Climbing the staircase to LTC Mark Armstrong’s office one cannot help but notice the words painted between steps: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage. These are seven key values the Army seeks to instill in all its soldiers. They are values that Mark takes seriously as the Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion of the 46th Infantry.
Young men from around the nation assemble at Fort Knox, Kentucky. They enter companies a motley meld of self-centered individuals. Those who graduate Basic Training nine weeks later emerge as team-oriented soldiers, radically transformed before the eyes of their incredulous parents and friends.
Mark, ascertains first-hand why values are important. Each day he watches drill instructors work with men who often come from broken families. He sees self-centered rookies; grown children unaccustomed to persevering through adversity; privates whose idea of loyalty is looking out for #1; individuals who can barely define integrity or exemplify honor. If these men refused the challenge of embracing values or were part of an organization without a moral compass, they would help create a treacherous society bent on feeding untamed lusts. It is no wonder this seasoned officer’s eyes fill with tears. He can share countless stories of changed lives. He cherishes imparting truth to a generation fed on materialism, relativism and intolerance for pain. He understands why it is necessary for soldiers to obediently low crawl in mud below barbed wire while life-ending tracers whiz overhead. He knows what happens at the other end.
Hebrews 12:4-6--In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives
Values are not priceless because they come easy. We do not become godly by being lazy or righteous by pleasing our flesh. If we are serious about loving God, He will seriously work to test our mettle, to break what is corrupted to create what is incorruptible. Jesus taught that we must be robed in self-denial and refuse to leave the narrow path no matter how easy the broad road looks. Did Jesus struggle? Ask the centurion who watched Him die. Was His sacrifice worth it? Ask the sinner who understands what it means to be pardoned and given eternal life.
If you make a moral struggle and gain a moral victory, you will be a benefit to all you come across.—Oswald Chambers in The Place of Help
©2000 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)