We are all familiar with war. We have read the history books stained with the bloody battles of the past, statistics of lives lost and territory gained, epic battles and endless skirmishes. We have been devastated by news headlines, inspired by romanticized television shows, and stultified by video games.
We are all familiar with the military: Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Reserves. Monuments have been built commemorating lives, parades have been thrown, and a day in our calendar is set aside to honor all the men and women who have served.
As Americans, we have the privilege of freedom. Yet, rarely do we take time to pause, acknowledging those, in the armed forces, who seek to defend this sovereign nation. They understand, “the land of the free, and home of the brave,” in ways many of us cannot begin to comprehend. They’ve experienced what we see in the news, lived those inspirational movies and are a part of U.S. History.
But, what do the words --- free and brave ---- mean to them?
Matthew Wronski, Military Student Advancement Coordinator at The Master’s University and Hospital Corpsman: 3rd Class of the Navy, who served in Afghanistan, explained, “for a non-believer in the military, freedom is identified with American values and patriotism, and bravery, as performing your duty well in the face of danger and adversity.” He likened service to indentured servitude, “you’re contracting yourself, and sacrificing some of the same freedoms the average American has. You are checking some of your Civil Rights at the door and pledging an oath to be subjected to those appointed over you.” This is with the promise, if you endure, you will become, as the U.S. Army would describe: “one of the most dedicated, most respected soldiers in the world . . . protect[ing] America’s freedoms . . . always prepared to defend the nation in times of need . . . the embodiment of physical and mental strength . . . prepared to serve whenever and wherever you are needed.”
Isn’t this similar to who we are called to be as Christian’s? Indentured slaves to the King, being above reproach, prepared for battle by wearing the full armor of God, always ready todefendthe Gospel and bring it to a suffering and enslaved world. We are to renew and strengthen our mind according to the Word of God and serve “whenever and wherever” God, our Commander-in-Chief, calls us. We are to lead a disciplined life, one characterized by self-control and sacrifice --- the largest one being our own lives. Ultimately, as 2nd Timothy encourages, we are to please the one who enlisted us.
Wronski continued, “When you pledge that oath to be subjected to those appointed over you that also means submitting to unjust authorities you will encounter. When Paul and Peter talk about submitting to unjust masters, you understand that in a very real way. You understand just how difficult it can be, and how much you need God to do that well.” It requires submission and obedience, but also the ability to never compromise living the truth of Scripture. “You are working 24/7 with unbelievers, and the military is very secular; you will encounter a lot of pressure and persecution, which are only increasing. You have to look at it like a mission field, and there are a lot of opportunities to display your faith through your actions.”
Josh Glenn, a Master’s senior and ROTC member, is working hard be an example for Christ in the army, knowing he can only accomplish this if firmly rooted in the truth, something he knew he would receive at The Master’s University. “My ultimate goal is to lead soldiers to Christ. I want to become a Christian officer, fearless on the battlefield and one who’s steadfast and solid in his walk with the Lord. I want to be an example to the men and women I will one day lead. I want to be an officer of character, one who is reliable, knowledgeable of his craft, and a selfless leader who will take care of his soldiers’ wellbeing no matter the situation. I hope my soldiers will come to know Christ as they observe my walk with the Lord, and I will look forward to the times where I can teach them of God’s grace and mercy, showing them that Christ died for their sins and that there is eternal life after death.”
We are grateful for those whose faithfulness, commitment and sacrifice has been offered to provide the freedoms and security we enjoy. Their training echoes the training we have. We are enlisted by a Commander who oversees every nation, who sacrificed His own Son to conquer the enemy of sin and death, granting us freedom and the ability to bravely carry His banner of truth to a world warring against us.
This year, Veteran’s Day falls on the very week citizens of the United States of America exercised one of the freedoms our armed forces protects, the right to vote. Celebrate that freedom and honor those who have bravely served, fought and died for this country --- holding our lives and nation more significant than their own.
For information on our ROTC program go to https://www.masters.edu/student-life/student-advancement/military-students/rotc/or email Mathew Wronski at firstname.lastname@example.org