Friday, February 20, 2009

Standing Strong Against Warfare - Part 3

Moving right along in the Armor of God, the next two pieces we will talk about today is the sandals of the gospel of peace and the shield of faith.

Ephesians 6:15 and having shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace

We are to shod our feet. The Greek word for shod is "hupodeo" meaning to bind under one's feet, put on or bind on shoes or sandals. So we are to bind, strap on tight shoes so we have a good footing. We are not to just strap on any shoes but the ones that are completely prepared with the gospel of peace.

Chip Ingram describes the Roman Sandals in his book "The Invisible War" like this:

Roman sandals were strapped up to the knee and tightly fastened to the soldier's leg. The soles had knobs and sometimes nails protruding from them - an ancient version of athletic cleats. Alexander the Great is said to have invented these or at least championed them. He gave credit for many of the Greek army's impressive victories to the firm footing of its forces. When soldiers have a solid foundation, they can stand unmoved against their opposition. They don't slip or lose their balance very often if their feet are gripping the ground.

What Paul is trying to convey to us is this, we are to be firmly footed in the gospel. We must know what we believe and why. We are to be established in the faith by knowing and studying the truth of the gospel that the word of God gives us. Our roots must be planted deep, knowing what we believe so we can do what we are called to do, share the gospel with others.

Just like the soldier, when we plant ourselves firmly in the gospel, we won't slip or lose our balance. Our firm foundation will keep us standing when the winds of adversity come against us. If you have not already; begin a quest to know deep inside what the gospel of Jesus Christ is and what it means to you. There is great power and strength to be able to weather the storms of life when you have a clear understanding and trust in the gospel.

Ephesians 6:16 says above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Chip Ingram writes this about the shield of faith.

The Roman shield Paul is referring to in this scripture was about four feet high and two and a half feet wide. It had hooks on the sides to link it to other shields in a line so that in an entire row of soldiers could advance without exposing themselves to incoming arrows. It was common for enemies to dip their arrow in pitch, light them, and then pelt the opposing soldiers with thousands of destructive, flaming missiles. So the Romans made their shields with iron and two layers of wood, wrapped them in linen, and covered it all with leather. But they would leave a gap between layers so flaming arrows could penetrate far enough into the shield to be quickly extinguished. One soldier is said to have come in from the battle line with two hundred once-fiery arrow still stuck in his shield.

Paul refers to our faith as a shield to able to quench the fiery darts of the evil one. Sometimes the enemy sends fiery darts our way and we need to be prepared, shielded by our faith to keep the darts from penetrating or starting a devastating fire.

Sometimes those darts are just a thought or a circumstance that comes along. Other times they may come in the form of trials or tragedy. Any way they come, we must be prepared with our shield up and ready.

So how do we build our faith? By trusting in Gods character, His promises and His timing. We must learn who God is, what He promises and believe His timing is better than ours. As we learn Gods character, begin to see that He really is good and has our best interest at heart, we can trust in Him. As we trust, we must step out in faith believing in who His is and that His way is best even when we do not understand. Every time we step out in faith and God shows up our faith is made stronger.

If your shield of faith is lacking and needs to be built up, go to God and ask for it. He is faithful to give us what we need.

Lastly, I would add that just like the Roman soldiers, there is strength in numbers. When we as brothers and sisters in Christ hook our shields together we stand stronger against the enemy. It is together that we can make the greatest advance forward in the battle against the evil that is in and through our world. This is one of the reasons we are called to a community of believers. When there are two or more together in prayer, God says He is in our midst. We must band together in times of trial, hook our shields together and send our joint prayer up to God.

Our battle is not flesh and blood. The battle we must fight is better fought with other soldiers by your side.


Anonymous said...

good post...i can just see that shield with all those arrows stuck in it.

Josh Mueller said...

Why in your opinion does Paul call the gospel here "the gospel of peace"? Maybe he was thinking of the possibility of losing our footing due to Satan's attack in his accusations against us. That would probably be close to the use of "peace" mentioned in Philippians 4:7.

Or the focus could also be an evangelistic one with the shoes standing for the advance of the gospel, breaking into Satan's kingdom by its message of reconciliation with God.

A third option could be the "peace of Christ" in Colossians 3:15, and it would counteract then the quarrels and strife within the church.

Any thoughts?

Sherri Watt said...

Thanks Nancy!

Josh, Maybe it's all three... Hmmm
Great question. From most of what I have read, here is what I take it to mean. It is pertaining to the good news that, through Christ, believers are at peace with God and He is on their side. (Rom 5:6-10) It is that confidence in God that allows the believer to stand firm and know since He is now at peace with God, He is his strength.

What do you think it means?

Josh Mueller said...

Since he's mentioning it in the context of being prepared for an assault, I'm leaning towards #1 which fits well with what you just wrote.

Beth in NC said...

Hi Sherri,

I loved this post. I ask God to place the full armor on me each morning. I go through each piece.

I love the visualization of the shields linking together! I have often thought of an ocean wave. If we stand against the wave alone we are easily knocked off of our feet. If we hold hands, we have greater balance. We definitely need each other in this walk.

Bless you!

Tamela's Place said...

I have done a study on the armour of God as well and found that the soldiers would soak their leather shields in water prior to the battle so that when fiery darts were slung at them the shield would quench the arrow. They also would use oil to keep their shields from shrinking. Likewise our shield of faith must be soaked in the water/word of God so the fiery darts of the enemy will be quenched. The oil is symbolic of the Spirit. Our Faith is unpenetrable as well as supple and strong by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Some good stuff! God is sooo awesome! :)

Anonymous said...

Lone rangers make for easy targets in the long run. Who covers for them when they are tired? Who encourages them they are down? Being connected with believers of the same mind is important. Dress for battle and align properly.