5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. -2 Peter 1: 5 -8 (NIV)
Academy to so educate train and develop midshipmen 1 That they may have a fine sense of honor, a wholehearted love for the best traditions of the service, an enduring love for country, subordination based on proper initiative of the subordinate, an appreciation of the humanities, and a keen sense of responsibility in assuming authority over others
– Report of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy, p 10, 1910
“What tools are in your toolbox?”. the speaker asked last night at our men’s church devotional service. He went on to offer several additional scriptures on faith and perseverance, as tools. As a former Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, I understood that any young Sailor – or young (spiritually) disciple of Jesus, life is embracing that you do not know what you do not know but then learning the doctrine, spending time with a mentor and persevering through conflicting desires and priorities. Perhaps it is safe to say that “duty” is the first concept I embraced. As a Sailor matures, the life that each voluntarily accepted on the NAVY’s terms has certain obligations and responsibilities. So to as a student of Jesus, voluntarily but without a ‘contract. Some skills are beneficial as they will potentially save you or a shipmate in times of peril. Mastering your calling and seeking to help others grow stronger – for a greater good – will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your naval career.
So too, with a spiritual compass. The Master Mariner, Jesus, sets my course though I voluntarily follow. But a path voluntarily chosen can build character, endurance, positive outlook and joy that the world desperately needs. (Happiness is a shallow, easily damaged emotion where joy is not.) Where the military prepares a service member to prepare for war, it is no less true with even a glimpse of a spiritual life, war continally rages around us. For us to rise and help others to rise out of violence, hatred, greed, fear, selfishness, loneliness, and misery, requires faith in a gracious God and the proper tools – faith, perseverance, knowledge, self-discipline, good character, and whole-hearted love. God’s Word and the Navy I served for a quarter-century are tools for life.
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