“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” Galatians 5:22
When I joined the military I was 124 pounds of nothing. I was told the military would change me and I was too young to even realize I needed to be changed. I didn’t even shave yet, but because my MCpl thought it important, I shaved every morning only to be chided on the drill square for misusing all the band-aides in the section first aid kit. Like many, my first three months in the military were spent in Cornwallis where I learnt much about life. Beaches aren’t meant to be walked on and every footprint cost 25 push-ups. Grown men do cry when a burly MCpl is barking in their ear because they can’t slow march. Eagerness to volunteer is rewarded by fire piquet at the base pool. When a superior tells you that you can call them by their first name, it will take about 500 push-ups to realize that the Sergeant is Sgt and not Archie. My time in the military changed me and now I believe I am twice the man I was before I joined (at least that what my bathroom scale suggests).
Joking aside, I can identify things in my life that was changed because of my time with the military. I can identify dates, people and events that affected me and changed my outlook, behaviour and even attitude. In second Corinthians we are told, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” So, we are told we will change, and I am certain many of us did not even know we had to be changed. In conversations with friends, we agree that Christ-followers like to say, “Jesus has changed me” and they can quote the various verses that state this will happen. But many do struggle to say what has changed. The Galatians’ quote at the start of this article, identifies the fruit that comes with being indwelled with the Holy Spirit. If you want a measuring stick of change in your life, look at each of them and identify where you are. We get all the fruit, not just bits of it and so if you do not see a change in these areas, speak with the Father.
We have been told that the military will make a man or woman out of those who join. Our prayer for our military brothers and sisters should be that we ask God to make a child out of them – a child of God. Many young people are signing up to serve this country and are being changed. Let’s be an agent for change and bring them before God’s throne room as ask the Holy Spirit to engage and change them. Ask the Holy Spirit to set them up for someone to come near them and tell them about the gift and change that God offers.