Something Missing from Safety Briefings - The Warrior's Journey®

Something Missing from Safety Briefings

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:4-6) 

Before every weekend, in the final formation of the day, commanding officers give their weekly safety briefing. He or she will tell their soldiers not to drink and drive, to wear floatation devices when boating or swimming, and “if you’re gonna’ have sex, be sure to use protection” (i.e. use a condom). I’ve stood and listened to this dribble hundreds of times, if not thousands. And it’s always made me wonder, “Haven’t you left something out of the briefing?” Why not tell your soldiers that the safest sex is no sex at all, unless it’s with your spouse?  Why not explain to them that “recreational sex” is irresponsible behavior and only fosters a childish and self-gratifying mentality. Why not encourage them to reserve such intimacy for the person they’ll spend the rest of their life with? Why are we setting the “morality bar” so miserably low? Why do commanders have such low expectations for their soldiers when it comes to morality and spirituality? 

“But how can I live without sex?” If you’re a Christian believer, you have God and God is all you need. What hunger or thirst is there in your heart which God Himself cannot satisfy?  What void is there which God cannot fill? Look at the promise of God in today’s Scripture. “Be content with what you have (or don’t have) because God has said, Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” You won’t die without illicit sex.  God will sustain you and so fill your heart with His presence that the need for physical gratification fades away. And by abstaining from immorality and adultery, you’ll avoid God’s judgment. Yes, God promises to judge all adultery and immorality.   

But the key to survival without all the world’s sinful props in our lives, i.e. in a figurative “desert,” is to sink your roots deeply into God. Be like the tree of Tenere in Niger. Before it was destroyed by a truck in 1973, the Tree of Tenere, an acacia tree in the middle of the Sahara Desert, flourished for centuries. No one could understand why, for there wasn’t another tree within a radius of 250 miles! But after it was destroyed, an expedition drilled down next to the tree to a depth of 130 feet – and still found traces of its roots! Now the tree itself was only thirteen feet tall. So it was ten times bigger below the surface than above the surface. That’s the way we need to be in our relationship with God. The biggest part of our life needs to be our relationship with God. We need to sink our roots so deeply in God that no outward adversity can shake us. Then Satan can send the fiercest desert wind against us, but God will still secretly nurture us. 


  • If God alone can sustain us, isn’t that the greatest freedom any of us can have? 
  • For, if God dwells in our hearts, who can deprive us of Him? 
  • Let’s draw our life, strength, peace, and joy from Christ who lives in our hearts. 

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