I remember (almost like it was yesterday) the day I entered the United States Air Force. I had enlisted under the delayed-enlistment program 3 months earlier. For 3 months I anticipated entering the entirely different life-style of the military. I could only imagine what lay ahead for my family and me during the following 6 years. And looking back from my current vantage point, I can truthfully say most of it was extremely good.
It was a cold, dark December morning in
when my wife Connie dropped me off at the
enlistment station. Today was the day! It would be about 2 months until I would
see her or the children again. (That was the hardest part). After enduring hours
of more physical exams and signing papers we were off for Lackland Air Force
Base, TX for basic training. Jacksonville, FL
I could write volumes on my experiences during basic training, all of which laid the foundation for me to be an effective airman. But for time’s sake I won’t. For analogy’s sake I will move forward.
After basic training I was transferred to Keysler Air Force Base, MS for my training in electronics. There I spent a period of time learning the basics of electronics. After completing such a course, we moved into specialized training; training on specific radio electronic equipment the Air Force employed at the time. The type of equipment I studied and trained on partially determined where I would be sent for my first permanent assignment. In my case I was sent to
Let me say that Neu Ulm, Germany
was a wonderful place and presented some of the greatest experiences for my
family and me. We have nothing but great memories of Germany . Germany
I was pondering all the above recently and some questions occurred to me. What if I had signed up for the USAF and immediately sent to my first assignment…without any training or equipping? What if after raising my right hand, swearing in, and signing on the dotted line I had been put in a combat situation, or some other position crucial to our national security? Instead, the USAF invested a lot of time and money in me alone. This was to insure that when I arrived at my first permanent station I was prepared to begin to learn more!
The Apostle Paul said, “Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense?...” I really understand this portion of Scripture! It means the military puts forth the time, money, training, and equipping. It cost me nothing…but my entire life! For six years the Air Force owned me…24 X 7! For you followers of Jesus does that sound a bit familiar?
Jesus has paid the price. He’s covered the cost. And not only that, He provides the equipping. Our part is to give Him our entire selves! When a person becomes born again of God’s Spirit, He lives in them. The Holy Spirit within them becomes the teacher/trainer. And subsequent to being saved, when one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit He empowers and equips them. God never intends for a person to become saved and launched out without any training, empowering, and equipping. He provides it all! What do we provide? Ourselves…all of us!
Many times over the past couple of decades (or so) God has used my military experiences as analogies to illustrate His thoughts to me and through me. All throughout the Bible, God demonstrates his thoughts and His plans through the military. Take a clue from the military. God wants you…all of you. But His part is to enlist you, train you, equip you, and empower you! The result is that you will become an effective soldier (airman) in God's kingdom.