To Battle We Go: More PT, Drill Sergeant, More PT!
By: Dr. Steve Kellner
Basic training in the military is quite a shock to the system for trainees, but perhaps the most shocking thing is the amount of physical training, or PT, that goes on practically around the clock. Not only is there a daily hour-long PT session where trainees perform iconic military exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, side straddle hops, and mountain climbers, but there are countless extra push-ups inflicted as punishment for various infractions throughout the training day, as in “Drop and give me 50!”
But stranger than doing PT all day, every day, is that trainees are required to like it, or at least say they do. For example, after each PT exercise my basic training platoon was required to shout, “More PT, Drill Sergeant, more PT. We like it, we love it, we want more of it!”, in effect asking to have more physical pain inflicted upon us. Likewise, when we finished the number of punishment pushups ordered by a Drill Sergeant, we shouted, “Drill Sergeant, thank you for allowing me to properly condition my body!”
We trainees thought this was crazy, but as was usually the case with basic training, there was a method to the madness. Our Drill Sergeants wanted us to embrace, and even enjoy, the painful process of getting into good physical condition and the stress of learning well all the new skills required to become a good soldier.
This is not a new idea. In fact, we find it throughout the New Testament regarding spiritual training. We are to train ourselves for godliness if we are to “compete in the games” of spiritual warfare (1 Timothy 4:7-8), even “striking a blow to our body” so that we will not be “disqualified for the prize” of winning as many as possible for the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 9). We don’t do this glumly but with joy, because when God disciplines us, He is treating us as His children, and though it is unpleasant at times, it yields a “harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:7-11).
If we want to become good soldiers in The Salvation Army, we should expect a certain amount of continuous pain and stress in the process. Some of this will be inflicted by the Holy Spirit Himself as He ferrets out hidden sin in our lives and gives us direction. In other cases, it will come from our leaders and comrades as they “speak the truth in love” to us about our shortcomings as believers and Salvationists. This is not a particularly pleasant process, but we should all embrace it as the path to a closer relationship with Jesus and as the power source of all that we do as soldiers in the Army.
So, when the Holy Spirit or our comrade Salvationists gently correct us, let’s—internally at least—shout, “We like it, we love it, we want more of it!”, and embrace the process of becoming more like Jesus.