In my previous blog, I described how spiritual readiness is one of the five domains listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Holistic Health and Fitness. Let me share another quote from the manual. Leaders need to know that “Identifying one’s purpose, core values, beliefs, identity, and life vision defines the spiritual dimension. These elements, which define the essence of a person, enable one to build inner strength, make meaning of experience, behave ethically, persevere through challenges, and be resilient when faced with adversity.”
Throughout my twenty years on active duty, my Christian faith definitely helped to make me a more ethical and resilient soldier. Knowing God was present with me gave me strength to do the right things when tempted to cut corners, take shortcuts, or violate regulations. It also gave me personal courage and endurance while working long night shifts during division and corps level warfighter exercises, company field training exercises, and in two unaccompanied tours to Korea.
As I have tried to consistently seek the Lord’s guidance by reading his Word, I was confronted with the principle that Christian workers were to submit to the authority of their supervisors, knowing that it was Jesus whom they ultimately worked for (see Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:22-24). Applying this was not always an easy task for me. There were many times I just had to trust that God had a plan.
My faith in God also enabled me to experience peace whenever it was time to relocate to a new duty station. My wife and I understood that God was in control of every move and that I could trust him wherever I was sent. I knew that he had a purpose for us in going there. In my current job, God has given me contentment over the past fifteen years while my leaders and soldiers come and go.
Help Your Soldiers Develop Spiritual Readiness
I am hoping that as I described my personal experiences in practicing and developing my own spiritual readiness as an active-duty soldier and Department of the Army civilian, you can recall many others who are just like me, some of whom are serving in your formations even now.
Let me close with another quote from chapter ten of this helpful field manual: “Unit leaders foster spiritual readiness by providing space in schedules, battle rhythms, and training plans for individual self-development to include the spiritual dimension. Unit and organizational leaders can encourage spiritual readiness by discussing the spiritual dimension or spiritual development goals in developmental counseling, individual development plans, or their leadership philosophies.”
I encourage all leaders, regardless of your background, to give time and space for your subordinates to develop their spiritual readiness. It is in your best interest to have soldiers and civilians working for you who are committed to integrity, who take their God-given responsibilities seriously, and who have the spiritual resources to handle the many stresses of living and working in a military environment. You need team members who know how to get along, care for each other, and submit to your leadership. You want to develop humble leaders who lead and serve just like Jesus did.
Finally, I ask you to fully support and lean on your unit chaplains. They are a combat multiplier. They can help your soldiers to get and stay connected with God so that they can consistently experience his presence even during the hardest of times, which you know will eventually come.
Let me close with an appropriate scripture. We like to say here that there is victory through skill. Although this is true, sometimes human strength alone is just not enough. We read in Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” A soldier, DA civilian, or family member who has faith has a source of strength that never runs dry.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from the author’s personal blog. Republished with permission.