Today our military are considered the best ambassadors the United States has. Our brilliant soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen are not only defending freedom but they are bringing peace. For so many nations peace is a wonderful gift. Our military are messengers of peace, teaching warring factions how to live among each other, overlooking one another’s differences and focusing on the similarities that all people are endowed with by their Creator God: the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And while happiness is a wonderful emotion to experience, it is not endlessly sustainable. Too many people have yet to learn that lesson and they mistakenly replace happiness for joy. Happiness is based on your circumstances; joy is based on who you are. My family was able to experience joy in the terrible pain of losing Eddie because of one thing only: Eddie’s salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of our best missionaries are the military and Eddie was often able to share his faith in Christ with not only his fellow soldiers, but also the Iraqis in which he came in contact. Our military are not unlike the messengers in Isaiah’s time:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)
One of the least noticed pieces of spiritual armor and yet one of the most powerful ones is found in Ephesians 6:15:
“…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…”
The messengers of Isaiah’s time were barefooted runners, but our spiritual soldier of whom Paul speaks is wearing protective covering over his feet, of which is part of his spiritual armor. The Greek noun hetoimasia transliterated preparation is used only here in the New Testament and it gives the sense of “readiness.” Readiness is a big thing in the military; in fact units have to report levels of readiness and many are the red-faces of those commanders who reported the highest level of readiness only to be found unable to deploy during a real crisis.
Our spiritual armor has us prepared to go into spiritual battle with the gospel of peace; a peace found only in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And this peace is a double blessing. One thing that made my son such a ferocious warrior was that he did not fear death; he did not invite it, but he was not afraid of it. His brothers-in-arms, battle-tested infantrymen, would marvel at “Mundy’s” lack of fear. Mundy (Eddie’s nickname for his full name Edmund) would say, “Oh I’m scared, but if I die I know I’ll be with Jesus.” Amen.
The second blessing in the gospel of peace is just what Eddie would do; explain his sense of fearlessness over death. It gave him a platform to share the “blessed hope” he had in Jesus Christ.
Do you have that blessed hope? Does the gospel of peace shod your feet as you battle not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”? If you do not know about this gospel of peace, I would love to share it with you.
How about you Christian? Do you go into spiritual battle barefooted? Are you forgetting to “shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”? Has your heart lost its willingness to share the gospel with your “enemies”? Have you become comfortable with the thought of your enemy going to hell? One thing Eddie told me he struggled with was that as a Christian he knew that those men he killed because of their belief in Allah they were in hell. Eddie knew that he wasn’t the one sending them to hell, but it bothered him nevertheless. Does that bother you? Does it bother you when someone you despise dies and they go to hell? Did it bother you when George Tiller was murdered that he went straight to hell? It did Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad Tiller is no longer killing babies, but if I was to find my heart at a place where I was glad he was in hell, it would mean that my heart was sick.
Beloved, as we head off into battle let us securely emplace the gospel of peace upon our feet.
And to God be the glory.
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