Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: 2nd Corinthians 5: 20-21 (MsgB)
We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God; He’s already a friend with you. How you ask? In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
In case you’ve just joined us, we’re discussing the pieces of armor the follower of Jesus is strongly encouraged to wear on a daily basis. In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul compared those who call themselves disciples, or followers of Christ, with a Roman soldier. In Ephesians 6: 10-18, he lists six necessary pieces of armor in this way:
The Belt of Truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness.
The Shoes of Peace.
The Shield of Faith.
The Helmet of Salvation.
The Sword of God’s Word.
So far, we’ve looked at how Truth, combined with Righteousness, offer the warrior of Christ a solid inner core; a center that is so tightly focused on Jesus of Nazareth and all that He has done on our behalf, that we can never lean upon our own strength or understanding ever again. As Proverbs 3: 5 states it…
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
But now, let’s move outward and talk more about the amazing commission of God that has been assigned to all of us who are embracing the Truth and Righteousness purchased for us through the work of Christ upon the cross.
In his second letter to the Corinthian church (5:19), Paul calls this commission we have been given, the ministry of reconciliation…a massive, world-wide undertaking from God the Father to tell everyone living on planet Earth that:
- God, our Creator/King, loves us dearly.
- As our loving Father, He wants to welcome all of His wayward children back home.
- As a pro-active Reconciler, He has made a perfect way for all that to happen!
If we read the Scriptures carefully, we find that this amazing message of reconciliation has first come to earth through the God-man known as Jesus of Nazareth…also known in God’s Word as the Prince of Peace.
You see, in this world we live in, soldiers who are working on behalf of worldly governments wage war by killing people and destroying property. Mighty warriors, from ancient times right up through today, have always been celebrated for their strength and ability to dominate over others…to win battles and destroy enemies.
So, sadly, when we find the word, warrior, being associated with discipleship (i.e. followers of Christ), it can often result in destructive consequences that most Christians would like, quite honestly, to forget! Probably one of the best examples of this “warrior” attitude that can worm its’ way into religious circles played itself out during the Crusades of the Middle Ages.
That’s why it is so very important that you and I fully understand and embrace the third piece of armor Paul describes in his list of equipment necessary for every warrior of Christ…
The Shoes of Peace.
As faithful followers of the Prince of Peace, it’s vitally important for us to pay strict attention here! Based on the current tension in our world today, where religious zealots are causing more destruction than good, if we don’t get this one right, our generation of Christ-followers is bound to repeat the errors of past generations…taking the Good News message of reconciliation and turn it into a bad-news proposition for anyone who decides to not receive it!
So stay tuned. As I see it, this is one pair of shoes that must be front and center in every Christian’s closet!
My prayer: Jesus, Your ministry of reconciliation is one amazing, life-giving work. May I be fully aware of and attentive to this ministry in a day and age where true reconciliation with God and human beings is very hard to find! Empower me, Lord. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What shoes do I have on today? Am I wearing loafers…kicking back with little or no interest in getting actively involved with Christ’s work of reconciliation? Or am I prepared and ready to slip on today the Shoes of Peace given to me by the Prince of Peace, Himself?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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