Monday, August 31, 2009

Armour of God - Shoes of the Good News of Peace

Armour of God Part one, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 2c, Part three

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Ephesians 6:15)

There are so many ways in which to look at these words and I’ll take a look at as many as I can think of. If you can think of others, I’d love to hear them.

First, a bit about the footwear worn by Roman soldiers. They wore a heavy, leather sandal that was studded with hobnails on the soles for protection and for better traction on rocky ground. Don’t get ahead of me now.

Each day we get up out of bed and walk out into a spiritual battleground. And that battleground – the trials we will face each day – will probably be rocky to one degree or another. What kind of protection, if any, do we walk out with each day? Many a soldier has been stymied by inappropriate or poor footwear and increased casualties in war have been a result.

So how are we, soldiers in God’s army, to prepare ourselves to get through the battles that a day will bring as unscathed by the enemy as possible? This is where that “many ways in which to look at these words” come in.

1. We prepare ourselves by making sure that we are standing each day on the sure foundation of Christ.

We will walk through many types of terrain in this life – rocky, slippery, steep (up hill or down hill), dry, floods, fraught with traps, being surrounded by animals or finding ourselves all alone. None of us knows what a day will bring. But Jesus is our Rock. If we make the choice to intentionally stand upon Him as our foundation, He will carry us through in whatever trials we find ourselves.

And standing on the Lord means knowing Him through His promises, His warnings, His commands and the depth of His love for us through His Word. And God’s Word does not fill our minds and hearts by osmosis. We need to crack open our Bibles and read them. God’s Word and prayer are how we can “put on” the spiritual footwear we need to get through each day.

Remember, though, this is not meant to be a ritualistic, I-have-to-read-the-Bible today kind of thing. We are cultivating a relationship with our Lord. If you don’t love to read God’s Word, ask God to give you a love for it. It’s not just a book, it is God’s letter of love to you and God will use it to speak to your heart about the trial (or in many of our cases, trials) you are facing right now.

2. Daily maintaining a relationship with the Lord through prayer, and studying His Word, and asking for forgiveness of our sins so that we don’t allow those sins to become a wedge between the Lord and us will give us peace.

By continuing to abide in Christ we will know that we’re right with the Lord and that He’s with us in all that He gives us to do and in every trial we face His peace will reign in our hearts no matter the circumstances.

3. As we are given God’s peace, we can then take that peaceful spirit with us as we walk through each day.

I like the Bible in Basic English version of this verse, which says, “Be ready with the good news of peace as shoes on your feet;”

As we interact with the people God gives us each day, having been prepared by the Lord first thing that morning by sitting at His feet and letting Him speak to our hearts, giving us wisdom for the day and peace to lead us in our words and actions, we will then be able to effectively minister to others. Our kind words can be what gives someone else who’s having a bad day, or a bad life, the strength to go on another day.

(Let me say, too, that there are some people who believe that their “big” devotional time (and by big I just mean the main devotional time. How long that is is between you and the Lord) for the day needs to take place in the morning, and if you can and desire to do that, great. It can be a good discipline to do that if you know you’ll forget or won’t have the time or energy to do it later in the day. But if you can’t have your main devotional time of the day first thing in the morning, at least commit to starting your day by reading a verse and praying for God’s wisdom and direction for that day. It will set your mind on the Lord and your perspective on the things that come your way that day be godly and eternal.)

And others, believers and unbelievers, will watch us as we carry the peace of God through our battles. We can be a source of inspiration for our brothers and sisters in Christ to keep walking steadfastly in the trials they face, and we can be a light to those who have yet to know Christ as their Savior and Lord.

We can allow God to prepare us to bring the Good News of Christ - that He died on the cross to pay for their sins - to them as they see and desire the peace that we have, and we’ll be able to say that the same peace we have can be theirs as they invite Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives.

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Thanks for sharing!