Walk in a Mannor Worthy of Your Calling
As we embark on a new year, our minds are drawn to new commitments, or even fresh versions of previous commitments. Whether your hope for 2018 includes a better way of balancing your budget, or simply finding less of you to balance on your bathroom scales, almost everyone is in a frame of mind to consider change we begin a new year.
This week we begin a series of four sermons from Ephesians 4 titled, Changed From the Inside Out. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul urges his readers “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). In other words, Paul is saying something like this: “So, you claim to be a Christian? Then prove it. Walk in a manner that is worthy of your calling.” How do we do that? Perhaps this illustration will help.
Last summer when I took John back to college in Virginia, we visited Arlington National Cemetery and watched the changing of the guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb Guards are part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Old Guard." Serving the U.S. since 1784, The Old Guard is the oldest active infantry unit in the military still in service. For every minute of every day, since July 2, 1937, the Old Guard has stood guard. And there is nothing casual about the way the work is done at Arlington.
When a sentinel comes on duty, he walks exactly 21 steps across the tomb, representing the 21-gun salute, the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary. When he turns, he faces the tomb, and remains in that position for 21 seconds. He turns again and walks 21 steps across the tomb. When he completes the short journey, he stops, turns toward the tomb, and pauses for 21 seconds. Over and over, the sentinel repeats the process, until his shift is completed. Strict training ensures that the guard will be unflinching and unwavering in duty, no matter the heat of summer, the frozen snow of winter, or the driving rain in any season. Most importantly of all, the guard will remain posted, and the steps will remain perfect, even when there is not another soul in sight, or when no one is watching to see if the sentinel remains diligent at midnight (Source: http://www.tombguard.org/).
Anyone who desires to serve as a Tomb Guard of the the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment is required to learn a new way to walk. You just don't walk the same way when it's your turn to guard the tomb. The same is true for us who carry the guard for the name of Christ. We revere Christ when we learn a new way to walk. Practically speaking, it means that we learn to live out what we profess.
It doesn't matter whether a crowd is watching, or if no one at all is watching. It doesn't matter if the watch is pleasant, or difficult. It doesn't matter about the circumstances, the physical, emotional, or even spiritual strain. Live out what you profess. Walking as a follower of Jesus requires a different step than the rest of the world.