Values and Standards
The apostle Paul makes us understand that as Christians we are soldiers in the army of Jesus Christ, (2 Timothy 2:3). Many Christians do not understand how an army operates, but they have certain standards and values that they adhere to for them to remain focused on what they do. It is through these values that discipline and order are maintained. A closer look at all the six army guiding values suggests that they originated from the Bible and the army has done well to abide by those values. That has made the British Army one of the most respected and effective armies in the world.
Unfortunately, it cannot be said so about the church even though what has made the army effective is the basis of the church. The army has learned to affect these values without the claim of God as sovereign in their ranks. There is therefore something the army can teach the church in this area and to do that, we have invited Sergeant Mike Holland to address us on the significance of values and standards in the army.
The army operates in teams and discipline and order are crucial for the army to remain effective, focused and united. The standards and values are the way to keep this important unit together and focused. Every recruit is taught these values and their significance as soon as they list in the army. These are also reinforced every year in order to remain fresh. There are basically six guiding values and standards and these are:
- Selfless Commitment
“The Army is about teamwork – none of us work on our own, we always work in a team: section, platoon/troop, company/squadron/ battery, battalion/regiment.
Teams can only be effective if we all play our part in full, putting the team and the mission before our own needs, trusting each other totally – even with our lives if necessary.”
We work as a team, a team that is efficient. Everyone understands what needs to be done and they just step forwards and get on with it.
The army of Jesus Christ is also likened to a body where every individual should play their part for the success of the church in Ephesians 4:16. This is evident in the army but lacking desperately in the church.
“Doing and saying the right thing –not the easy thing
All soldiers need courage both physically and morally.
Showing physical courage and risking injury or death to complete the mission is about controlling your fear rather than a lack of fear. Training and discipline will help you to do your duty regardless of the dangers and discomforts.
Moral courage is doing the right thing not looking the other way when you know or see something is wrong, even if it is not a popular thing to do or say.”
Jesus demonstrated to us by dying on the cross how far he was prepared to fight in order for it to be well with us. His challenge to the doctors of the law, especially when the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to him shows us that Jesus was courageous both physically and morally. The church ought to take back this courage and begin to do the right thing and not to remain silent were injustices are being carried out.
“Doing things properly and setting and example.
All teams need discipline. Discipline is vital in our line of work it means that orders are carried out and everyone is confident that they will not be let down by their teammates.
Self-discipline is the best form of discipline -doing your job without being told. It depends on high personal standards that will earn you the trust and respect of your teammates. It gives you the courage to make the difficult choices that you will face in your career. Discipline helps you control fear.”
The fruit of the spirit of self-control as propagated in Galatians 5:22 is about self-discipline and the army learned its importance quickly. Being exemplary are also values that are ingrained in the teaching of the Bible. Paul invites his followers to imitate him in 1 Corinthians 11:1. He also encourages the young Timothy to be an example to the believers in 1 Timothy 4:12. The classic chapter on examples of good examples was also written to Timothy in <a href=“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%203&version=NKJV”
“Integrity means being honest, not lying, cheating or stealing. If you lack integrity, your teammates cannot trust what you say or do; they cannot rely on you and your team will suffer.
You must look after your integrity as, like trust, once it is lost it takes a long time to earn back, if ever.”
Every soldier knows integrity. If a soldier is questioned “why are you late this morning?” he may lie and say his alarm didn’t sound but once you look him in the eye and say, ‘Integrity’ he will know what that means and then give the correct answer
Romans 12:9 onwards, amongst other scriptural references talks about integrity. The church will do well to understand this important value for trust to be established.
“Support the army and your teammates.
Loyalty is about supporting your teammates, looking after and helping them, putting their needs before your own, not letting them down, even when the going gets tough. In return, they will do the same for you.
However, loyalty does not mean you should cover up for illegal or unlawful acts committed by your teammates as that would show a lack of integrity and moral courage.”
Sometimes we confuse loyalty for love by trying to cover up for illegal and unlawful activities. We must be loyal to the word of God and reject anything that contradicts it no matter how painful it may be. The army does that well. Philippians 2:3-4 explains this point well,“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in low lines of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
- Respect for Others
“Treat others as you expect to be treated.
Soldiers come in all shapes and sizes and all deserve to be treated fairly. There is no place for any form of harassment or discrimination in an Army that claims to ‘Be the Best’.
Discrimination damages teams; it excludes members and does not give them a chance to contribute. The Army recognises the importance of humour, but humour must be inclusive. Humour that insults, ridicules or intimidates people is destructive and damages the team.
Respecting others is part of the trust that has to exist between you and your teammates; you must judge people on their abilities and not on their race, religion.
Respect for others, including civilians, detainees and captured enemy forces, means treating people decently.”
The army is a diverse Organization that allows all types of people so long as they are fit and healthy to join the army. They make sure that bullying and harassments, sexual harassment is dealt with. What is good about the army is that they try to deal with it at a low level. If you go against the rules you will get disciplined. That is how serious it is in the military. That’s why we have a good army because the discipline is there. If you fall asleep while on duty in delicate situations, you will do nearly 2 year in prison! The point of it is, if you break these values, you will go to jail. A sentence in the military is not a punishment but a deterrent. They want that message to go back to the unit.
This is how the army has taken values from the Bible and used them to build an organised, disciplined and effective army. There is no reason why we cannot have a disciplined, organised and effective church if we learn to appropriate these values in the body of Jesus today. My challenge to you is that you take time to look at these values and try to trace their source in the Bible and then look at your life to see whether you are in line. Remember that The Lord might not have a prison here and now to bring you to order but he certainly has a place for the lawless and disobedience in the end. He has called that place, HELL!
Check out the booklet A British Soldier’s Values and Standards
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