Suit Up--Part 5


Every spring for years, my sons and I made a trip to the shoe store for a specific item--cleats. It was baseball season and my Little Leaguers had to have cleats to play.
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Being a supportive mom, I refrained from mentioning how few times they actually ran to the bases, scampered to catch a fly ball, or exerted such physical effort that sliding on the grass was a real danger. The fact remained: they MUST have cleats because that was part of the uniform.
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Just in case they got aggressive enough to race madly down the baseline, the cleats would help them keep their footing. How sad to watch the little guy in Barney tennis shoes take a tumble and be mercilessly tagged while he was down.
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God provides cleats for our spiritual armor as well. Ephesians 6 includes them when it says we must have "our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace."
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A soldier’s battle shoes were studded like cleats with nails or spikes to help him keep his balance. The last thing he needed during the heat of battle was to lose his footing. Once he went down, it didn’t matter how great the rest of his armor was, the enemy had him.
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To be prepared in battle, means you are always ready for whatever attack your enemy may launch. You’ve thought ahead, learned the enemy’s strategy, and have your feet firmly planted on solid footing. Your peace comes from the knowledge that your protection is assured. Jesus has already accomplished it for you. The battle has already been won--you're just holding the fort.
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Paul warns us in I Cor. 15 that if we listen to any other message, it is a false gospel. When we allow our minds to entertain other possibilities for salvation, other roads to God, we are on slippery ground. Wearing Peace Shoes means we have dug our feet into the deep turf of God's Word and are holding fast. Unless we go down, Satan cannot defeat us.
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Soooo...he launches a flaming missile of doubt: “If God really loved you, He wouldn’t have let this happen.”
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 But you are ready, feet firmly established, and you reply: “It is written, “All things work together for the good, to them who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
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Satan takes a stab from behind: “Remember what you did? You don’t deserve forgiveness.”
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With shoes planted securely in truth, we parry back: “I'm forgiven for that. It is written, Satan, ‘if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’”
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Or he attacks the very foundation of your peace: “You don’t really believe all this ancient nonsense, do you? Why is your way better than someone else’s? All religions have their merits. One is as good as another.” 
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 If your feet are not firmly established, you may feel them slipping from beneath you. “What if he's right? What if I’m following God for nothing?”
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But if you are prepared with the Gospel of Peace, you can dig in and slash back: “Satan, Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me.’ There is no other truth.”

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Shoes are also for moving. When we are properly girded and grounded in the truth of the Gospel, God expects us to go on the offense and take that Gospel of peace to others. Battle armor is not merely for self-protection, but to send us in after others who are going down under Satan’s assaults. 1 Peter 3:14-16 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
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When you are actively living out your faith and sharing with others what God is teaching you, Satan's darts are so ineffective against your armor that he may as well be using a Nerf gun.
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Peace shoes were not given to us so that we could simply stand there and wait for Satan to hit us. God wants us to go on the offense, driving back the enemy's attacks, and clearing a path for those still struggling to find God.
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So look down. Are you spiritually barefoot? Time for a trip to the shoe store. Dig into God's Word and learn the truth about who you are and where you are going. Then sink your feet firmly into that truth and you will not go down. You can't. Those aren't Barney tennis shoes you're wearing!


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