How do you know that someone is in the military? I mean, when you look at them, what do you see that stands out? What is the difference between them and the common civilian? You might say “Well, they are dressed different! They go on deployments. They also keep themselves in physical shape.” My husband served in the United States Air Force and I became quite familiar with the differences. I remember visiting him upon his graduation from boot camp. He was allowed to go out on a pass with me for a few hours, so we chose to go to the movies. As he walked in the building, he removed his hat. He then explained to me that every time he enters a building, he must remove it.
After boot camp and tech school, we were stationed on a base in New Mexico where I noticed many other things. For instance, my husband would wake up very early to attend physical training and then go to work afterwards. It was a requirement. He could not say “Well, I don’t feel like working out this morning.” Nor could he say “I don’t want to go on a deployment. Can I just stay here on base where I do not have to go above and beyond? I just take care of this little area?” He would be in deep waters had he ever done that. Living on base had requirements of its own. Everyday the National Anthem would play at a certain time and no matter what you were doing, you had to stand in place with your hand over your heart until the song was over. These are only a few of the requirements. There are many more. However, had my husband not done these things, could he call himself a member of the military? Before the military, he did not do these things, but after, changes took place and he did them all without question. The military has very little tolerance for those who do not follow the codes of conduct.
In thinking about the military, it reminded me a lot of Christianity. Many people call themselves Christians, but how can you really tell if you are? There is a question that you can ask yourself to be certain. Ask yourself “Have changes taken place since I gave my life to God?” How you answer that question is pertinent to knowing if you are in a right place. At churches across America, many people walk up to the altar and say the sinners prayer. It is a powerful, emotional moment. However, what happens after that moment is the real question. Does change take place? Are you a real soldier in God’s army? Do you follow the code of conduct? Would people look at you and say that you are different than the common civilian?
You see, much like a member of the military, Christians are supposed to be different! The military has its own uniform just as Christianity does. Military members do not look the same, nor are they allowed to act the same. Did you know that adultery in the military is a punishable act? If a civilian commits this act, they may have some broken relationships, but in the majority of cases, they will still have a job at the end of the day. The military takes such offenses very seriously. They expect more from individuals who put on their uniform. Much like God expects more from his soldiers. He expects them to look, sound and act different from the rest of the world. If often times you have people say to you that they did not realize you were a Christian, that says a lot about your conduct. The Bible says in Matthew 7:16 “You will know them by their fruit.” In other words, God bears fruit while Satan bears thorns. Which do people see when they look at you, fruit or thorns? Do they notice that you are different, or do you look the same as before? Now I leave you with the
following verse: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2