Some 37 years ago, I enlisted in the United States Army. To say things were a bit different back then might be somewhat of an understatement. The biggest change which had recently occurred was that the Drill Sergeants could no longer actually lay hands on you; anything else was fair game. There were no limits, yet, as to what they could say or how close they COULD get to laying hands on recruits. Many were the times I wished they would have just smacked me and ended the torture; but, I digress.
The entire process is fascinating, really. All these kids would show up, from all over the place, in a strange place. They cut off everybody’s hair, gave them green uniforms, and suddenly we all were the same! Our first two weeks were called “total immersion.” The Drill Sergeant had to be there when we went to bed, and when we woke up. We did NOTHING that was not under the direct, immediate control of this fellow. We established earlier what “immediate control,” often entailed.
What was the point? Well, amazingly enough, the actual point was not to make our lives suck and torture us. The point was to, very quickly, change us from what we had been(stupid, soft, clueless kids,) into something new. The new thing was a smart(in the ways of the Army at least,) hardened, functioning soldier. It quite effective and crazy fast, in that this process happened in eight weeks. Anybody who stuck it out emerged a completely different person than they had been. We were still who we WERE, we had just been remolded and remade.
We no longer existed for our own purposes, but the purposes of the United States Army. We emerged soldiers. We were ourselves, yet transformed. Hmmmm.
Okay, let me say this first, so I don’t get in trouble. God is not frothing in our faces, making us do push-ups and run places. Nonetheless, there are some good parallels here I think.
We have to enlist in God’s service. We need salvation friends. Recruits sign the dotted line; we have to come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have to get immersed. Total immersion makes good soldiers. Total immersion makes good Christian soldiers, too. We need to immerse in the Word, immerse in service in a local church and immerse with our brethren.
We have to obey. If only each Christian would learn to obey the way raw recruits do, the world would again be turned upside down.
Finally, we have to go. Soldiers don’t take care of business laying up in a barracks. They go. They go to where the mission is, and they get it done. We need to go to where the MISSION FIELD is, and the Holy Spirit gets it done.