Special Forces: Day Twenty-seven
Intermediate Training: Unit One
The Commander’s Open Door Policy
I can’t remember when I first became aware of an ‘open door policy’, the mechanism by which a soldier could express concerns or grievances directly to a company commander. Open door policies were designed to provide direct access to unit commanders when using the normal chain of command or established policies and procedures did not seem to be operating properly. Prior to such policies, soldiers rarely, if ever, had direct access to their unit commanders. The commander’s open door policy served to encourage the chain of leadership to operate smoothly, as well provided a ‘last resort’ in case of a leadership or procedural breakdown. Although in my 28 years of service I only remember going directly to my commander a couple of times in order to resolve issues, it was comforting to know that such an avenue for solving problems existed, even though the commander’s door was open to anyone and everyone only an hour or two during a normal week. After all, commanders are very busy persons and really cannot afford to be available to anyone and everyone all day, every day.
Similarly, after the children of Israel were led out of Egyptian bondage and God passed the Law down through Moses, God established the policies and procedures required to approach Him or enter into His presence. An entire system of sacrifices to atone for sin and proper protocol for priests was put in place, with dire consequences for violations of established procedure. Only members of the priesthood were allowed into the very presence of God and then only at certain times, in order to represent the common people, present sacrifices to God and receive atonement for the sins of the Israelites. After the required sacrificial ceremonies, which were repeated over and over again on behalf of the Israelites, the priests would bless the common folk.
Then came Christ.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:11-15 (NKJV)
If you read the Old Testament book of Leviticus, you will find that the rules and regulations surrounding the offering of sacrifices are quite lengthy. Failure to abide by those rules often resulted in death, such as when two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, offered ‘profane fire’ and were killed (Leviticus, chapter 10). Access to God was very limited and highly regulated. An understanding of those limitations and regulations greatly enhanced this man’s appreciation of our access to God through Jesus Christ.
Our Lord became the ‘once for all’ sacrifice for the sin of all mankind, past, present and future. Through the death of His beloved Son, God provided for our salvation and established His own ‘open door policy’, giving us 24/7 access to the throne of grace!
Jesus made it clear to his disciples that He is the door…
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-9 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)
The apostle Paul also described our access to the Father, as well as how we should use our freedom of access.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:18 (NKJV)
This is not a criticism of liturgical church services, nor is it meant to discourage corporate worship and fellowship. Rather, it is intended to cause the reader to consider the awesome nature of God’s ‘open door policy’ and encourage an honest evaluation of how we use our 24/7 direct access to the Father through His beloved Son. God has provided us with the ultimate ‘open door’, but it’s up to us to use it effectively.
· Do we approach God lightly, or with a sense of awe, wonder and humility that His goodness and holiness demand?
· Do we commune with God mostly on Sunday mornings and sporadically during the week as the need arises?
· Is our communion with God mostly about what we want Him to do for us, or is it a real two-way conversation in which we make our petitions known but also listen with open ears and eager hearts for His instructions to us concerning our quality of service to Him?
These are good questions, and we certainly need to consider them. However, our ability to enter the very presence of God through His Son anytime we want or need to is just part of the equation. The apostle Paul provides us a glimpse:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
In these few words I see the possibility of living in constant communion with the Father! Jesus died to give us access. The Holy Spirit dwells within us to allow us to live moment by moment in communion with God! We don’t have to limit our communion with God to certain times - we can live in His very presence!
Easier said than done. This old soldier is living proof of that fact. The first step, however is to accept the possibility. The rest is about letting go of self and surrendering all that we are to Him. A favorite hymn sums it up rather nicely:
Take My Life -Frances Havergal
1 Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
2 Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee; Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3 Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee, Filled with messages from Thee.
4 Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect and use Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose, Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5 Take my will, and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine; Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne, It shall be Thy royal throne.
6 Take my love—my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store; Take myself—and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee, Ever, only, all for Thee.