will set. As for the “Private” not knowing anything, well, I must explain myself. You see, a Private is the lowest ranking person in the military. He has been stripped of any individualism, and trained in the art of war. You could say he has been militarily “born again.” When he leaves basic training he is an empty bucket waiting to be filled by the knowledge of the seasoned Non-commissioned Officer (NCO). As the NCO fills the Private with knowledge and teaches him to use the tools of his craft, the Private moves through the ranks and one day becomes the NCO.

I found this to be true in my spiritual life as well. I remember the day I walked forward and professed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was elated, happy, scared, and free all at the same time. Instantaneously I became the “Private” stripped of all that had made me, me. I had become spiritually “born again.” However, in my salvation experience I failed to realize that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and didn’t spiritually grow. I thought, miraculously, just as my salvation experience had come I would be endowed with knowledge and quickly grow in my spirituality. I did not. I was a bucket waiting to be filled. I went to many Churches looking for that one leader, that one NCO that would take me under his wing to teach me and mentor me in the things I did not know. Typically, I got this answer: “Just go off somewhere alone and read God’s Word that is all you need to do to know what you don’t know.” So, I read, and I read, and I read until I was blue in the face. I became tired, worn out, disgruntled, and discouraged; a Christian saved by Christ, yet I remained a Private.

Finally, in my desperate, honest, and heartfelt cries to Christ he answered my prayers. He sent some Christian leaders, Christian NCO’s, in my direction. They filled me up with knowledge by answering my questions, giving me study tips, and just hanging out with me, explaining things, until I began to know what I didn’t know. Ultimately, it was because of the selflessness of these Christian NCO’s that led me to where I am now: light years past my salvation experience.

My final comment to leaders, military and Christian alike is this: Never forget where you came from. Don’t keep knowledge to yourself – share it — not everyone knows what you know. Helping someone know what you know is the greatest gift of selflessness. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

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Through the Year by Grace

I no longer make “New Year Resolutions.” Typically, a New Year resolution, for me, is a time of reflecting on what is wrong with me and how I desperately need to fix it. Therein lay the reason I no longer follow the practice.

What is a resolution? A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. To me, a resolution is like a “diet”; just by merely stating that I am going to control myself and make myself do something has set me up to fail. Why? Because there is too much of “me” in it.

What would happen if I were to parcel my time, daily? I mean, what if took the very same amount of time I would have spent at the end of a year for self-reflection, and expend it daily throughout the entire year by focusing on my need for Grace? This way, I can, by the Grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit achieve small victories that lead to a major one. I believe introspection to be good I just believe it should be daily and not yearly. I mean, if I had to move a mountain of dirt with a shovel, it may be wiser for me to ask God for the Grace to move it, and then only by a few shovels a day vice trying to move the mountain all at once.

Now, my New Year starts out with a prayer. A prayer, which displays my total dependence upon God, as he is the one in control of anything in me that needs accomplished or changed. A prayer similar to the “Serenity Prayer.” A prayer like this:

God, daily, grant me Your Grace and Serenity

To accept that there are things I cannot change without you;

Courage to ask for your Holy Spirit to change the things in me that need changing;

And wisdom to know that only by your Grace is change possible.

Several times Paul asked God to take the thorn from his side. Do you remember God’s response to Paul? I do. He said, “My Grace is sufficient.”

I believe true change or goal achievement, in any given year, depends solely on God’s Grace.

When I commit to love myself, it takes Grace.
When I commit to love my neighbor, it takes Grace.
When I commit to work on an addictive behavior, it takes Grace.
When I commit to lose weight, it takes Grace.
When I commit to anything, daily, it takes Grace.
Most importantly, when I commit to do anything, it takes Christ.

What are you going to ask God to help you with, daily, over the next 12 Months?

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