Keeping in step is a significant part of marching. It requires focus, an ability to listen and execute commands, and an awareness of those around you. Just like faith.
Marching in a formation is, by definition, and exercise in operational unity. There is one leader who gives the orders. He marches alongside the unit , calling the cadence and giving direction to the group as a whole. While marching, all commands are addressed to everyone, and each soldier is expected to respond with precision. The only time a specific soldier might receive an individual instruction is if he is out of step with the unit. You’re supposed to keep in step!
Today’s verse says KEEP IN STEP WITH GOD’S LOVE
Jude’s instruction to keep in step with God’s love follows a warning against scoffers who are determined to follow their own ungodly passions. When people focus on themselves and their own pleasure, it is always at the cost of others. Jude characterizes them as “devoid of the Spirit.” And they are seriously out of step with God.
When you are being led by the Holy Spirit, He is like the one marching alongside you, calling cadence. As each one listens and obeys, we are all moving in the same direction, at the same time and in the same manner. We move as a unit. The Spirit brings unity, singularity of purpose and operation. In order to keep in step, you’ve got to be aware of the cadence AND the unit you’re marching with; in other words – one another.
The bible has a lot to say about how we are supposed to deal with one another. God commands us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Most people you’ll see marching are going to be in a uniform. God’s people are instructed to put on a certain uniform as well. He tells us to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
It seems like love and unity are a major part of our marching orders. God tells husbands and wives to love one another and submit to one another. He tells fathers not to exasperate their children and children to obey their parents; both expressions of love. He commands us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, care for the stranger, provide clothes for those who have none, care for the sick and visit those in prison. Those are all acts of love and self-sacrifice. Those all cost time, talent and treasure. But they keep us in step with God’s love.
God also tells followers of Jesus that we are supposed to share the message of His love, and invite people to follow Him. At the age of five, a girl named Hannah made an insightful statement about her newfound faith. She told her mother, “I think Jesus has moved out of my heart.” With curiosity and concern, her mom asked where Hannah thought Christ had gone. She replied, “He has moved to my throat, because all I want to do is tell people about Jesus.” Yes, telling people is part of keeping is step with God’s love.
Interestingly, the word Jude uses for KEEPING IN STEP also has the meaning of guarding or watching over. I see a great parallel in the way we are called to KEEP the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. We must keep in step with one another, guarding our unity. That is how we also keep instep with God’s love.
Let us focus our attention on the cadence of the Spirit. Keep in step.
Church, FORWARD MARCH! And let’s work to keep in step, shall we?