Have you been practicing keeping on your shoes of Gospel peace?
Dear BPCWAians, I wonder if you have been taking the armour of God seriously. I wonder what goes through your mind when God says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). Have the recent Lord’s day messages been just another series of messages to you that you just hear and forget? Given the powers engaged in the spiritual realm of our daily walk, I feel a burden to re-emphasize the seriousness of needing to persevere and to take heed to ensure we have on the whole armour of God so that we will withstand, and stand. Last week in covering the shoes of the Gospel of peace, we looked at at least 4 ways that can help us keep our fellowship unbroken with the Lord so that we will withstand the temptations of the wicked one and not fall. If I were to ask you now, do you remember what are the 4 areas mentioned, can you recall? I wish to recapture some aspects of these 4 points so that we have them in our hearts and practice them daily.
Confess and repent quickly. Sin is what affects our fellowship with God. To ensure that our fellowship peace with God is unhindered, we need to deal with our sins – immediately. When we do not, we will likely say to ourselves, “since I already sinned, I might as well continue to sin in this and that too”. Next thing we know, we go deeper into sin. The danger is not just that our conscience becomes less sensitive, but that we will become bolder in sinning. You may eventually feel “I have gone too far and there is no point returning, and God may not accept me.” This is the entrapment we must avoid. You can always confess immediately in your heart, on the spot, and repent by stopping and walking away immediately. And if you think God will not receive you anymore – remember that your relationship peace with Him as His child is permanent. And if you sincerely confess and acknowledge your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you. This is the power that Satan cannot fight against – when you treasure not having any sin that comes between you and your Saviour! Remember why Joseph resisted Potiphar’s wife’s advances is because he was so aware of and desirous of walking close with God in His presence and would not do anything that would sin against Him. King David was enjoying the peace of many battle victories and uniting the nation. But he fell when he enjoyed this physical peace and was not careful to maintain his fellowship peace with God when tempted by what he saw. If only he but confessed in his heart and repented by turning away because he would not want to have his fellowship peace with God broken by anything, he would not have fallen in that evil day.
Study to obey. Having ongoing unbroken fellowship with God means you need to know what is sinful in God’s eyes. You cannot know what displeases God and affects your fellowship peace with Him without knowing His Word. Yet, if we do not study to know because we want to obey and please Him, we will not change when God shows us what we need to repent of. Our studying is to please self, not God in such a case. If you treasure and want to enhance your fellowship peace with God, you would be studying and asking God what else you need to change and to show you wherein you have been sinning ignorantly so that you will please Him even more. And you will also be asking how you can obey Him even more carefully in what you already know. If you do not study for these reasons to maintain your fellowship peace with God, you will be willing to sin and ignore God when what He shows you affects your pride, your preferences, your wealth, your ambitions, your family plans, your comfort, or your friendships. In fact, some would leave church because they do not like what they learn, when that is in conflict with their own principalities which rule according to the powers of this world. So you see how the believer will fall eventually if he does not treasure the fellowship with God that is unhindered by any sin?
Be honest with God and self. Not only must you deal with our sins quickly, not only must you know what is sinful in God’s eyes, you need to be very truthful and thorough also. Honesty in our hearts when making a choice is critical to maintain a genuine unhindered fellowship with Him. We can rationalise, we can convince others, we can pretend that what we are doing is excusable, and we can even use other parts of Scriptures to support our choices – but God knows our hearts and motives. Who are we fooling but ourselves? Beware of making our conscience insensitive. The peace that the Gospel brings is not just a feeling. It is a knowing. It is knowing that there is nothing between you and Saviour. In other words, you know you have dealt with known sins that the Holy Spirit has convicted you of (because you have on the belt of truth), and you are obeying Him (because you have on the breastplate of righteousness). Be honest, we are very good at justifying our sins and ignoring the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Remember, the moment you start rationalising despite God making clear the principles of the matter, you are already loosening the shoe laces and the shoes will go off in a matter of time. Hence you will hurt yourself, slip, and eventually fall. The word “shod” is to bind. These shoes of Gospel peace are to be kept on tightly.
Treasure your fellowship with God above all else. Would you want to confess and repent quickly? Would you have no peace until you have dealt with your sin and gotten right with God? Would you want to know wherein you have displeased the Lord? Would you be sincerely honest about every motive, choice, and action or would you rationalise? Well, it all depends upon how much you treasure the uninterrupted peace of your fellowship with your Saviour all day long. This is the power of the shoes of the Gospel of peace. God saved you and reconciled you to Him so that you have the spiritual privilege to have sweet fellowship with Him, now and through eternity.
The power of the shoes of the Gospel of peace is found in being so deeply grateful to God for the relationship peace and in being so careful to maintain your fellowship peace with Him because you treasure it above all else. If you treasure this peace with God above anything else in the world, then trials and temptations will not shake you. This is the power that keeps you standing firm in these shoes, not backsliding, not slipping and falling, but standing firm, even climbing to new heights.
Yours in our Lord’s service