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Chaplain's Corner

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Let’s Be Brilliant in the Basics

9 Jul 2021 | Lt. Anthony Pelc Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Brilliance in the basics is a key to success in just about every area of life. While reading Bevin Alexander’s Korea: The First War We Lost, I was struck by what he said in the ninth chapter, “American soldiers in some instances performed from the outset with bravery and tenacity; in some instances they did not. When officers started looking for the reasons afterward, they found them in the strength or weakness of two of the oldest and most commonplace precepts of military theory: leadership and training… [T]here was a decided correlation between good performance and men who were well and confidently led, and who had learned how to service and fire their weapons, care for their persons and their equipment, and achieve a fair degree of comfort in field conditions.” Brilliance in these basic skills translated to success in the battlefield.

When it comes to our spiritual fitness, let’s not overlook the basic skills and disciplines which are essential to a relationship with Almighty God. One basic discipline is prayer. Our God says that he is “near to all who call on Him” (Psalm 145:18). He is a God who draws near to all who will draw near to Him (James 4:8). However, it’s amazing how even the most spiritually fit can neglect to call upon God. In the military, we are people of action. We identify problems and fix them. But it doesn’t take much time for us to offer a prayer, asking for God’s blessing on our daily labors. But spiritually fit people don’t just reach out to God in an emergency; they build a relationship with God that steels them for future difficulties.

One other basic discipline for spiritually fit people is time spent in the Holy Scriptures. My faith tradition uses the Bible, which is “more to be desired than gold… sweeter also than honey” (Psalm 19:10). This storehouse of knowledge and wisdom is available to all. Desiring such wisdom isn’t enough; you need to work for it! While reading the Scriptures, we need to “seek [wisdom] like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,” (Proverbs 2:4). In order to improve our spiritual fitness, we need to invest personal time in the Scriptures. Wherever you are with this basic discipline, take small steps forward. Perhaps you can set aside a certain number of minutes each week for personal Bible reading, or you could set a goal of reading through a specific part of the Scriptures by the end of the month (I highly recommend the book of Proverbs). In a time where people are obsessed with whatever is new, let’s not forget these time-tested, basic disciplines of attaining spiritual fitness.

The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.