This week I had the opportunity to attend a course for SWAT officers from around the state of Texas to learn advanced techniques in dealing with hostage rescue operations. The class was intense and physically and mentally challenging. The instructor cadre, who are also active SWAT operators, passed down techniques they’ve learned and put to the test in real world situations.
While the course was fast, furious, and demanding on us all I was proud to see how all of the men in attendance carried themselves as we prepared diligently on the details of solving the worst case scenario. Regardless of what area of the state the officers worked in or their backgrounds, each man had the common link of desiring to improve our ability to think through and win a battle to preserve life even at the cost of our own.
It’s not like what you see TV
I wanted to bring this experience out because it is good for the general population to hear what peace officers are really doing to train for our jobs. The current climate of American society would have you believe that most officers are preparing and planning or in the best case innately responding to their drive to interact with the public by looking through the lens of bigotry, hate and racism. In my 12 years as a police officer this narrative that bubbles over on a regular basis is puzzling to say the least.
During this course we drilled and worked through the careful detail it takes to successfully launch a rescue mission where our sole objective is to save life, regardless of skin color or any other perceived divisive trait, and to swiftly and with great force bring to justice an attacker who has chosen to take the freedom of another for his own.
You may be thinking, man that’s cool Mike, I wish I had a job like that where you get to kick doors, blow crap up and arrest bad guys, but I’m a banker, or a lawyer, or a techie. What does this stuff have to do with me? The common thread that we all have is the preparation needed for battle. It’s true that most people won’t assault a residence or business to take out a hostage taker, but we all are in the midst of a spiritual battle whether we admit it or not. Most of us hang out on the fence and fail to commit to the mission of taking back the world for Christ.
At Intentional Encounter, we believe that the best way to prepare for this fight is through an incremental and progressive battle plan that starts with fitness and nutrition and ultimately leads to a spiritual encounter with Christ. Just as SWAT operators learn and practice the details of setting an explosive charge, detonating it and entering a room in a systematic and aggressive manner, we all need to learn and practice the details of self-mastery through a systematic way of detaching ourselves from the ways of the world so that we can reclaim true freedom through Christ.
Through our experience at Intentional Encounter and others who have gone on the journey with us, we feel strongly that if you begin to form your will through decisions about your physical wellness you are much more likely to have success in the spiritual arena where the real battle for lives is fought.
Through meaningful repetitions and practice of physical skills like push-ups and squats or choosing to eat healthy meat and vegetables instead of the comfort of ice cream and cake, we can slowly and diligently prepare for doing the things that Christians do.
By training our will in this way, we find it easier to make choices like feeding the poor or visiting the sick and at the same time quickly and decisively turning away from temptations like anger, spiritual laziness or pornography. The body and soul, after all, are linked in such a way that they reflect one another and can become reintegrated and used for God’s mission of saving lives.