February 21, 2012 Ė Ready to Run or Ready to Stand?
15 And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of Peace. Ė Ephesians 6:15 NIV
The foot is part of the body that has several meanings in the Bible. Joshua had the Israelites put their feet on the necks of five kings to signify their victory over them (Joshua 10:24). Abigail fell down at Davidís feet in submission to have her husbandís life spared (1 Samuel 25:24). Jesus even instructed His disciples to shake the dust from their feet in rejection when towns would not welcome their message (Matthew 10:14). But one of the most prominent uses of the foot for the Christian is found in todayís verse.
Todayís verse is nestled in the midst of the full armor of God. I used the NIV translation as a starting point for a simple reason. When I first read this verse many years ago, I thought readiness meant that we had to be ready to move at any moment. Our feet are supposed to carry us places, right? I even thought that this verse didnít apply to me because I wasnít an international missionary. As far as spreading the Gospel goes, they are the only ones that I thought were really going anywhere. But as the years have passed, I have come to a better understanding of this verse.
15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. Ė Ephesians 6:15 AMP
In the times of the Roman Empire there were no fighter jets. There were no cruise missiles that could be launched and sent halfway around the planet. Matters were settled often by hand to hand combat and the Roman soldier was the best of the best. In their heyday, they would never give up in the field of battle. They would stand their ground no matter what.
Thatís what Paul was talking about when he talked about fitting our feet. It was about being ready for all of faithís challenges. It was being able to face any crisis in our life, relying on God, and never resorting to any worldly solution. It was not a call to fulfill the Great Commission all over again. It was about being ready at all times to stand firm in our faith.
Now obviously when Iím talking about standing firm Iím talking figuratively. Websterís 1828 Dictionary has a ton of definitions for the word stand. A couple of definitions that reinforce the standing Iím talking about are to be fixed or steady and to continue unchanged. Thatís what we have to be in our faith: unchanged and steady. We canít look at a state of readiness and believe that God would have us chasing every whim or fad that came along to supposedly draw us closer to Him.
I have admitted openly in past blogs that I have been an excellent runner in my walk with God. I chased after Him in every conference, revival, or church outreach imaginable. I had a readiness to go anywhere. But I lacked firm-footed stability in my faith. When conversations with both saved and unsaved people would turn worldly or even obscene, I would smile and say nothing. I never dealt with ungodly behavior in a godly way. Like everything else in my faith, I would run from the situation rather than dig in my heels. Sure, God would have us flee all unrighteousness (2 Timothy 2:22), but God would also have us correct our fellow believers (Matthew 18:15-17).
Now please donít think by any means that Iím being prideful. I do not believe that Iím perfect at all. There are still areas in my life where I need growth and need to stand firm. God continues to help me in those areas as I am sure he is helping you.
As for a solution, I have only one. Know the Word. Build yourself up in the wisdom and knowledge contained in the pages of the Bible. I know that everyone has a different personality and that dealing with others can be a difficult task for some. But there is a time in everyoneís life when they will have to choose what to do. The time of the ultimate decision, when everyone will have to choose whether or not to take the mark of the antichrist, has yet to arrive. If you canít handle seemingly easy faith challenges now, what will happen when your life is on the line?
What are you going to do? Are you running from one great faith builder to the next? Do you bounce from these things because youíre convinced that God has equipped you with a continual state of readiness? Or are you standing firm, digging in your heels, never wavering on anything that will challenge what you believe? The results may surprise you, but what you do will reveal how strong your faith in Him really is.
The truth is that there will be things that try to shake your faith. It can come from sources we expect like co-workers, television, or the internet. But it can also come from places we donít expect, like our church, our pastor, or even family members. My question is this: regardless of the source, are your feet ready to run or are they ready to stand?