8 Ways to Stay Faithful and Focused on Christ

eyeongodI have been asked many times, “Chaplain how do you do it?” How do you stay faithful and focused on Christ during deployment? This is one application. Another, is how do you deal with and see the things you have seen and still live a normal life? These are great questions and more than worthy of answer.

1) Acceptance. I will admit, I do not have life figured out and I certainly cannot explain half the things I have seen or dealt with in life.

2) I have had people praying for me my entire life. My granny on my mom’s side being the most faithful to lift me up on a daily basis before the throne of God. She died in 2010 at the age of 86, but there is nothing quite like a devoted woman of God praying for you for 40 years.

3) After I accepted Christ in January 1989, I have intentionally surrounded myself with healthy people. People who have my best interest in mind. This does not mean that I avoid others or look down upon those who are at a different place in their walk with God. It just means there are people I see as the mission field and people I see as wise advisers. Friends are important to me but it is even more important to me to see them striving toward and thriving in Godly things.

4) I married up. My wife makes me look like a miserable liberal. She is the most Godly and faithful person I know and I am honored that she has seen fit to love me just like it says in 1 Corinthians 13. This does not mean we don’t argue or that one of us is always right, it means that God is the center of our relationship not me or her. Anyone can edify their mate or exalt themselves or share responsibilities in a relationship. However, it takes quite a dedicated husband and wife to place God first.

5) I have learned that if something is not working that it is time to do something different. Very specifically, I am NOT talking about resistance. I am talking about straight up not working no matter what angle I try. As Christians we will meet resistance and as such we have clear scripture directing our response. The best method I have found for doing something different is playing to my strengths. Now this requires that I know what those are but that is a different conversation.

6) I always look for comparisons of what I am going through both in the Bible and in the Godly people I have known. Comparisons can be powerful metaphors in the narrative of our life. The objective is to use them in such a way as to see what can be learned to make my experience more God centered and not use them in such a way as to see who has it better.

soldiers-pray-with-army-chaplain-vietnam7) I do feel as though I know what I believe and believe what I know. To the novice this may look like I know it all. To a professional, they will quickly realize when it is time to make a decision, act on information, take a stand, have someone’s back or stand in the gap for those who can’t, the results are obvious. This is not to say I can’t be wrong but it is to say I know what it means to be confident and competent. I am the last person you will see being passive aggressive or passive, passive. If anything I am intensely passionate. I do not cower or shrink back. I am always pressing forward but I will never leave one behind. My pace is such that I can double back if need be. It is not all or nothing with me.

8) As far as authority goes, it lies outside myself. I seek the rock that is higher than I. In other words, God is real and present to me and I live my life as if the “eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good” because they are. Being that I live as if God is real, I seek Him daily both verbally and non-verbally.

Hopefully, these answer the questions. Unfortunately, for those reading this you have the answers but not the context of why they were asked in the first place. Unless you have deployed with me, you have not seen how I handle the death of a Soldier, being shot at, or responding to a toxic leader. Those closest to me do not know how I handle an argument with my wife or what I do when I am tempted to look at things I should not. And, If you were not in the car the night I had a drunk driving accident in December 1988, you would not understand why I don’t drink today nor do I put myself in situations to compromise my faith and witness. Most of these are only things my wife, kids and God know. Though I will tell you, I find myself seeking God’s face, forgiveness and grace on a daily basis. I long for the day that I will not have the struggles we face in flesh. It is a true statement that accept for the Grace of God go I. Moral failures are a possibility for anyone but thankfully God’s mercy is available to all who ask. Perhaps the verse that has been most enduring to me throughout my life is:

10835098_400035706825115_7728615170924338928_oIf any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5

There have been many times in my life where I have lacked wisdom but God is generous.

I share these musings not because I want everyone to be like me. I share them because I would love to see what God has in store for you. Our combined peculiarity and uniqueness in God must not be denied. Instead it must be encouraged. I challenge you today to play to your strengths and call upon the one living and true generous God!

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.