2 Corinthians 4:1-18 (NKJV)
The final challenge of recruit training in the Marines is known as the Crucible. It’s called the Crucible after a hardened vessel that can withstand extreme heat that is so hot, it melts metal. The Marine’s Crucible is a 54-hour training exercise that validates the physical, mental and moral training they’ve endured throughout recruit training. The recruits are broken down into squads to face the challenges of the Crucible. They face challenges testing their physical strength, skills and the Marine Corps values they have learned throughout training. Throughout the event, the recruits are only allowed a limited amount of food and sleep. The Crucible emphasizes trainee teamwork under stress. Recruits get eight hours of sleep during the entire 54 hour exercise. No one gets through the Crucible alone. The final stage of the Crucible is a 9-mile hike from the training grounds to the Iwo Jima flag-raising statue at Peatross Parade Deck. Upon completing this challenge, the drill instructors present each of their recruits with the Marine Corps insignia—the eagle, globe and anchor. He shakes their hands and calls them “Marine” for the first time. They’ve finished the challenge without quitting. They didn’t give up and now they are Marines.
In the Christian life, we face lots of challenges and each one is just another phase of developing us into the person God wants us to be. The basic key to remember is to never give up.
Let’s look at 2 Cor. 4 and see what God has to teach us today.
- Never Give Up, Even When You Feel Discouraged (v.1-6.)
When discouragement sets in, that’s when your commitment shows.
It’s then that you show your commitment to the morals of what God’s word teaches. Paul said that they did not handle the word deceitfully.
Why should we not give up? Because someone needs to see and hear the light of the Gospel from you.
- Never Give Up, Even When You Feel Defeated (v.7-15.)
When the sense of being defeated sets in, that ‘s when your courage shows.
It’s then that you show your courage in the face of life’s struggles. Remember though, we are not alone. Jesus lifts us up and we have to be there for each other. The battle may seem like it is weakening you, but the truth is that it’s strengthening you.
Why should we not give up? Because God is manifesting Jesus through you to become more like Him.
- Never Give Up, Even When You Feel Like You’re Dying (v.16-18.)
When the sense that you are dying inside sets in, that’s when your conversion is being fulfilled. It’s when God is getting rid of the old you and making you new from the inside out. God is working something in us that is far better.
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV): I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Why should we not give up? Because God is taking us through the final phase to truly be a Christian!
Just like the Marines go through the Crucible to receive their eagle, globe and anchor and to hear the words you are a Marine, we go through trials of life to hear, Well Done and know that we are a Christian in the image of Christ.