They’re some of the best of the best in America’s military. They’re known as the Navy Seals. And when there’s a mission that’s almost impossible, they send the Seals behind enemy lines, or maybe it’s a highly sensitive covert mission, against enormous odds. They’re trained in just about any military skill you can think of. In fact, their training was the subject of a cover story in a national magazine a while back; especially that brutal final week that decides who will and will not be a Navy Seal.
Cold, and wet, and fatigued, there’s pain, there’s a pace that are more than most human beings could bear. And some might call it cruel and extreme. But the Navy is trying to prepare these men for heroism. They say they’re trying to build men who learn one mindset that is often the difference between a hero and a zero. Turn off the pain and focus on the mission.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Mission and the Pain.”
Here’s our word for today from the Word of God – 2 Timothy 2:1. God says, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” See, God doesn’t need any more spiritual wimps. That’s why He’s calling for warriors here. And in verse 4 He says, “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs. He wants to please his commanding officer.”
Well, what does that take? Verse 3: “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Endurance: staying with the mission even when you’re hurting. Those Navy Seals do it for their country. We do it for our Savior. Our mission is to be like Jesus so the people in our world can get a good look at what He’s like. And to be His personal representative to people who are lost and needy and have no hope for eternity without Him.
There’s one problem though. Instead of turning off the pain and focusing on the mission, our tendency is to focus on our pain and forget our mission, and put the work of the Lord at the mercy of how we’re feeling. When we’re hurting, let’s face it, we usually get pretty self-focused don’t we? We’re consumed with our survival, our needs, our hurt. And that’s natural. It’s understandable, but it’s unacceptable for a soldier of Jesus Christ.
No matter how great the pain was, He never abandoned His mission; not when His family turned against Him, not when the crowds turned against Him, not when His life was threatened, not when He was arrested or beaten or humiliated or nailed to a cross. Even when He was dying, Jesus was looking out for His mother. He was reaching out to a dying thief, He was forgiving His crucifiers.
We will never begin to face the pain that our leader did. But we do have our share of pain. Here’s the question: Do we retreat from what we’ve been doing for the Lord when it gets hard or when we’re hurting? Are we so full of our own agenda that we shut down to the needs of others? Do we quit when it’s dark?
If you forget your mission because of your pain, you can still belong to Jesus. His love for us is unconditional. This isn’t about His love for you. It’s about your love and service for Him. He wants to trust you with some heroic assignments for Him. He’s got so much to be done! He’s looking for heroes like the song says, “Jesus needs a few good men.” And I might say, “a few good women.”
In the rigors of your life right now the training and testing of Jesus are not to hurt you. They’re not to sink you. They’re His tools to make you a warrior. To strengthen you. to prepare you for a great work for Him. So be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.