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Are You A Disciplined Man Of Valor? Print E-mail
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I know that you must have heard by now one of those old cliche's regarding training. You know the ones I mean. In the Marine Corps it was, "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war." and when I entered the world of law enforcement, I heard it phrased this way. "The way you train is the way you will react." Well the same thing is true when you apply it to your Christian Witness, and your spiritual life. I know because this is where I often get my priorities "screwed up" and eventually suffer the appropriate consequences.

If you want to be a man or woman of valor, then click on "Read More" and follow along.

When you take that oath that marks your entry into either, one of the military branches or the world of law enforcement, you are in fact responding to a call from God. He may have planned to use the experiences you will face to prepare you to fill some other position in another field someday or He may want you to remain in the "Brotherhood of Arms" for your entire career. Only God knows what he has in store for our future. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. (ASV) Either way, you can gain a vast amount life and character training during those years, experience that will be of great value to you as you journey through the myriad of trials that lay ahead of you as your life progresses.

One of the first things you will learn about in our "brotherhood" is discipline. Military and Para-military environments exist on the premise that discipline will not be compromised. Now before you get your dander up like some third grader, remember the root of the word discipline is not based in the concept of punishment, but, comes from the same root as disciple, which indicates the process of teaching and learning. If I am not to far off target, this is the definition of "education".

So to make it short, the first requirement of becoming a man or woman of valor is to live a disciplined life. Easier said than done, I admit. However, it is a key responsibility of every man and woman who desires to serve God effectively in their profession. Without discipline, the decision to exercise our vast potential for the personal accomplishment of extreme good that is, and must be, countered with an equal ability to do terrible evil will too often come up short. You see it is life where our God given free will is tested daily and it takes the disciplined or trained life to continuously make the right decisions which ultimately form good character. No man I know can deny that we reflect the composite character of the decisions we routinely make.

There are four areas in our lives that require special discipline; that God tells us are critical to our spiritual growth and to which we must pay careful attention. I wish I could tell you that it is easy to focus on these areas all the time, but in all honesty I continue to battle in some of the same areas. I have not given up and as time and my professional experience grew along with my knowledge in both the spiritual and secular spheres of influence the lapses of discipline in these areas is more obvious to me and I return to battle the distractions much more rapidly. You might say I have joined a "Spiritual Rapid Deployment Force" (SRDF) or A "Spiritual Weapons And Tactics" (SWAT) unit.

Now lets take a look at the four critical areas:


Bible Study



Lets try to approach these areas with realistic expectations, OK? All too often when we decide to make changes or improvements in our lives and character, we seek immediate results. After all we do live in a "fast food society, don't we? Well there is no instant insight into the scriptures, no instant awareness of Gods presence, no instant and obvious evidence of the strengthening of your faith and no immediate victory over the weakness of the flesh. Why is this? Because we have purposely ignored or worked hard at not developing these disciplines and our character and priorities show it. So don't let the opposition to these desired changes disappoint you or depress you. Disillusionment need not end in defeat.

Just like your professional capabilities will atrophy if they are not consistently used, so will your spiritual strength and knowledge. I have always said that for wisdom, which is dynamic in nature and extremely powerful and effective at changing the course of life itself, to exist, it must flow from two existing sources. The reservoir of knowledge and the reservoir of experience. These reservoirs are held back behind the dams of apathy and inactivity. When you blow these dams the results will astonish you.

The armed services and each of your law enforcement agencies are mandated to train their personnel constantly. Training schedules are published and adhered to; personnel are dedicated to perform this training and specific topics are often mandated. That alone develops some form of professional discipline in your occupational life, but who schedules and mandates the training in your devotional life? You do, that is who.

How do you start? Well don't bite off more than you can chew. If you hit it big, fast and hard, it will be like running into a wall, a wall of disappointment. While you may experience some moments of great peace and feel the closeness of God and you may even seem to understand the scriptures in a special way, I think you will find that devotional time is more often disciplined time at first rather than inspirational. You see, it takes some sacrifice, effort and consistency to establish a real devotional time with God. So Start small and grow. A runner does not start out running 20-26 miles the first time he or she decides to become involved in marathon training. Start with something you can realistically expect to accomplish. It takes time to form habits, both good and bad. Work your way up to those small successes just like you tell others to do. The mark of a good leader is displayed by one who heeds his or her own sermon.

Just like the early training of a runner, who experiences more pain and drudgery than elation, don't expect great changes in days. Show God your dedication and obedience and that you are committed to these changes. If change came easy, there would be no need for boot camp or police academies. Your faithfulness will be rewarded and there will be moments like a "Runners High", when you will feel overwhelmed with the presence of the Holy Spirit. It won't happen every time you pray or read and study the scriptures, but day by day and step by step your spiritual man will strengthen and you will be growing closer to becoming the man or woman of valor you desire to be.

No effort is too great to expend in pursuit of that lofty goal. I want to take the individual disciplines separately, so I am going to end right here and leave you with this thought until next time:

If you do not have a devotional time then commit to setting a time up. Start Small and grow as you are led by The Holy Spirit

Read the scriptures, pray and journal. If it isn't written down it didn't happen and you didn't do it.(Where have you heard that before?)

Consider getting a Spiritual Accountability Partner or joining a weekly or monthly bible study group. Make it a law enforcement or military group if you can find or decide to start one. (contact me if you need help finding one or starting one)

Remember when we are born, we are all equally disadvantaged when it comes to our spiritual knowledge so you really aren't as far behind as you think and it is never too late to start practicing the necessary disciplines. If you want to read some books on this topic I can recommend "Celebration Of Discipline" by Richard Foster and "The Disciplines if a Godly Man" by R. Kent Hughes or "The Man God Uses" by Henry and Tom Blackaby.

Applicable Scripture

1 Timothy 4:7-8 but refuse profane and old wives' fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come. (ASV)

My Prayer for all of us

Lord we are not by nature disciplined men.
We eat too much and exercise too little as a group.
We stay up too late and sleep too long.
We seek to please ourselves and not you.
We are just not the faithful servants we should be.
Forgive our failures and give is the grace and
strength we need to become the disciplined warriors
we are striving to be. Especially in our devotional lives.

Chaplain Ray Fairman
Winterville Police Department

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