A Soldier's Commitment
The passage below written by Ed Sherwood to share with his grown children. Ed shared this with me in a personal email, and I was honored that he did. I asked him if he was willing to share this on this website and he said okay, but wanted everyone to know this was a personal message to me.
Here is part of what he said to me:
"My getting wounded in Vietnam made me question what would I do with the rest of my life. I did not make any foxhole promises to God, and I did stay in the military. As it turned out, the commitment I made to Christ was the most important decision I have ever made. I won't push this with you, but did want to share it with you since it is a big part of my life."
I respect his words and his commitment especially since I made a number of foxhole promises ... few of which, if any, were kept. Ed, thank you for sharing.
John Herschelman 2 - 6
Jesus says His disciple must "take up his cross and follow Me" (Mark 8:34). By this, He means life as His follower requires total commitment even unto death. I "received" the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13), as my personal Savior at age 18. Only well afterwards, did I begin to understand the depth of Jesus' words.
Becoming a believer in Christ is not difficult. I understood the bad news of God's Word that I had sinned against God (Romans 3:23). I also knew that God's Word says the penalty for my sin against Him is death - not just physical death, but spiritual death, separation from God in this life and eternally in the life to come (Romans 6:23).
When I received the good news of God's offer of salvation in Christ by simple faith, it was a "free gift" (Ephesians 2:6-8). I didn't earn it, deserve it, or make promises to get it. I simply believed, trusting in God's offer and promise according to the Scriptures (Romans 10:9-10)!
That offer and promise of salvation in Christ is not only to me, but to anyone who accepts it by faith: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:16-18).
Christ paid for the gift of my salvation by His death on the cross on my behalf. It was without cost on my part. However, my life as a faithful follower of Christ has been much tougher than I could ever have known when I first received Christ. Over the years, I began to understand that Christ requires my total commitment. For example, in my youth at age 12, I decided to be a soldier. I knew little of a soldier's life. Only after entering the Army did I understand that training was hard and combat harder still. I completed airborne and ranger training, but not until I entered combat, did I realize I would be tested in every way - - and it may cost my life.
At 23, as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, I learned why combat takes total commitment. Physical hardship is only part of it. The mental and emotional stress of battle is much more difficult. The reason is simple. The enemy is trying to kill you. Your life and the lives of others are at stake. Good soldiers understand and accept this risk and make the commitment to serve faithfully even in the face of death. I was wounded along with many others. Many gave their lives. They were all good soldiers - faithful to honor their commitment of service to their country and to one another, even at the cost of their lives (John 15:13).
As I follow Christ, I know now He expects this same high commitment of me. It is for my own good, that of others, and His divine purposes. God's Word in 1 Timothy 6:12 says, "Fight the good fight of faith". The "good fight" is a life that honors Christ. No matter how tough my difficulties in life or whatever my failures or shortcomings, Christ asks me to lay down my life for Him by putting His call upon my life first. He desires that I follow and honor Him wherever He leads. It is often hard (Galatians 5:16-17) because the fight of faith is a very real fight!
I have needed much training to follow Christ. I cannot do it in my own strength. Training as Christ's disciple has taught me the importance of God-provided "weapons of spiritual warfare" (2 Corinthians 10:4). They are all needed to be spiritually strong in Christ (Ephesians 6:10-18) and include my love for Christ; my faith and hope in Him; living by God's Word; God's enabling Holy Spirit; prayer (faith's artillery); and the loving support of others in a faithful church (1 Timothy 3:15). As I am faithful, these weapons arm, strengthen and protect me in life's daily battles - - battles both within my own heart and in my outward circumstances.
At age 70, I know that following the Lord Jesus Christ is much tougher than being a combat infantry soldier in the jungles and mountains of Vietnam. Following Christ and growing in my love for Him is the most rewarding thing I have done in life. He has never let me down. He has never abandoned me. He has led me through all my life's trials (1 Peter 1:6-8). He always will. Through good times and bad, being a good soldier for Christ is my life's most important work, my greatest joy, and my highest commitment.
Ed Sherwood, US Army, retired - December 2015