The Armor of God-Feet That Are Ready
The Armor of God-Feet That Are Ready
Opening Illustration: Boot Camp
Do you know where the term “boot camp” originated? Of course we all know about boot camp. There are people sitting out in the audience today that have been to boot camp. If you have been to boot camp or if you know someone who has been to boot camp, raise your hand.
Wow, that’s a lot of people.
Basic training is often referred to as boot camp. Boot camp is a place where new military recruits are trained. From the moment they wake up till the time they go to sleep, these men and women are trained to defend our country. When they arrive at boot camp, they receive haircuts, fatigues, and yes, boots. They get a new haircut. They get new clothing. They receive new boots. You can always tell a new recruit by their boots. If their boots are new, you know they have not been trailed. Whereas those training the new recruits have old, worn in boots. New boots means no experience where old boots means you have been to some places and seen some things.
One of my former students graduated from high school and immediately went to boot camp. I asked him what his first goal was when he arrived. He laughed and told me that he would not believe me if I told him. I pressed him for an answer and he told me that the very first thing he did was scuff and dirty up his boots. Why? He scuffed up his boots to give the appearance of military experience and education.
Over the past several weeks we have been talking about battle. Yes battle. Friends we are in a battle. No no a battle with physical boots. We are not at war with a human king or country. Our battle is far more dangerous. Don’t believe me, listen to Paul’s words captured in 2 Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…
In the first week of this series, we discovered that we are in a battle of epic proportions.
The next week, we begin to understand that God has outfitted us for battle. First, He has given us a belt. This belt draws all of our defenses together and holds our offensive weaponry together. Next, we learned about the breastplate of righteousness. This breastplate protects our hearts, gives publicity to our leader and instills a passion to see people come to Jesus.
Today, we talk about boots. After all, what good is a soldier’s uniform without shoes or boots. So, fill in these banks, we have a belt, a breastplate and today, we have boots! These are not just any shoes by the way. They have special purpose. These shoes are fitted with readiness. It reminds me of Joy Johnson.
So Far, Our Armor Includes: A Belt, A Breastplate, And BOOTS!
Illustration: Ready For A Run
Eighty-six year old Joy Johnson, a veteran of 25 New York City marathons, died with her running shoes on. Johnson, who was the oldest runner in this year's marathon, fell at the 20 mile marker in the event. She crossed the finish line at about eight hours. After the race she returned to her hotel room, lay down with her shoes on, and never woke up.
Amazingly, Johnson didn't run her first marathon until she was sixty-one years old. The only hint of the sport was the verse from Isaiah 40:31 which hung on the kitchen wall in her family farm home in rural Minnesota: "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Ironically, the career gym teacher, Johnson was a stranger to personal exercise until she took a three-mile walk in 1986. Then she started jogging and competing in 10-K races. By 1988 she had competed in her first New York City Marathon. Three years later she recorded her best time at age sixty-four with a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes.
A few years ago she told a reporter about her exercise regimen. She would wake up at 4 A.M., drink her coffee while reading her Bible, and then set out on an eight mile pre-dawn run. "When you wake up it can either be a good day or a bad day," Ms. Johnson said. "I always say, 'It's going to be a good day.'"
The devout Christian ran every day but Sunday so she could attend church. Johnson sang hymns to herself to pass the time while running. According to Johnson's daughter, "She was always a happy runner—and besides her faith and family, this was something she loved the most. She always had her shoes close because she never knew when she may need to take a good long run. She was always prepared to run.”
Did you catch that? She kept her shoes close because she never knew when she may need to take a run. When God outfits us for battle, He gives us shoe fitted for readiness. It’s a big dangerous world out there so we need to be ready for whatever comes our way.
Today we are reading from Ephesians 6:10-15.
-Written by Paul from jail.
-Written around 60 A.D.
-Written primarily for a Gentile audience although there were certainly Jewish believers who would have read the letter.
-Written to be an encouragement to all believers.
Ephesians 6:10-15 ESV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
God Gave Us Boots For…
Make no mistake friends life is a battle. Everywhere you turn, there is another war. We have wars at work. We have wars at home. We have skirmishes in the quietness of our hearts and minds. Some of us are very good at masking our battles so that no one will ever find out that we are really struggling on the inside.
Wouldn’t it be silly for a soldier to go into battle without the proper footwear? Could you imagine going into war without the proper socks or boots.
Illustration: Forrest Gump
How many of you remember the movie starring Tom Hanks called Forrest Gump. There is a scene where he and Bubba finally arrive in Vietnam and the meet Lt. Dan. Remember that scene? Lt. Dan gives Forrest and Bubba one piece of advice. He tells them while they are on the field to guard their socks and shoes. He tells them that if they cannot keep their feet healthy, that they are no use to him as their commanding officer.
You see friends, you feet were made for walking. Walking and going into battle is what you were created to do. However, if you do not keep your feet ready, you will not be fit for battle. If you don’t keep your feet healthy, then you will not be much use for our commanding officer.
Deuteronomy 5:33 ESV
You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
God Gave Us Boots For…
Now on stage you will see that I have several different types of shoes. You can see that I am wearing some dress shoes today. I usually wear these shoes here at church or when I am working during the week. Here are some tennis shoes. I wear these when I am walking or when I occasionally jog. Here are some cleats. Now, these are football cleats and this are some baseball cleats that belong to my middle son Jack. Notice that each shoe has a specific purpose. Notice that each shoe is fitted to a certain wearer. I cannot wear Jay’s shoes and he cannot wear mine. I cannot wear my wife’s shoes and she cannot wear my shoes. Each person has a specific shoe that is perfectly sized to them for a purpose.
Friends, God has fitted our feet with readiness. The important word here is “fitted”. God has given each of us specific gifts and talents. These talents are used to glorify and grow the body of Christ. Know that each fitted foot is used to aid God in building the kingdom.
It reminds me of when Paul speaks of various spiritual gifts and how each gift plays a part in the overall body of Christ. Flip in your Bibles to I Corinthians 12:4-19.
I Corinthians 12:4-19 ESV
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
You see, each foot is fitted with a spiritual gift that builds up the entire body of Christ. So, your foot may wear combat boots to do spiritual warfare. Maybe you are wearing cleats that help others hang in there during tough times. Maybe you are wearing running shoes that will help you and others persevere. No matter what your shoe is this morning, you’ve been fitted to work for God.
So, how do you know what sort of shoe you are? How do you discover your spiritual gift? First, spiritual gifts are given when we know Jesus as our Savior and when we are obedient to His commands in our lives. So, start there. Second, you can discover your spiritual gift by serving. Look for holes to fill right here in our church and see where God directs you. Pray and ask God to reveal that gift to you. Next, read God’s Word. Start with these Scriptures:
I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-31
I Peter 4:10
Take a spiritual gift inventory. Where can you find a good one? Just visit this website and follow the instructions.
I Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace…
God Gave Us Boots For…
I know that Paul is talking about spiritual warfare here. That is not in question. However, Paul suddenly opens the door to evangelism. Paul wants these believers in Ephesus to be fitted with readiness that comes from knowing and understanding the Gospel of Christ. This means that Paul is telling the believers that their feet are meant to go and tell the world the Good News.
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Christians, did you know that your feet were made to travel. They were meant to travel across the street, to your family members, to the state, the south, the nation and the world. God wants our feet to be ready to go at a moments notice. How can our feet be ready if we are delaying. Yet, that is one of our many problems. We have heard the Gospel call and instead of being ready to go, we are waiting.
A former pastor friend of mine told me that as believers, we are a lot like soldiers. Soldiers are often stationed in different parts of the world. These soldiers may stay in these places for extended periods of time. However, as soldiers, we must be ready when the commander says “pack up”. We are ready to stay but we can be gone in 15 minutes if necessary.
When is the last time you shared the Gospel? Are your feet ready for that is the commander calls and says, “it’s time”?
Romans 10: 14-15 ESV
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
God Gave Us Boots For…
Yes, God gave us feet of readiness for warmth. The Scripture actually tells us that our readiness come from the Gospel of peace. Isn’t it interesting that Paul reminds us that we are in a war. Yet, in this battle we are bringing peace. Did you know that perhaps the most valuable piece of weaponry in battle is peace. It is love. It is patience and kindness. It is in these moments of turmoil when we share Christ in the most real ways.
So what do you do when that person hurts you?
So what do you say to that person when they lie about you?
So what do you do when that person blasts you on Facebook?
So what do you think when that person turns your friends against you?
What about when your boss is a jerk?
Ladies, how do you handle your husband when he is a jerk or gentleman what do you say when you feel that your wife is being a nag?
Let me share with you a story from my own experience,
A week ago me and my second son Jack got into an argument. Jack is enormously head strong. I am not even sure now what he did but it went beyond making me angry. It actually hurt my feelings. I was so mad that stormed out of the house and slammed the door. I even said some things to Jack that I eventually had to go back and apologize for. Angela came outside and sat down with me and reminded me that I did indeed love Jack and that as his father that I was not going to give up on him at age six. She told me that my behavior was unacceptable and that I needed to remember the things that I preach.
You know what, she was right. I was wrong. I did not bring peace into that moment. I brought anger. Sure, I had had a hard day but that was no excuse for me lashing out at my children. Now we have all been there right?
Let’s look at what Jesus says about love and the presence of peace.
Matthew 5: 43-48 ESV
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Again, in Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
You see friends, when our feet are fitted with readiness of the Gospel of peace, we bring peace to every situation. Peace disarms enemies and shines the light of Christ in the darkest places.
Are Your Feet Ready!