The song is implanted in my mind. I can see Mrs. Albright standing in front of us directing us with all the vigor she had in her aged body.
“Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” “We are jet cadets for Jesus.” “We are pilots for our Lord.” “We have heard the call for action.” “And we’ll serve with accord.” “Come and join our happy crew” “As we sail into the sky” “We’re on our way to heaven.” “And we’ll fly, fly, fly”
I was in the Jet Cadet program training to be a “pilot for our Lord.” As I learned and recited the assigned memory work I gained access to higher ranks. The focus was on being a good soldier, a good cadet. I carried this mentality with me throughout the bulk of my Christian life. It was the only understanding I had about this thing called Christianity. I had joined the Lord’s army.
A statement was made and another place of deception was exposed. “Believers know their identity, unbelievers don’t.” It should be how it is, but that had not been my experience in the church communities I had traveled in. It was not my reality.
I spent more than 40 years as a believer in community and had no real clue of what identity meant. No one spoke much of it. I heard of the love and the wrath of God. I heard what was expected of me, what a good soldier would do for his commander. I was to show up, be on my best behavior, follow all the rules. The commander would show up and give me my marching orders.
My understanding of it all was much like what I knew of the military. There was a commanding officer and there were different branches. Each had a role they played. I was in the Presbyterian branch of this great army. There was a pastor in place over me and elders and deacons set in place to protect the flock, which included me. I was merely a soldier in basic training. As I learned I would grow more skilled.
I memorized the scriptures I excelled at Bible drills. I learned my catechism. In later years I learned to have a quiet time in the early morning hours because that would prove my allegiance to my God.
I did all I was told to do and still I was so very lost.
What I needed in those years of following God I did not get. I needed to hear about what had actually happened to my life. Instead, I got a basic training regiment to make me a jet cadet for Jesus. As a result I was led into some of the darkest hours of my existence.
I entered the gerbil wheel of religious striving where my performance mattered. A ruler was virtually placed in my hands in which to measure my spirituality. Everything was about bringing God glory. I always came up short.
I’ve been in a process of coming out from behind the veil. Now that the religious shroud has been removed I can clearly see the deceit of it all. Years of taking in the old covenant with a little seasoning of the new covenant distorted what really happened on that day at Calvary.
A new way of living came to this earth. The old covenant with its demands and expectations was fulfilled, never to be lived again. It was sealed and put away as history. A new way began, one which involved a new covenant where all expectations for godliness was completed. Jesus said “it is finished” because it was. The works and demands of the Old Covenant are no more.
Christ, the living, breathing, complete God now lives inside me. All that I am not, He is. For many years I missed both parts of this gospel message. Part one was that I was forgiven at the cross, but part two is that I was made new at the resurrection. This is the mystery that Paul speaks of that has eluded so many of us for so long. New life, new identity, new dna where all the strategies and demands required of me are no more.
I no longer have to try to “bring glory to God” as a work of my effort. The glory of God lives in the very sinews of my being. I have been crucified with Christ. All the dead works of my flesh, the efforts and should’s and have to’s are no more. I no longer live, but Christ now lives in me. I am invited to live by His efforts alone. I am righteous no matter what I do because He made me right.
In that moment, when the resurrected Christ walked out of that tomb, a work began in me. It is His work alone. It is His to complete.
I am not a jet cadet for Jesus. I am the embodiment of the living God. This changes everything.
@copyrighted: Julie L Todd; 2015