Our professional and spiritual lives overlap in amazing ways. The same is possible for the connections in our neighborhoods and faith groups. There was evidence of both at an All In Men Meet Up this week. Our small group included six guys from right in our neighborhood. Hanging out around the fire pit was even more encouraging since there were three men from adjacent homes in the circle. God had this set up. One neighbor had just moved here from Hawaii a week ago with his family. He had a very practical response to a question about how we can develop self-control. Specifically, since he's a Navy salvage diver and Explosive Ordnance Demolition (EOD) officer (think Men of Honor and Hurt Locker) we asked, “So how does someone in EOD build self-control?” Here’s what he shared:
First, you need to get in the books. EOD techs require specific knowledge of the threat, how Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) work, and what are proven methods are to deal with them. Studying about the mission, conditions, and technology gives you the expertise you’ll need to handle the dangers ahead.
Second, you take time to practice in a safe environment. EOD units train with dummy devices that allow us to recognize the problems, learn proper handling techniques, and develop emergency responses for critical situations. Practice is the best way to build the skills and confidence you’ll need when working with real munitions.
A third way we develop self-control is to have a teammate. We go into every situation with an “accountabilibuddy” so there’s someone else who we know is ready to help. A radio call to a guy who isn’t in the thick of things might be how we get a clearer picture of what to do next.
As I listened to his answers, I could see how each of these was also true in our spiritual development of self control. In particular, they correspond directly to how we live out our faith in Christ. First, we have God’s word, the Bible, to give us insight into God’s character and the enemy’s plans against us. Have you read and studied what God wrote down for you? Next, we need safe places to learn about the hazards to our faith. A church fellowship, men’s small group, or godly book or podcast can provide you with practical “experiences” on a regular basis. You already know how practicing discipline benefits you physically, financially, and professionally. Your spiritual life works the same way. Finally, “who you gonna call?” isn’t just a catchy phrase for ghost-busters. As men, we need a brother who will answer our call when our self-control is being tested. Tough times and great successes are meant to be shared.
God’s word, the Holy Spirit’s work, and Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins are the core of what All In Men believe and know to be true. We take time to meet for fellowship, grow through discipleship, serve together, and just have fun. AIM wants to help you meet that buddy who will keep you accountable as you “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [you.]” Philippians 3:12. Get involved with AIM for connections that will encourage you to walk closely with Jesus and bring glory to God!
All In Men (AIM) are gathering for Fall Meet Ups this month (Oct) across Southern Maryland with a focus on “Life’s Contrasts.” We’re engaging in conversations about:
self-control / out of control; what He did / what I did; God’s will / my will; loving God / loving self. Getting together as small groups across our communities, rather than as one big group, is AIM’s way of abiding by COVID-related restrictions. In fact, it feels a little more like we’re going “into all the world” (Mark 16:15), or at least our region, with the good news of Jesus Christ. Go to AIM’s Meet Up page for more info and join us at a Meet Up! https://www.allinmen.org/meet-ups. Invite a friend or neighbor, as you never know who’s contribution might give you insight and encouragement as we live out our faith as All In Men.
Blessings, Ben, for the AIM Team