Heart Meditations 13 - Footwear - David Mitts

and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Eph 6:15 NKJV)

In dark times, light abounds in Believers who choose to be light-bearers to a dark and dying world.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Rom 13:12 NKJV)

The terms “put on” and “cast off” in this verse implyintentionality. The intention is either an act of the will and disciplined practice or a result of interacting with and learning the ways of the Holy Spirit.

This relationship is described in Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12 NKJV)

The phrase, “living and powerful”, describes an interactive relationship. The opposite would be a static and dead relationship based on willpower. It is one thing to know and understand what is right. It is another completely different thing to live what is right. It is the difference between trying to live out of good and Godly principles and living effortlessly doing what is right as an extension of our being.

Take the simple concept of nutrition or exercise. We all “know” we should eat better and exercise more regularly. We live in a cycle of trying, failing, feeling guilt or shame and trying again. The apostle Paul describes this as the war between the law of our mind and what he calls the law of sin.

It helps to separate the word “law” from the communication here because the word law has come to be equated with works-orientedsalvation and its futility. There is no question that our salvation is by grace and not by the works of the law.

But Paul is using the word law in a different context. He is speaking about the system of authority and government operating in our world. In our world, we float between the system of the attempted authority of our mind and the very real authority and power of the flesh which he calls the law of sin. To bring this to a practical level like the struggle we all have with food or exercise or really anything we “know” to be important. We all struggle with ideals we have that we know to be an important and true and actual reality of our daily actions in those same areas. Paul tells us:

"For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" Rom 7:22-24 (NASB)

Another way of describing this is that I try with my willpower to change my life. I know what the right thing is to do. Yet, I find myself like a robot doing something else. To use Paul’s phrasing, I am a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my body parts. In this conflict, I feel that my own body is against me, what Paul calls the body of death. This is a description of the natural life of trying to live according to principles of truth. These principles could be the biblical Torah or they could be simple things like diet and exercise. The more legalistic I become the greater the conflict.

Into this mess Paul interjects the true solution:

"Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Rom 8:1-4 (NASB)

This is a description of the living reality of living in a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. This is called living life according to the Spirit. The challenge for most Believers is that we take the living reality and make it positional. By that, I mean that we read something like I just quoted about being set free from the law of sin and death and then we make that a belief in our mind with no real power in our life. Why is that? Because we are addicted to our will and the illusion that we can control our life by our will. And to be fair, we do have some measure of limited success in this strategy in areas that are not a challenge to us personally. Most of these we think are because of our efforts but the truth is that it is because of the gifts of God that operate in us and give us some measure of personalized success in the gift areas.

So, if we are prophet gifts, we might be naturally good at problem identification and solutions. BUT we may struggle with the alienation of others. We know we should treat others better but our impatience with the wrongs in life causes us to lose compassion for those we determine as weak. Or perhaps we excel in serving others naturally. We are good and discovering needs and helping solve them. BUT we may struggle with enabling the weaknesses of others and keeping them from developing themselves. I could go on and work through all the temperaments and the redemptive gifts. The point is that even our “natural” inclinations are God-given. So, there is no real willpower driven true whole-person success.

As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:12

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known." 1Co 13:12 (NASB)

Our “knowing” is in part and there is for us the hope and promise of complete sanctification or a full knowing. Paul gives us this whole person restoration in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will do it." 1Th 5:23-24 (NASB)

This is a powerful promise. The identification of God as the God of peace connected with sanctification is a key connection. Peace or shalom in Hebrew is the goal of sanctification. Life is a war between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. The master of darkness is called Adversary or Satan and conflict is his native territory. He lives off conflict. Polarity is his scheme to split people into us and them.

If we are at war with our brothers and sisters then we cannot truly be at peace with God.

"If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." 1Jn 4:20 (NASB)

In this sense, our relationships reflect our relationship with God. People in our lives and how they impact us, how we think about them, how we treat them, and how they elicit feelings in us and from us reveals the condition of our heart towards God.

Paul tells us emphatically:

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph 6:12 (NASB)

I know this verse has been the source of novels and movies with visions of war between angels and demons and I’m sure at some level that is accurate. But I think a more real level that is the purpose for the armor of God is dealing with strongholds in our hearts and minds that are the true battleground.

There are 2 words that are added to the verse that could be viewed as skewing its interpretation. I don’t normally comment on these additions, but I think these might be important. First addition is the word “forces”. The second is the word “places”. If we remove both words, the verse ends with our struggle being with the spiritual wickedness in the heavens.

When we consider that the “heavens” represent realms of authority which are expressed in thoughts and attitudes of being then the true force behind this battle is our own thinking. This is why the armor of God is really about our meditations.

Let’s look then at how to enter into peace. Ephesisns 6:15

"and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace;” Eph 6:15 (NASB)

Shoes and peace. Shoes are worn to match the occasion. The more special the occasion the more special the shoes. Sporting outings require different shoes than a formal event like a wedding. The more important the event, the more special the shoes.

Shoes also need to be prepared, shined or cleaned for the event. Even the nicest shoes, if dirty or unpolished, draw undue attention as being inappropriate.

The Gospel is represented as the Gospel of peace and is represented in this verse as footwear that needs special preparation.

John the Baptist, the Immerser, in comparing himself to Yeshua spoke:

"“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Mat 3:11 (NASB)

Yeshua’s sandals were the embodiment of the footwear of the gospel of peace. This is a deeper work than mere repentance. It is transformative. That’s why John said it was an immersion in the Spirit and purification of fire. Fire is used either to destroy dead works or to reveal true worth.

"“If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned." Joh 15:6 (NASB)

"“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap. “And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness." Mal 3:2-3 (NASB)

The baptism of fire is the cleansing and purification of our hearts that is the opportunity to come into true peace. Either we will allow ourselves to be purged by fire of our offences and the thoughts that separate us or we will be separated from others and ultimately from God and burn eternally. The choice is ours.

You see this gospel of peace that is supposed to be our footwear begins with us. Yeshua gives us the choice to act as He acts to forgive our trespasses and those who trespass against us or to remain in a war that will consume us in the end.

Like the sons of Levi, we cannot bring pure offerings in righteousness if we harbor secret resentments in our hearts. Let’s finish up with one verse.

"“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MURDER,’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be answerable to the court.’ “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be answerable to the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. “Come to good terms with your accuser quickly, while you are with him on the way to court, so that your accuser will not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will not be thrown into prison. “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last quadrans." Mat 5:21-26 (NASB)

This final teaching of Yeshua demonstrates the responsibility we have to change how we think about people. Our offering to God is really a reflection of our part of being Yeshua’s body. Since he offered Himself to reconcile us to Himself and to one another, there is no offering that includes disharmony with another. The people we are out sorts with represent the part of God’s love we haven’t entered into.

Activation: Think of who you are at odds with. See them as the of to the Lord. He is the door and the sheep enter in by Him. Whatever person you have kept at a distance in your heart is the Yeshua you have kept at a distance. He said what you do to the least of these you do to me. There is no harm or perceived harm that is big enough to come between you and Him. Ask the Lord to show you who is in the way and release them in word and in deed.


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