Day 1 – What do you have?
You always hear about these kinds of situations, but you never think it will happen to you. Here you are stranded in the middle of the woods with no clue where you are or how you will get back to civilization. It sounded like a good idea at the time; taking a shortcut through the woods to make it to where your family is vacationing so that they don’t find out you stayed up all night watching TV and how you overslept. What you did not plan for is having your car break down in the middle of nowhere with no signs of anyone for miles on a deserted back road.
What do you do? Many people would panic and break down in fear because you know you are lost and you know that no one will know where you are to come looking for you. However, that’s not what you do. You remember all the survival shows you watched on TV and all the wisdom TJ has given you over the years about what to do ‘in a survival situation’. You know that the first step in surviving any problematic situation is to check out your gear and see what you have and what you can use to survive this possibly life-threatening situation.
Survival Tool #1: Assess Your Situation
The bad news first; you have a broken down car, an almost dead cell phone with no reception whatsoever, a half-empty bottle of water, you are stranded on a deserted road that few people travel along, and no one knows where you are because you did not tell them you would be traveling this way. Now the good news; you have your vehicle for shelter, your luggage for extra clothing, your watch to tell what time it is, your pocket knife, and you do have some water left in a bottle that you can re-use.
With a clear head and some time to think you decide to spend the night in your vehicle to get out of the weather and use your extra clothing to stay warm. You also remember that there is a cigarette lighter in your car (thankfully you never threw the insert away when you plugged your phone charger in) so you can use that to start a fire and keep the wild animals away. Using your pocket knife you make a wooden spear (remembering to make it taller than yourself so you do not fall and stab yourself with it) for protection and some possible hunting.
As you survey the area you find some blackberries like the ones that grow in your back yard to eat along with some dry wood for making a fire. So with a fire made, wood gathered to keep it going through the night, your car to shelter in, some water to keep you hydrated, and something in your stomach for energy you settle in for a long night in your car hoping someone drives by to rescue you. You have kept a cool head and made the best of bad situation; you’ll make it through because you took the time to assess what you had and used it to your advantage.
Use Your Tools
Just like the things you had in your car to keep you safe through the night, God has given you resources in your life to walk solidly with him and grow in your spiritual maturity. These spiritual tools are unique to you alone and God wants you to use them for your spiritual survival in a dangerous world full of people who do now know Christ; many of whom will try and drag you away from following Christ. If you want to survive you’ll have to assess your surroundings, look at what tools you have, and use them for God’s glory. Check out what Paul wrote about this saying:
 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.  The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.  He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.  It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NLT)
God has given every person who surrenders their lives to him a spiritual gift. There are many different gifts but the point is not what your gift is but what you do with it. If you sit back and keep it to yourself you are missing out on God’s desire for your life. Not only that, but you are putting yourself in greater spiritual danger. Think of it as being able to build a fire but being lazy and not doing it. While you don’t have to do the work you miss out on all the life saving benefits of having the fire to keep you warm, cook food and purify water on, and keep dangerous animals away from your camp.
You need to know what tools you have in your life to survive in the world and to develop in your spiritual maturity. Just like you took the time in your situation of being stranded in the woods earlier you need to take time to assess what you have in your life to use as tools to be successful in your walk with Christ. Failing to do this not only makes spiritual survival harder but also keeps you from doing all that God wants you to do in your life. Use the space below to begin your assessment:
Write it down
Now that you know that God has given you these tools, write out what you have in your life that you can use to grow spiritually?
Also take some time to write out how you can better use these to grow closer to God below:
Take time to read the rest of 1 Corinthians 12 in your Bible. After you finish, consider this verse again:
 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)
Throughout the day think about how you are part of the Body of Christ and what you are doing to contribute.