Rhythm. Cadence. Clicks. Rim shots. Clap. Wood block. Hit. Hut. Left, left, left right left. Odd-numbered counts to the left foot. Even-numbered counts to the right foot.
If you recognize the terms above, it is likely you were in a marching band at some point in your life, maybe in high school or college. I realize I am not the best one to reference these terms since, admittedly, I have never been in a marching band or in the military. Nonetheless, the precision of the military march has always amazed me. I remember the first time I watched the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band perform. I was (and still am) amazed at the precision of this nationally recognized marching band of 400+ members. The band marches as one unit — stepping, ducking, turning — all at just the right time and in unison without going out of bounds, yelling at each other, colliding or bloodying one another’s noses.
I am sure there is an art to the precision of a military marching band. But it also requires discipline, including following the lead of the commander. In the case of a marching band such as described above, the “commander” is the drum major on the sidelines with their arms going up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, blowing their whistle on cue. The drum major is responsible for starting the march, keeping the cadence and ending at just the right time.
Why do I start today’s devotional with this lengthy introduction to the military march? We have been reminded during our current series of the importance of making better decisions so that we have fewer regrets as we progress through life. This week, specifically, we were reminded of the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit that we can either tune out or be intentional to tune in.
I believe Paul envisioned a military march as he penned the following:
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
— Galatians 5:25
This is one of my favorite scriptures because of the powerful mental image it presents: me keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.
Just as the members of the marching band must exercise the discipline of staying attuned to the cadence established by the drum major in order to remain in precision step, we must exercise discipline to stay attuned to the Holy Spirit. This is part of the beauty of spending time with God, in His Word, in prayer and living lives of worship. Through so doing, we can have a deepening relationship with Him, know His voice, listen when He speaks, and then respond accordingly. When we are so attuned to Him, we are less likely to step out of bounds and thus make better decisions and have fewer regrets.