Jerry Duncan

Jerry N. Duncan, Ph.D., ABPP

High Altitude, Low Opening procedures in the military are dangerous, but effective strategies used by special forces teams.

The team is dropped from an altitude outside of radar range and waits until the last possible moment to deploy parachutes. The delay allows members to float helplessly at the end of open parachute for the shortest amount of time.

Erwin McManus, in “The Barbarian Way,” believes this procedure is a perfect analogy for what Jesus was saying to the inquisitive religious leader Nicodemus, who came to interview Jesus in a secretive nighttime meeting. Jesus told Nicodemus he must be “born from above” (John 3:3).

Our entry into a personal relationship with God is a decision to experience a H.A.L.O. insertion into a raging battle here on earth. The choice to genuinely follow Jesus is intended to be a birth into battle.

It will be a hard life. To live a life against the grain of a culture determined to make it through life without God is not easy.

To proactively fight the wrongs of our culture and our world will have a cost. To passively allow evil to continue around us, without being challenged, only appears to be the “easy” way. We eventually have to “pay” for our fear, selfishness and negligence.

But it is also a good life. In spite of the ongoing battle, we are promised and receive all the “ammo and food rations” we need to do the work. To experience joy, hope and peace in the middle of dark and painful times in our lives cannot be adequately explained by anything other than a supernatural gifting them to us. Your life will change.

You also will see the lives of others changed. If you have ever struggled with whether reading the Old Testament had much value to you, try reading it looking for how a new relationship with God changed people.

Gideon transitioned from being a doubter of God to a person who depended on God. Samson, a problem drinker, became a feared conqueror. David, a murderer and an adulterer, stood up for what was right. Moses, a fugitive for murder and a man with a speech impediment, walked in front of the then-leader of the world and demanded that he release millions of his slaves immediately.

A genuinely changed life is powerful evidence of God’s presence. If you are considering a H.A.L.O. drop into this mess, find some others who have jumped before you and hang out with them. Find out if it is really worth it. Ask them how their life has been different since they decided to move up “behind enemy lines.”

You will probably hear that it is not easy, but it is good. I am not sure why that principle is what it is in our lives. The good stuff typically requires time, effort, sacrifice and persistence. Being physically, relationally or emotionally fit requires all of the above traits.

So join the battle. McManus suggests you might as well join the fighting, rather than pretend there is no war or, worse, run and hide in fear and die a thousand deaths. Ready to jump?

 

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