Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Armor of God: Talking boots or Mindset of Peace?

"And your feet shod with the preparation of the good-new of peace.' Eph 6:15
This is the fourth post in this series on the Armor of God and we're going to look what is probably the most poorly explained piece in the Armor of God.

Photo by Benjamin Faust, modified by DR
When Paul penned this amazing passage, he opened with a colossal truth saying that no matter how insignificant we may seem we are actually in a war fighting with the strongest spiritual powers! (this is post 1) The first armor mentioned is the "belt of Truth", indeed this is the foundation (post 2). Then comes the breastplate of Righteousness and it speaks about how we must guard our heart from guilt (post 3) whether it be from the sins of deep past or the blunders of the last minute.

Now we come to what I think is one of the most unclear pieces of the Armor of God. Many speak about boots taking you places and protecting your feet and though we get its importance for warriors of the ancient world (and also today's soldiers) what does this piece of God's Armor really mean to us, spiritually and practically, that is?

I think their are two key words that highlight the real meaning of this. They are "feet" (see verse A below this post) and "preparation" (see verse B). Biblically these two words always conceptually go together. In short, FEET transport you to a place so you can PREPARE the way for Jesus.

Sorry, but this terminology has been used so much that it still makes no sense to our everyday brains. How are my feet going to prepare anything for Jesus?!

The concept of preparation here is the one denoted to make ready all things for the arrival of a king. Like any government delegation or dignitary that goes to visit a country or whatever, many preparations are made in advance. In a way, this preparation is preparing the way for people to receive Jesus Himself.

So is this verse talking about evangelism?

Yes and no.

This is a very important aspect of the armor of God. It is speaking about your mindset and what you set your heart on. The fact is many people have a skewed way of looking at the world, as if no matter what they look at, they are looking through invisible glasses that taint everything they see in a certain color. Some people see life as one problem after another. They often think pessimistically, have a poor self-image, little confidence and do not dwell too much on God's love. In fact, that last point says it all - they doctrinally may say they believe God loves them but it has NO place in their day to day lives. Problems come - little, trivial things even - and they run around like headless chickens with no hope in the world to save them from imminent world doom. They suddenly go into complete amnesia forgetting everything they KNOW and have EXPERIENCED from God. (This state of being is one which might often describe me spectacularly, btw.)

This is the mind that is not really set on peace or Christ. Instead, this mind is focused on the works of the devil. I am speaking about believers in Yeshua here. We can be followers of Jesus and read the Bible, but all the time we are looking at life upside down. We see the proverbial cup half empty all the time.

The Gospel or Good News is 1) GOOD NEWS! Good news to the sick means what? Healing! Good news to the broken, sad hearts means what? Comfort and joy. Good news to the hungry means what? Food! And 2) the Gospel of Yeshua is one of Shalom. Understand that Peace in the Bible isn't a mere cessation or absence of war and conflict. It means wholeness and completeness and salvation and rest and healing and restoration and joy. In the Levant, we use this word, Peace, (Arabic, Salam or Hebrew Shalom) all the time, not realizing even how powerful these words are, in our daily expressions to say these things!

So this piece of armor is how you view the world and your place in it. Its about who you think you really are in Jesus and what He has done and will do for you. Its about how quickly you revert to God's love when problems come, how rooted and grounded is your FAITH in the INFINITE and UNCONDITIONAL Love of God for you.

If you have the right mindset you are always rushing (with the feet of your spirit and soul, if you will) into peace. You are thinking good thoughts and blessings come out of your mouth. Paul is saying that this is a defensive weapon that protects us and also makes way for God to work in people's lives including our own. 

Practically speaking, this means when you face problems you can easily reset your mindset and see Jesus with you, holding your hand and guiding you. You are not afraid of these troubles but you are at peace within because your feet are constantly ready to make way for the Lord in your life. So you are patient and calm and maintain your wits. And when people come into your life, rather than being judgmental you are compassionate and come alongside them. And that love and compassion will inevitably result in both actions and words of the Good News of Peace.

Friends, our thoughts and their consequent words can either contaminate our lives or greatly bless them. They are stupendously powerful in spiritual warfare. The spiritual war we have been speaking of really is for our hearts. So let us fight to remember His Grace, Peace, Rest, the Truth of how much He loves and how He gave Himself for us. This is a very important part of spiritual warfare.

Shalom! Salam! And Peace!

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A) How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” (Isa 52:7, Rom 10:15)

B) "A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." (Isa 40:3, Mk 1:3)

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