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Marine Mentality

As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”- John 9:4-5

We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.” For those who are not television junkies or who didn’t serve in the armed forces, let me share with you the origin of one of my favorite tag lines from a 1980’s commercial. This was the line used by the Marines to motivate people to join their branch of the military. The commercial spoke to a higher level of commitment, purpose, and effectiveness than that which the ordinary “Joe” or “Jane” accomplishes and experiences in their daily routines. The message came through the screen loud and clear, much like the distinct cry of the marines who shouts, Oorah (which means “charge”). This 30 second spot communicated a cause worth following and fighting for.

A couple of weeks ago I had a motivating moment that got me off the couch and knocking out some key items from my “to-do list”. Normally on an off day from work I like to recharge my battery, spend some quality time with Joanie and the kids, and maybe squeeze in nice afternoon snooze. However, on that Friday, I had some important things to get done: paying the bills; turning in paperwork at the bank; getting a haircut; and mowing the lawn. As the day went on I slipped into a such a rest-mode, that I had forgotten to do any of the items on my list. It was now 4 p.m. and my Marine motivation was running on fumes. It felt like a wasted day and squandered opportunity. As I pondered my procrastination I made what can only be described as a day altering decision. Getting up in the speed of light I paid the bills, dropped off the documents at the bank, and finished the front yard before the dinner bell rang. Although the start of my day did not have much to show for it or go according to the necessary plan, I was able to make a shift that proved quite satisfying.

What would it look like to have more than a Marine Mentality to our days, but a Disciple’s Devotion? In John 15:8 Jesus proclaims, “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” The question that we should want to answer and the target that we should want to hit is to identify what type of fruit is ripe and delicious to Father God? As we consider what surrendering our days to God and serving Him looks like, I would like to suggest that it is much more than recon assignment, a household chore, or business presentation. I believe that there are things we can engage in every day, activate as a part of our faith assignment, that will produce such amazing results that it can be used as a model to motivate the most dedicated soldier, diligent worker, and devoted family member you can find. Here are some areas I believe we should be engaging in daily (before 9 a.m. is optional):

  1. Read the Bible- Just as many believe breakfast is essential to starting the day strong, our digging into God’s Word will provide a solid foundation and a rich deposit. When we come to the Bible we can receive wisdom, direction, inspiration, and hope. Let the water of the Word wash you clean, refresh the dry places of your soul, and clear out all the debris of life. In the well-known passage on a husband-wife relationship, which is really a mirror to the relationship between Christ and His bride (the Church), Paul says in Ephesians 5:25-26, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.

2. Pray for your Loved Ones- Whether you are dealing with a conflict with your spouse, a concern for a child, a sickness or financial crisis for a family member, or a burning desire to see a friend open their hearts to God’s love, the best course of action is to bring them before God in prayer and cover it all at His throne of grace. I know that in my own life it is so easy to complain about a relationship or be weighed down by a need, rather than wrestling it out, working it out, and winning it out in the Spirit. Our prayers can change the picture, the atmosphere, and the outcome. James 5:16 tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

3. Bless someone- Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to be a gift to someone each day, that simple. Look for opportunities to encourage a friend (maybe a quick email or text), to help a stranger in need (maybe letting them go in line first or buying a homeless person a meal), or to listen to a co-worker/neighbor who is going through a personal challenge. Your investment of time, genuine concern, and resources will have a greater impact than you could ever imagine. Let the words of Jesus (as relayed by Paul) penetrate your heart and be put into practice with your hands as Acts 20:35 declares, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Checking off these three items from your daily tasks will have you feeling like a Marine, the only difference is you will not say oorah, but “Hallelujah!

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