Being the wife of a Vietnam Vet, I served during those years on the home front. I served proudly, alongside the best, including many POW wives. Many of us volunteer now with today’s military spouses—helping with our own brand of training while observing, often up close and personal, a much more difficult war with its multiple deployments and unseen enemy. I have heard it said that Vietnam vets serve so well now because they were so ill-treated back then—and they don’t want our current forces to experience that. Perhaps that’s some of it, but I don’t think that’s all of it—by any means. I think they serve well because it’s the right thing to do.
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“But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” — Acts 1:8
During World War II the Germans became suspicious of the improved effectiveness of British pilots, especially at night. The British had a secret that made them so much more powerful than the German pilots – a secret that they covered for a time by leaking false information that they were feeding their pilots carrots in order to see better in the dark. Their secret was a newly-developed system called radar. Radar helped pilots accurately find their targets and navigate through hazards. Once people understood how effective radar was, no one wanted to fly without it. Today it is so common place that we no longer think about how much radar is used.
Christians have their own not-so-secret weapon to help us navigate through hazards and stay on target – the Holy Spirit.Upon conversion, when we are born-again, the Holy Spirit is given to us—a gift. Unlike radar, He’s way smarter than us and there’s no limit to how far ahead He can see. Like radar, He is an essential element of our protection and if we choose to live our lives without His help, we are putting ourselves at risk. Unfortunately, like radar, we can ignore Him, which in effect switches Him off for us and we lose the benefit of having Him.
As a husband, father, and a member of the military, I have personally learned over time how important it is to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the prompt in my head when I am walking into trouble and need to turn the other way. He guides me in how to love and lead my wife and children. He is my battle buddy when I’m away from home and no one else is around – when I need someone to talk to, to keep me company, and to keep me accountable. He is the conduit through whom God channels His power for me to do the things I need to do at the times when I don’t have the strength to do them myself.
That can sound a bit fluffy or spooky if you haven’t come to the same conclusions I have. I’m a conservative person and a skeptic by nature, so this reliance on the third person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit, hasn’t come naturally for me. It has come through God’s patience and teaching through experience. I found myself in places where I really needed help, not just for me but also so that I could be the spouse and parent I needed to be. I needed help to overcome my own bad habits, help to keep going when I felt defeated by life, and help to choose wisely when things were confused.
I found that I could ask the Holy Spirit to fill me (meaning that I wanted Him to take control of my actions, words, and thoughts) and amazing things would happen. Not spooky or strange things, but real things in my life. I found that my behavior improved through no effort of mine other than asking the Holy Spirit to help me out. I found that my prayer was more effective in that I would ask for things and answers would come – not in a flood, but enough that I noticed things were happening. As I relied more on the Holy Spirit, regularly confessed sin to Him and handed issues over to Him, I saw God work in my marriage and my family more and more. Reliance on the Holy Spirit was no longer “fluffy”, it was just good common sense to use the power God offered me.
Jesus was speaking in Acts 1:8, telling His followers that the Holy Spirit would fill them with power and that power would transform their lives and the lives of others. To be an effective witness for Jesus, even in our own homes, it’s important to have our lives together. Not perfect, but together. I don’t know about you, but the whole reason why I trusted Christ with my life in the first place was because I can’t get my life together on my own. I needed His forgiveness and His atonement for my sin. If Jesus suggests I should tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to be a good witness to my wife, to my children, to my fellow military personnel, to my community and to the ends of the earth, that’s good enough for me.
Let me encourage you to not struggle through life with your radar off. Talk to the Holy Spirit every day. Ask Him to take control of your marriage, your family and your life—and see what God’s power can do.
Questions to share:
1. As a Christian, how would you say things are going for you in your marriage, your family or life in general? Are you defeated, stalled or winning?
2. If you’re defeated or stalled, chances are you need to ask the Holy Spirit to take control. What stops you from doing that?
3. Pray and ask God to help you understand the Holy Spirit’s purpose and to help you draw daily on His power in your marriage, family and life.