Phase V: A License to Learn!

Myth buster: Those that work around nuclear power do not glow green – they glow blue! (Just kidding!).

Beautiful – but deadly – blue glow (i.e., Cherenkov radiation) of an operating or “critical” nuclear reactor seen under many feet of radiation shielding and thus life-protecting water. The light is given off because highly charged particles of matter (e.g., electrons) around the reactor are traveling faster than the speed of light in water (the speed of light in water is 75% of the speed of light in a vacuum). While the matter of the charged particle can exceed the speed of light in water, the charge must travel at the local speed of light. This causes the charge on the particle to lag behind the matter of the particle with the consequence that photons in the blue to an ultraviolet region are emitted. Think of this as a photonic boom similar to the sonic boom of a jet traveling faster than sound in the air!

Those that operate commercial nuclear reactors must hold an active federal “Reactor Operator” (RO) license, and those that supervise operations must hold an active federal “Senior Reactor Operator” (SRO) license. The journey to obtaining these licenses typically takes around 10 years, beginning with qualifying as an auxiliary plant operator. This includes memorizing how the power station works and learning to monitor and operate plant equipment properly hands-on.

Once a person becomes a fully qualified and proficient auxiliary plant operator, they may be selected to attend a license class for approximately 1.5 years. They will undergo rigorous classroom and reactor control room simulator training (1) 40+ hours per week. The courses start with the fundamentals of engineering, after which they will have to pass an exhausting full-day written exam administered by the federal government. Successful candidates continue on this journey, culminating in taking another exhausting federal government-administered full-day written exam to demonstrate they have adequate knowledge of plant design and operation. Furthermore, they have to pass a federal government reactor control room simulator performance exam where they demonstrate that they can safely operate/supervise the operation of the nuclear reactor under the best and worst of conditions. Lastly, they have given a federal government oral exam while walking through the actual power station to ensure they thoroughly know and understand it. The successful candidate will then receive a federal license to operate the power station that they qualified on.

Then starts the journey to maintain this licensee, which entails returning to the classroom and simulator training/evaluation for one week every five weeks! The initial 1.5 years long arduous training ensured that newly licensed operators were safe to the public and themselves. However, they will continue to learn and mature, asymptotically approaching perfection, as they spend time operating the actual reactor and returning to classroom and simulator training/evaluation every five weeks over their careers.

During this continuing training, they will primarily receive training and evaluation on what they initially learned in the 1.5-year-long class so they do not forget. Because the graduates of the 1.5-year initial program continue to grow and mature as ROs and SROs in the continuing training program, the initial granting of the license has often been referred to as receiving “a license to learn.”

Phase V: “A License to Learn” Christian (Philippians 3:11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.)

In Phase I of our spiritual journey, we began to know in whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12), leading to the experiencing of His power in Phase II (Acts 1:8), followed by suffering designed to form the character of Christ in Phase III (Romans 5:3,4). We were conformed to His (Jesus’) death to self in Phase IV (Galatians 2:20).

The last phase has taken place after our flesh is dead, and then we partake of the resurrection of Christ Jesus (Phase V).

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1–3 NET)
But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24 NET)
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NET)

Now instead of us operating the power of God through His Word (Phase II) – the Word (Jesus) operates the power of God through us.

But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say. In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know—this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power. For David says about him, ‘I saw the Lord always in front of me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body also will live in hope, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor permit your Holy One to experience decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence.’ “Brothers, I can speak confidently to you about our forefather David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. So then, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay. This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it. So then, exalted to the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out what you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. (Acts 2:14–41 NET)
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets, and put them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow would fall on some of them. A crowd of people from the towns around Jerusalem also came together, bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits. They were all being healed. (Acts 5:15–16 NET)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message. (Acts 10:44 NET)
Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:29 NET)

Consequently, the “Heavenly Glow” of the Glory of God is evident in our lives to those around us.

Now when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand—when he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. (Exodus 34:29 NET)
Who is a wise person? Who knows the solution to a problem? A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, and softens his harsh countenance. (Ecclesiastes 8:1 NET)
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13 NET)
But when they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you must say.” (Luke 12:11–12 NET)
Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NET)

Furthermore, we developed an intimate relationship with God our Father during our journey.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. (John 14:23 NET)
And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. (Hebrews 12:5–13 NET) 

This intimate relationship with God our Father facilitated the removal of Satanic strongholds from our lives.

for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NET)
So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NET)
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, (Philippians 2:12 NET)

We have entered the rest of God, having learned to cease doing things in our ability (i.e., producing dead works).

Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. (Hebrews 4:9–10 NET)

Now having submitted to God’s will and destiny for our lives, we find the peace of God that passes all understanding even in the midst of turmoil.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28–30 NET)
Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7 NET)

In addition, we have learned the secret to obtaining the promises of God is to patiently maintain our faith in them even while experiencing protracted suffering.

But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11,12 NET)
For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:36 NET)

For it was through the promises of God that we were able to take on the nature of God having escaped the things of this world.

I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. (2 Peter 1:3–4 NET)
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28–30 NET)

Through the suffering, we develop perseverance as our eyes are on Jesus and not the circumstances engulfing us.

Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3–5 NET)

We have learned that nothing, not even suffering, can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39 NET)

We have learned that every victory we have is not in our ability but simply Jesus sharing with us the victory over all sin and its effects that He obtained for us at the Cross of Calvary by His death and resurrection!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:57 NET)

However, this does not mean we are fully mature, perfect or that we will not have to go through any more suffering. It does mean that we have proven that we can be trusted to have the power of God increased in our lives.

We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:6 NET)

This is because we had to learn to be obedient to God to overcome the things that caused the suffering in Phases III and IV.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8 NET)
And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:32 NET)

Consequently, we have demonstrated we will be safe to ourselves and others by passing the tests of the first four phases of Spiritual Growth. That is, we have been found faithful!

Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2 NET)

In a manner of speaking, we have been given a license to learn!

We are no longer “Christians in Training” but are rather “Licensed Professional” Christians using the analogy of an engineer’s journey. We will continue to re-experience things in this last phase that we learned in the initial training (i.e., the first four phases) so that we do not forget.

Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1 NET)

And so that we will continue to mature as we asymptotically approach perfection.

We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28 NET)
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. (Ephesians 4:13 NET)
For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. (James 3:2 NET)

However, since we have previously passed similar tests in Phases III and IV, they will have more confidence that we can pass all future tests, and they will serve to remind us of how our God delivered us before thus continuing to deepen our loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47 NET)
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. (Romans 8:17–18 NET)

Christians in Phase V have come to understand that our time on Earth is practice for the eternal age to come and weigh every decision in light of this fact as the journey continues.

Therefore be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15–17 NET)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NET)
Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.
Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen. (Jude 24–25 NET)
... “See to it that you complete the ministry you received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:17 b NET)
But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5 NET)
The Five Phases of Spiritual Growth Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

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Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home. 

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