Survival Skills

    I like to watch survival TV programs from time to  time.  Someone is placed in a wilderness or tragedy situation and then have to use their survival skills to get out of that situation. This article is about how to survive whatever circumstances you are facing.   One of the greatest survivors in Scripture is Paul.

I. Scriptural Basis: 

"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft."  (II Corinthians 11:23). 

"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one."  (II Corinthians 11:24).

"Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;"  (II Corinthians 11:25).

"In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;"  (II Corinthians 11:26).

"In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."  (II Corinthians 11:27).

"Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."  (II Corinthians 11:28).

"Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?"  (II Corinthians 11:29).

"If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities."  (II Corinthians 11:30).

"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not."  (II Corinthians 11:31).

"In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:" (II Corinthians 11:32).

"And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands."  (II Corinthians 11:33).

II. What do you need for survival in a hostile environment?

In the TV shows, the people find themselves in a hostile environment.  They are shipwrecked in open water or run aground on an uninhabited jungle island.  They get lost in a snow storm.  They are traveling in the desert and their car breaks down.  Their airplane crashes in the mountains. They face all kinds of weather conditions from flash floods to bitter cold and from blinding sand storms to hurricane winds.  They are subject to being attacked by all kinds of predators from spiders to poisonous snakes and from sharks to elephants. 

Some natural, basic needs are water, shelter, protection from the elements, food, and fire.  

III. Here are some basic survival skills.

A..  We need a good attitude which is about 90% of a successful survival. 

Fear, doubt, panic, hopelessness, rushing away without thinking can be deadly.  "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"  (Philippians 4:6-8).

B. We need to know some basic survival skills.  

Some training is significant. Although Paul was trained to be a rabbi, he retreated to Arabia to be trained of the Holy Spirit.  "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days"  (Galatians 1:18).

C. We need to know some sense of direction.

The wrong way may lead to death.  "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"  (Proverbs 14:12). In natural survival stories, people look at the sun for a sense of direction.  In the spiritual, we are to look at the Son of God, Jesus.   "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me"  (John 14:6).  The Holy Spirit also guides the Believer.  "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come"  (John 16:13).

D. We need a cause worth living for.   

Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you"  (Philippians 1:21-24). We need to live for the benefit of others.

E. We need to be able to use what is in our hand (a rope, a piece of plastic, a bottle, a battery, a tin can, or a rock).

First, we need to understand that God supplies all our needs. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 4:19).  Second, we need to look at what God has already provided.  "And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod"  (Exodus 4:2). When he obeyed God and cast rod down and then picked it up in obedience, the rod became the authority and power of God in his hand.

F. We need to be observant of our surroundings. 

We are both to watch and pray.  "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man"  (Luke 21:36).  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"  (I Peter 5:8).

G. We need to walk and work while there is daylight. 

Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work"  (John 9:4).  "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth"  (John 12:35).

H. We need to be able to work with a companion when possible. 

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.   Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?"  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11).   God created the church that we might work together and encourage one another.  Jesus sent the disciples out by two.  "And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits"  (Mark 6:7).

I. We need an emergency back up team.

"For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone"  (Psalms 91:11-12).  "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"  (Hebrews 1:13-14).

J. We need to have someone to rescue us at the end of the journey.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also"  (John 14:1-3).

K. We may sometimes need to travel in darkness to avoid the heat of the day. 

We need to know that God is with us. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me"  (Psalms 23:4).  "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me"  (Psalms 138:7).

L. We need to be able to signal for rescue. 

In the natural one may use black smoke, contrasting colors, a flashing light, help written, SOS code or horn.  In the spirit, we have prayer. "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him"  (Psalms 91:15).   "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God"  (Philippians 4:6).

M. We need to know what we can eat safely and what we can't.

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"  (Matthew 4:4).  The Word of God is both milk and meat to us.  "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"  (I Peter 2:2). "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able"  (I Corinthians 3:2). What the world offers is foolishness and harmful. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned"  (I Corinthians 2:14).  "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness"  (I Corinthians 3:19).

N. We need to look for roads or rivers to civilization.

"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps"  (Proverbs 16:9).  "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing"  (Jeremiah 10:23-24).

O. We need to know how to make a fire in hostile conditions. 

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire"  (Matthew 3:11).  Although the fire here may mean a testing, it may also mean something that consumes one's life.  "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality"  (Romans 12:11-13).  We should stir the coals of God's gifting in our lives.  "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands"  (II Timothy 1:6).

P. We also need to be able to continue after failing. 

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand"  (Psalms 37:23-24). Survival is a journey, not a leap of faith.   

Q.  We also may need to find some weapons to defend ourselves.  

"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"  (I Corinthians 10:4-5).

R. We need time to allow for  potential delays in our life as we travel though this hostile world.

The reality is that things don't always happen when we expect them to happen.  "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry"  (Habakkuk 2:3).     I often set up my schedule with just enough time to arrive, but then there may be some kind of delays.  Then I find myself is a rush syndrome and either overlook something or arrive a bit late.  Of course, God is always on time.  God gave me something of a vision of becoming a minister when I was a five year old boy, He called me more specifically in 1964, I received my seminary degree in 1970, but it was not until the early 90's that I got more into counseling and didn't get my PhD until 1996.