What Is Your IFF?

air-fighters IFF stands for, “Identification, friend or foe.” It is…“a cryptographic identification system designed for command and control. It is a system that enables military, and national (civilian-located ATC) interrogation systems to distinguish friendly aircraft, vehicles, or forces, and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator.” Soldiers on the ground wear IFF transmitters in their helmet and armor. Tanks transmit IFF signals as do planes and other military transportation. (I’m sure many other things, too. But, this description is just my puny attempt at explaining something very cool and complex.) This is helpful in so many ways. But, on Sunday dad was talking about C-130s. A C-130 is an enormous plane (think an elephant that flies)! One of the functions of a C-130 is to fly low to the ground at night and bomb houses, cites, etc. The pilots of these planes carry IFF transmitters and they look for people and vehicles on the ground that are transmitting their IFF signal. If the person/vehicle is blinking rapidly, they are a friend. This distugishes them from the potential foes and helps the pilots know where to drop a bomb and where not to drop a bomb. Fascinating Jess, but is there a point? Yes! If you’re flying a plane or driving in battle and you see a flashing person shooting another flashing person, what are you going to do? Nuke ‘em! The enemy may have taken a dead soldiers armor or even worse, a friend has turned into a foe. Dad’s question on Sunday was, “What is your IFF?” What kind of signal are you transmitting? Friend or Foe? If you’re a friend, are you acting like it? Are you shooting your comrades? Are you sleeping on the job? Are you drunk on the job? Are you representing the country you fight for?

Dad was preaching from 1 Thess. 4:13-5:10. Personally (though some of my friends couldn’t grasp it) I found this illustration helpful. What kind of signal do I transmit? What do other people see? What do I think/feel that no one else sees? I can be good at hiding what I think and feel. I can be strangling someone in my head and look fine to those around me. (Not something I recommend, btw.) So what does my heart reveal?

Sunday was encouraging and convicting. It was good to see where God was at work and where I had grown. The Holy Spirit was actively pointing to the things that I do right. That was so encouraging. That would no have always been the case, so it was cool to see where God had been working. I was also convicted. How often I “shoot” my fellow soldiers in my head. How I harbor anger and bitterness. How I judge self-righteously. And how I get “sleepy” on the job. I can serve out of habit, not actively being motivated by my love for them and my Savior. I go through the motions without reminding my heart why. I do not serve to be notices. I do not serve to be thanked. I serve because I love my Savior. I serve because I dearly love the people He has put in my life. It doesn’t matter if they don’t notice or if they don’t like it. Am I faithfully representing my King? Love should not be conditional, but tireless. Serving should never stop, never cease. It is the job of a soldier. But, serving isn’t motivated by duty. It’s motivated by the gospel. When I forget the gospel, when I forget my love for my friends and Savior, I serve out of duty. Then my guard goes down and I get sleepy. Joy is gone. Pride, self-righteousness, and self-pity assail my soul. I need to wake myself up with a strong cup of the gospel!

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