"Discerning the Times in the Light of the Word"
This excerpt is from chapter
nine of the book
SHOES and a HAT to Match!And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Shoes in ancient times were very
important. They were so important that they were the only piece of clothing that the
David grew up in
A person cant win spiritual battles without having solid footing either. The shoes of the gospel of peace are not just about us winning a battle and walking in salvation ourselves. Others are depending on us (though they most likely dont know it) to share the truth of Gods salvation message with them. The good news is that God has given us long-lasting, protective and anointed footwear for our journey here on earth! These shoes in Ephesians 6:15 are the finest designer model available! They are constructed for battlefield use, to protect and serve the wearer well in adverse situations; and unlike the type we buy at the department store, they only get stronger with use! They were designed to assist us in spreading the gospel and to enable us to defend the faith. They are not cheap shoes. They are issued free of charge to all who will pick up the cause and join the army. However, the price tag was more than we could ever afford ourselves, for these shoes were purchased with the earthly life of our Savior Jesus Christ. Wear them with Him in mind and with His Kingdoms business as their purpose. Walking in the power they represent is as if these shoes are sealed in His bloodno matter how hot the sands of battle might be, theyll withstand it all!
David has had the opportunity to minister
to the Boston Celtics,
Without any doubt, the most precious element in the protective or defensive suit of armor in biblical times was the helmet. It was often the difference between life and death in the close hand-to-hand combat that most battles were comprised of then. A person could be wounded in many other places and live, but a wound to the head could often spell death. The same is true with us Christians. The helmet is still a vital item in a soldiers outfit and just as it is a lifesaver in times of war, the helmet of salvation is a life saver tooan eternal life saver! It is no accident that God used the analogy of salvation being a helmet. The helmet symbolizes the protection of the most crucial things in our physical lives on earthour minds, eyes, earsand is related to the most crucial element in eternityour salvation. And take the helmet of salvation . . . (Ephesians 6:17a).
If there is any part of our walk with God that we need to take complete grasp of, it is our salvation. Countless Christians walk through their lives in abject fear about their place in eternity. How tragic. A person who is in constant fear of his place and acceptance with God will never be able to do the great things God has called him to. He will however, be exactly where Satan wants himpowerless, fearful, and usually silent. A person should fear if he or she is living in sin, but if there is anything that we have seen in our combined thirty-fiveplus years in ministry, it is that the church needs a good dose of just who they really are in Christ! If we realize the awesome nature of what God has done for us and then what He has commissioned us to do for Him, the effects upon the lost world and the kingdom of darkness would be staggering! Satan wants an anemic, confused church, one consumed with fear and filled with people who walk without the knowledge and assurance of their own salvation. This is not only the very heart of the issue of Spiritual Warfare for many; it is also the thread that sews the banner of evangelism as well.
Part of defending the faith (Jude 3) is being ready to give every man an answer for the hope that lies within us (I Peter ). Many Christians are lost for words when challenged about why they believe what they believe. Our lack of knowledge or inability to articulate our salvation to others causes us to retreat instead of going forward and taking back ground for the enemy. In short, we fail in perhaps the most eminent part of Spiritual Warfare simply because we are not prepared and studied in the very thing we contend is most important. Question yourself right now. Do you know why you believe what you do about salvation, the authenticity of the Bible, or even about Jesus and his death, blood, resurrection, and forgiveness? If not, you need to make it a point of ultimate importance and explore Gods Word and other study helps for answers. We guarantee that when the Mormons or Jehovahs Witnesses come to your door, they know what they have been told to say. Anyone whos ever had a conversation with a cultist knows they have it down, dont they? Either from being compelled to go door to door by man-made organizations or from outright fear that the god they serve will reject them if they dont, they are vigilant in their assault on neighborhoods worldwide. Here they come, spreading a false gospel with more zeal than we do with the real thing! There is something tragically wrong with that picture. We have the age-old, historic, Christian message to spread, the right and privilege to do so, and the ability to honor and obey God by taking it to whosoever. Why is it that cultists are seemingly more effective through being forced and coerced to come to our doors with their false gospels? Perhaps our inability to communicate the basic creeds of our faith is directly related to the shirking of our responsibility to go ye therefore as Jesus commanded us ALL to do in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:1920). Its again a matter of our lack of knowledge being perhaps the main detriment.
Spreading the gospel is the responsibility of every Christian, not just the pastor or evangelist. Once you have studied, prayed, and prepared yourself to do so, there is a supernatural phenomenon that takes place. Its called a smile! And a smile on the face of a Christian is certainly an act of Warfare against the Devils forces. Shouldnt it just be that way? After all, we ought to be the happiest people on earthwere going to Heaven! And shouldnt our happiness be like a bombshell to the enemy? You will find that though doing the actual work of evangelism can heat up your spiritual battles, it wont be a negative thing. The closeness and intimacy with God that results from sharing your faith will also bring you an unexplainable and uncontrollable happiness and satisfaction. This joy seems to self-produce and will make you like a beacon of Gods hope and love to a lost world. The closer we draw to God; the more yielded we become to His will; the higher we climb on the happiness meter! Our decision to be a witness for Jesus will position us to clearly experience what Nehemiah proclaimsthe joy of the Lord is your strength! This heaven-sent joy will result in your witness, both in lifestyle and in words, being far more effective as well. Are you getting this? The joy we sense in doing His will then spurs us on to more good works which will replenish the joy again, causing us to continue doing His will and so on. Remember it all starts with our decision to find our happiness in God by following the scriptural premise, This IS the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. Does your joy need a refreshing? If so, make the decision to start today!
All rights reserved. Copyright 2002, Eric Barger and David Benoit
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