On Oct. 9, 2001, Old Guard 1st Sergeant Robert Watson stood rigidly at attention ready to receive a freshly folded American flag from the casket of a soldier killed by the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. But as a member of the prestigious detail moved to hand Old Glory to Watson, he refused to receive it. A small sliver of white was visible in the triangular fold. Only the blue and white stars should have shown. With his hand he could have covered the mistake and few if any would have noticed the flaw. But while the family waited and a number of VIPs, to include the Chief of Staff of the Army watched, 1st Sgt. Watson stood unmoving.
By his unspoken signal, the funeral detail refolded the flag. This time, the soldiers achieved perfection. Watson received the flag and in solemn respect presented it to the family of the deceased veteran. Amidst the pressure of a hundred eyes and the urge to quickly finish a difficult mission, he refused to deviate from what he knew to be right.
John 8:31,32--So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Imagine if Jesus found the task of being human tedious, too confining for One accustomed to omnipotence. In a nanosecond all power was His for the seizing. He could accomplish whatever He desired without any person knowing. Satan knew this, and directly tempted Him to use His powers (Matthew 4:3). Yet in doing so, He would have violated His prime directive. God sent Him to be the Son of Man, to endure what we endure—temptation and physical limitation. He obeyed His Father’s will thereby perfectly accomplishing His mission to seek and to save the lost. By keeping God’s standards, He lived a sinless life, giving us a way to escape our own corrupted destiny.
The temptation to deviate from God’s will persistently plagues us! Within us cries a selfish voice that rationalizes sin and self-aggrandizement. Don’t listen! What a beautiful testimony it is to walk faithfully, to hold to Jesus’ teaching, to abide by God’s holy standards. Adhering to what is right inspires those trapped by mediocrity. Safeguarding standards brings protection, confidence and the thrill of knowing we did what we were supposed to do—for God’s glory. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Subjective states must be tested and estimated and regulated by objective standards. This is the only safeguard against the irresponsible crowd of fanatics who live from hand-to-mouth in spiritual experience and get nowhere, and by reason of their own shallowness, end in contemptible disasters.—Oswald Chambers in Christian Disciplines
©2001 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)