During our All Church Groups Experience, Spiritual Warfare And Tactics, first we strapped on the belt of truth - our core convictions and beliefs. Then, we learned that when we wear the breastplate of righteousness through upright living aligning with God's expectations, it repels attacks of the Enemy. Now, we're ready to lace up the Boots of Peace! Peace is a sense of tranquility that we can have, no matter our circumstances. But, how do we put on God's peace when we face battles in our lives?
ATTACK: INVITATION OR INVASION
Often, the Enemy attacks through INVITATION or INVASION. We can actually let the Enemy come in, or he invades by going on the offensive with attacks. Ultimately, his mission is to disrupt our peace. See, Jesus endured constant attacks from the Enemy during his time on Earth, and he knew the Enemy would go after those he loved most. But, in John 16:33, Jesus promised us that there is HOPE for us because HE HAS OVERCOME the world. When you stand firmly in the Gospel - the Good News of Jesus's life, death and resurrection - it gives you power to resist the Enemy BEYOND your own ability. This is the power of Christ in you! Now, there are 3 key benefits to wearing the Boots of Peace:
#1) God's Peace Guards Your Mind
The battle for peace takes place on the battlefield of your minds. Thoughts from the Enemy will make you fearful... but God's thoughts bring calm and comfort. Satan tries to bring confusion and coercion... but God's thoughts bring clarity and direction. While the Enemy tries to fill your mind with thoughts of condemnation and discouragement, thoughts from God yield forgiveness and encouragement. To put on our authority against the devil's schemes, we need to TAKE CAPTIVE our thoughts and make them "obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). The next benefit of wearing the Boots of Peace is:
#2) God's Peace Guides Your Steps
Ever get in a habit of following your feelings instead of following Jesus? When we follow our feelings, we can experience a false sense of peace that takes us further from Christ's calling on our lives. So, how can we have REAL, Holy Spirt-led peace? Often, our prayers are for guidance or timing... a good way to look at peace in these decision is like a traffic light:
If your request is right and the timing is right = God says go.
If your request is right and the timing is wrong = God says slow.
If your request is wrong and the timing is wrong = God says no.
Using this framework, we can move from peace in our micro-decisions to peace in bigger issues. That's why the 3rd benefit shows us:
#3) God's Peace Breaks Down Walls
The church Paul wrote to in Ephesians 6 was undergoing an ethnic war: Jews versus non-Jews, or Gentiles. While outside of the church they were Enemies, through the Gospel of Peace Jesus created a NEW FAMILY where the dividing walls of hostility were broken down. See, the Hebrew word for peace is "Shalom." This word doesn't just mean the absence of conflict, but the restoration of what is broken. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." In our modern culture of conflict and disunity, wouldn't it be amazing if the Church was known for ACTIVE PEACEMAKING?
Guys, it's amazing how when our ultimate peace comes from Christ, we can have peace with God that guards our minds, guards our steps, and ultimately breaks down walls. Let's see how God works this week as we strap on the Boots of Peace in our everyday battles!