Summary: In this message we will look at the importance of being at peace when you go into battle.
The Art of Spiritual Warfare
“More Boots on the Ground”
In 1914 the United States along with Britain and 14 other countries, went to war in what became known as WW1. At the end of this massive war, four years later over 65 million troops had been mobilized. When the fighting was over historian estimate that up to ten million men had lost their lives and another 20 million had been wounded. Many thought it would be over in a matter of a few months and most of those involved thought that it would bring world peace. In fact WW1 became known as the war to end all wars. But we now know different. Since that time we have of course seen WW2, the Korean War, Vietnam, and continuing war in the Gulf. It sometimes seems that we are only a few steps from war at any time. In fact, we would be hard pressed to name any period in history when some country has not been at war with another.
And it’s very similar in the Christian life. It is difficult to find peace because there’s always a battle, there is warfare, there’s conflict to deal with…now I have some good news and some bad news I want to give you this morning….let me give you the bad news first…it is always going to be this way…..in fact the Bible tells us that it is only going to get worse. As much war as we face, as much tribulation as we see, the Bible reminds us that there will be an even greater time of tribulation that will be much worse. And until we stand face to face with Jesus; until then there will always be war and there will always be warfare for you and me. But the good news is this…though there will always be warfare you and I as believers can still have peace. Even in the middle of the battle.
Now Paul has told us that in addition to prayer, in verse 14 we need to put on the belt of truth…also to out on the breastplate of righteousness; as he continues in this passage he also tells to get a shield, to put on a helmet and to get a sword. All of these provide protection… He adds one to the list today and he tells us that in order to do battle we MUST have the right kind of shoes. And if we do we will experience peace.
Peace can be something/a word that is difficult to define but one thing is for sure, when you have it, you know it. It can be described as a feeling…. A state of mind…it’s like being free. Peace is freedom. One definition outs it this way. Peace is a state of freedom from (a) storm or disturbance. A variety of words we can use to describe it but as I said you know when you have it. Now I want us to think for a moment about relationship of the boots/shoes to the armor. Now listen. Vv. 13-15.
Paul says start by putting on (1) the belt of truth, which is Christ then (2) put on the breastplate of righteousness then (3) make sure your feet are fit with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
So what is he saying???
• Do not, do not go into battle without your boots. Never go in barefoot.
• Do not attempt to do warfare if you do not have peace in your life---because you will lose.
• Until you put your boots non you are in no way prepared to do battle
• This peace that the boots give us is meant to be shared
Now Roman soldiers which is who Paul was writing to here… they wore sandals…they were referred to as hob nailed sandals. They were like a pair of cleats that athletes wear…. they were specifically designed to keep your feet securely in place. Years ago in an NBA playoff game a player named Kevin McHale—he is now the head coach for the Houston Rockets –incredible player---but years ago in a game he lost his shoe. They were short on time outs so instead of stopping the game, he tossed his shoe off the court and they continued playing. The other team immediately threw the ball to the man that McHale was guarding and the player made an easy basket. Why? Because he couldn’t keep up without his shoes. He lost his footing. Listen, if you don’t have peace in your life---you’ll never make it in a spiritual battle. You will lose your footing in life.
Now here’s the kind of shoes the soldiers wore…as I said they were hob nailed sandals. They had a thick base/sole; made of wood and leather and they had spikes in them to give them extra traction---to give them a solid foothold. So when he was in hand to hand combat he wouldn’t slip…he would be able to stand firm. (v. 13) This meant everything for the soldier.