Perhaps I am at a unique juncture in my life that many do not attain to, but I feel like I have done every natural thing I’ve ever really wanted to do (outside of write and publish a book). To elaborate, becoming a Marine was my superhero dream as a child – I greatly admired my grandfather who had retired as a LtCol (and I would later come to find out survived some of the bloodiest battles in USMC history) and watching documentaries about Marines made them seem like super humans. As I grew into a young boy and young “adult,” I never acquired much physique and moving into high school I dropped sports and focused purely on academics and the debate team.
When I moved to Utah at the age of 17 to escape a negative living environment, I only became more and more sedentary. I found success at both of the jobs that ended up hiring me, eventually focusing on one and becoming promoted to Assistant Manager at the number 1 store for a national watch retailer and repair shop. One of the VPs (the son of the man who started the company when it had been family owned) wanted to adopt me into the family, and it wasn’t just a joke. But this was back in 2007, with the economic downturn, and I didn’t like the way corporate had phrased some of their emails about why numbers weren’t as high as expected, so I decided to jump that sinking ship and consider a career in the Marine Corps.
There were many conflicting reasons about why I enlisted (especially during a bad time in the war) but the fact remains that I did it and I earned the title. Later in my career I attained all the glory I could ever hope for as a Lance Corporal when Marines I served with considered me their hero for going through a difficult Request Mast (a risky whistle-blowing maneuver). My ambition was to carry on in the Marine Corps and go as high as I could go – even after the office of the Commandant if I could.
It was very shortly after I had received all this glory and praise that the Holy Spirit came upon me for the first time in a decade or longer. However, because I wasn’t grounded in the scriptures and didn’t have a man of God in my life at the time, the simple message the Spirit was trying to give me (about divine governmental order) was twisted and corrupted by my own pride and by the whisperings of the devil. I thought that I could profit from this seemingly random epiphany and attain great rewards from the Marine Corps because of it. The Bible instructs us to buy truth but never sell it and because we have been given much we should also therefore freely give.
It’s taken five years to fully process that simple message the Spirit gave me and now I can say that I no longer have any earthly ambition that is driving me. My ambition is for the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven; my heart is truly to see the Kingdom advance as quickly and efficiently as possible and to play whatever role I am to play in doing that. One of the gifts that I have been given by our creator is a proficiency with the English language (both spoken and written) and so if I can help do His will through His gifts, I will. Moreover scripture tells us that the Father will give us the desires of our heart when we walk with him, so I very well could end up writing a book and then I would well and truly have no earthly ambition left. (I’ve sometimes thought I might want to be the father of a family but it’s never been something I’ve fully committed to wanting – but that is another way that I could be blessed should I continue in the discipline of His will and not mine.)
So my question to anyone who reads this blog is – where are your ambitions? Are you still striving for rewards in the natural or have you realized that the only thing we’re taking out of this life is our relationships with other people? This doesn’t mean that a life of poverty is for everyone, nor does it mean that everyone will have a life of great financial abundance. But everyone is guaranteed a life of great spiritual abundance by obeying the King and living according to the laws of the Kingdom, such that, like Paul, we know how to live in abundance and live in abasement.
We’re to judge ourselves before we judge anyone else. I consider myself nothing but a private in YHWH Tzabaoth’s Army, having been little more than a “super private” (E3, Lance Corporal) in the United States Marine Corps. YHWH Tzabaoth’s Army has a better benefits package and if the USMC can be considered one of the most elite fighting forces that has ever been on this natural Earth then almost certainly His Army would be that much more excellent. Similarly, if the USMC’s boot camp and enlistment requirements are stringent, so much more would His Army’s requirements and disciplines be.
We may take some measure of pride and comfort in thinking that we are all soldiers in His Army but I would have to ask the tough question of what are your fruits in the role and capacity of a soldier for Elohim? What battles have you been winning when it comes to spiritual warfare for yourself and more importantly for other people? What formations are you marching in? Do you know how to wear the uniform of the day, and do you know what uniform goes with what posting? Do you know the standing orders and do you know how to seek out those other people we are to temporally obey because they’ve already put in the years and have lived the discipline? While ultimately Yeshua is our one and only true commanding officer, we are still to recognize those who have gone before us and whose iron will sharpen our iron on our path to report in to Yeshua for our next set of orders.
I know at least one man who is sharp enough that he could be considered a master blacksmith, able to forge swords out of scrap metal. That is not something that I can currently do, but if we have the heavenly perspective we realize that there is an element of an illusory nature to time, in that, in the Eternal realms the victory has already been won and we are already reigning with Christ! I know that one day, should I continue my walk down the narrow path faithfully and not be turned aside by things like worry, doubt, or my own flesh, I too will be able to forge swords from scrap metal. In fact, part of what I feel called to do is to re-equip the saints with a modern understanding of warfare, as the modern world is that much more complex and complicated compared to the ways warfare was fought 2000 years ago. How accurate are you as a basic soldier with your M16A4 Service Rifle of the Spirit? Do you have the discipline it takes to get “shots in the black” from 500 yards with an iron sight, or do you “miss the mark” (another phrase for sin!)?
There are many who are attracted to the honor that might be afforded a soldier in His Army but few I’ve found who actually live lives that bear the fruit of that kind of discipline and self-sacrifice. Prayerfully consider whether this is you, or whether you are even called to serve in His Army (there are 300+ million Americans but only 180,000 Marines! Not everyone in the Body need be in the Army, but the Army protects the rest of the Body!)