Jerry N. Duncan, Ph.D., ABPP

   High Altitude, Low Opening procedures in the military are a very dangerous, but effective strategy used by special forces teams. The team is droppped from an altitude outside of radar range, and waits until the very last possible moment to deploy their parachutes. The delay allows them to be floating helplessly at the end of their open parachute for the shortest amount of time.

   Erwin McManus in The Barbarian Way believes this procedure is a perfect analogy of 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 to us. Your life will change.
You will also see the lives of others changed. If you have ever struggled with whether or not reading the Old Testament had much value to you, try reading it looking for the 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 a very 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 life principle is what it is in our lives. The good stuff typically does require time, effort, sacrifice, and persistence. Being physically, relationally, or emotionally fit requires all of the above traits.
So, join the battle. Erwin McManus suggests you might as well join the fighting rather than pretend there is no war, or even worse, run and hide in fear and die a thousand deaths.

   Ready to jump?