Welcome back! If you started on June 6 when we kicked this off, you are now on D-Day plus 29. That means that it is Independence Day in America. We take time to celebrate the birth of our nation. I used to think that I loved this nation. But then I went to basic training at Fort Leonard wood. At graduation they played “I’m proud to be an American.” I started crying. There was no warning, no build up, just tears racing down my cheeks. It was then that I realized that I really loved this country. Now, I agree that we have often made a mess of things from time to time. We birthed a nation of freedom while holding slaves. We slaughtered Native Americans, proudly. We have often had corrupt government and businesses. But ultimately this nation has stood against the forces of evil in the world and has come out victorious. Here any man can rise and live his/ her dream. The United States of America is growing up, be patient and look to the horizon to see what we accomplish in the future. My guess is that what we do in the future will make it look like we did nothing over the past 250 years or so. God bless the USA.
Be the Leader:
Discipline: The last two weeks I have been talking to you about personal discipline. This is critical if you are going to be the warrior. You should be establishing new disciplines consistently. Try to build a streak of success. I remember when I was trying to build the discipline of flossing. I had been told by every dentist I knew that I needed to put this practice in my life. I blew them off. (Like some of you have been doing to my suggestions so far.) One day though I thought I should follow through, after all I had been telling all of those dentists that I will start flossing right away. But to be honest now, I was lying. I had no intention of following through on that promise. But I got sick of not being a man of integrity in that area so I made the decision, I will floss regularly. This started with flossing at least every third day, then I set a standard of flossing more days than not. Finally, I wanted to see how many days in a row that I could floss. I went nearly three years without missing a day. Then I went camping and missed a day. But since then I have been consistent for nearly 7 more years. I work to break my record daily. Build your disciplines.
Slow and steady wins the race. Build slowly, you never eat the fruit on the day you plant the seed.
Definition: Now to be the leader you must define yourself. Who are you? If you are like me, you have made a ton of mistakes in your life. Too often I define myself by those failures. I remember that youth group that collapsed under my leadership and became nonexistent. I remember being a bad example in Boy Scouts. I remember my time in addictions and in that I remember how I selfishly hurt people. My life then was all about me and what I wanted and I hated anyone that disagreed with me. Hate would have defined who I was. I could go on for pages in detail about all of the times that I have failed. However, as a warrior I must not define myself in the midst of those failures. Many people I know define themselves by their past. They will say I am an addict, I am a felon. They will say I am stupid, ugly, cruel or a liar and adulterer. Some define themselves by their career, or lack of a career. Others are defined by their appearance. I am pretty, I am ugly. The point is that you must rise above all of that.
There are times when you have been ugly, stupid, trapped in sin of all sorts. Those are moments of your life. Do not let them define you.
I am defined as a child of God. He loves me.
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. –Galatians 2: 20
Too often we define our inside by what is outside of us. That is backwards. The warrior life is all about allowing the inside to define who you are. With that said I must challenge you to invite Christ to live inside of you. Without Christ to cleanse us, we are filled with selfishness, bitterness, and all manner of evil. We are unable to faithfully serve our fellow men in ways that honor them.
If you have not invited Jesus to live within you, then I implore you to not put that off for a single moment.
I have very few regrets in my life. I regret not going to Ranger School. I regret not being a better husband to my wife, particularly in our early marriage. But the one thing that I regret most in my life is that I did not come to really know Jesus earlier. Oh, to have prevented the mistakes of my rebellion against Him. That is why I seek words to convince you not to put this off. If you need to talk to someone about this relationship; and what that means please email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Take some time this week to add to your disciplines (by adding that may mean that you are taking something away like pie, or working late.) Also take time to clarify your definition of who you are. Let me know what you are thinking and how I can serve you.