GNB 2.85

April 12, 2023


Therefore, put on the full armor of God. In so doing you will be able to stand your ground when the day of evil comes. After you have done everything you are able to in that day, you will be able to stand [before the throne of God with humble confidence.]” (Ephesians 6.13)

Stand firm then [strong in the Lord and in His mighty power- re. verse 10], with the belt of truth buckled around your waist and with the breastplate of righteousness in splendid array, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6.15 italicized)


The call for peace in our world today is underrated. I do not mean that peace is underrated but the peace that the world calls for is underrated. Since the onset of COVID-19 and the implementations of alienation and isolation which were deemed effective measures to “treat” the viral epidemic, we have seen the fruit which those implementations bore on the trees of worldly living. They most certainly are not “the fruit of the vine” nor “the fruit of the tree of life.” I realize desperate times required desperate measures, however, I am not convinced (as the data continues to be revealed about the virus, the vaccines and the Covid Codes) that the authentic desperate measure was authentically considered and scarcely implemented. Just consider, for a moment, what would happen if people had put on “the full armor of God” and took their stand praying as those who were fully armed by God. I am not saying a mass healing, although I would not have put it beyond God’s ability to do what is certainly impossible for humankind. But, there would have been, at the very least, a sense of peace and calm and renewal and revival as the world has not seen since the world was the size of the Roman Empire. Dr. Charles Stanley wrote about the panic of the disciples who were caught in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a fierce storm. They panicked to the point of questioning Jesus’ loyalty to them and His compassion for them. They did not care in that moment about anyone but themselves. They weren’t even worried about Jesus except that He was “asleep on deck,” “asleep at the wheel” and “asleep on duty.” What they failed to consider was that Jesus was in perfect peace, resting in confidence and convinced of God’s providence of deliverance. Jesus did not fear for His life in the midst of storms. Later, when the eleven disciples were gathered with Jesus following the Seder (Judas of Kerioth had already been encouraged to complete his mission of revelation), Jesus promised the disciples the blessing of the same peace He had exhibited before in times of trouble and especially in the midst of the storms. He said (read from John 14), “Peace, I give to you. My peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives [that is, promises] you peace; but only as I can give you peace do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Easier sad than done, Jesus; thanks a lot! What, you would never speak to Jesus like that? Well, maybe not in so many words, but we all have spoken with that sentiment whenever a trial approaches, a tragedy rears its ugly head, a temptation crosses our path or a storm captures us in its fury. We have spoken it when a loved one dies (especially children…and for those with a heart- for the unborn.) We have spoken it when we lost our job (especially when we lost it for doing what was morally right.) We have spoken it when a trust was betrayed at any and all levels of human relationships (both interpersonally and intrapersonally). We have spoken it when we are weary and our guard is down and someone acts without any feeling about our need in the moment (even when what they were doing had nothing to do with us at all.) Trust me, we have all looked at Jesus and thought “Easy for You to be at peace! But, You are not us!” Except, Jesus was us. How presumptuous to forget the birth, life, death and yes- resurrection of Jesus in the flesh. Of course, He was, is and will always be “fully human and fully God.” But, how often are we so disquieted in our own lives that we cast our eyes on Jesus the Christ as One who is Spirit removed from the flesh? The psalmist David wrote, “Why are you disquieted within me, o my soul; we will yet again see our way into the House of God?” Disquieted is just another way of saying “without peace.” And the House of God was not merely alluding to the Temple in Jerusalem but the very throne room of Heaven. David’s psalm was messianic, prophetic and realistic.

But, is that the peace that we are seeking in the world today? Is that the peace that is promised by parents, teachers, civic leaders, governing officials, business empressarios and world rulers? What means do they implement to bring about authentic peace? No guns. No weapons. No shirts. No shoes. No service. Do we actually believe, and are convinced, that a disarmed people are an unharmed people? It certainly isn’t scriptural. It isn’t a biblical antidote to world conflict and spiritual warfare. Rather, we are called to be equipped as warriors with the full armament of God. Yes, the call which Paul extends to the Ephesian community of faith in Jesus the Christ to “put on the full armor of God” is actually to be fully armed for the battle which is waged by the enemies of God and humanity against the reality of peace. It is not a promise of peace, mind you; it is the reality of peace. And we know it is real by example. Remember the story mentioned by Dr. Stanley concerning the “accompanied” disciples caught in the midst of the storm? I say “accompanied” because Jesus was with them. He was asleep in the boat with His head nestled in the fishing nets. I am not sure how comfortable that would actually be. It probably was better than a rock. But, when you are tired enough anything will do for a pillow. And Jesus was tired. What? Wait! If Jesus was only Spirit, or as some are wont to say “God in a Bod,” then why was He tired. Isn’t He the divine version of the Energizer Bunny that goes on and on and on? Yep, the fully human Jesus of Nazareth got tired and for a whole lot of reasons similar to you and me. Yet, when Jesus laid down His head to rest, and I believe He was aware of the impending storm as a reality or a trial, He did so with the full confidence, complete trust and authentic peace that comes from knowing “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Jesus was “right” with God and “right with God.” God was not absent to Jesus nor to the disciples. Jesus never invited God into a situation. Jesus always understood that God was in the midst of everything everywhere Jesus was. He affirmed it in prayer, in word and in deed. The same is true for the disciples, if they would conceive it and believe, as it is for us, if we would do the same. And look at that peace which Jesus lived authentically. It calmed the storm and the sea. It healed the deaf, blind and lame. It caused the dead to rise and the demons to flee. It allowed Him to endure the pathway to Calvary with all its suffering and shame as He took up His cross and followed God all the way to Golgotha without crying out for mercy or uttering a false confession in order to escape death and destiny…for us! Yes, God was with Him all the way, every day. He is with us as well. We know this because Jesus said so and promised to give us the blessing of His Holy Spirit so that “peace, true peace” could be accomplished. It is “a peace,” as Paul reminded the community of faith in Philippi, “which surpasses all understanding [that humanity can muster.]” And so, as we put on the full armor and armament of God we do not go without the marching orders of “peace, My peace, not the world’s peace, but a peace that silences doubt and disables fear and promotes the confidence that God’s will has been done, is being done and will always have the last ‘Well done, My good and faithful servant.’” That is the “gospel of peace” which is to adorn our feet as we step out into the world to make disciples in and of all nations declaring ‘the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever of God as revealed to us perfectly in Jesus who is the Christ.’


O God, You have clothed us and fitted us to be Your people in the world. From the provision of sheep skins in the Garden to cover our “shame” to the blessing of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room to declare Your “claim,” we are ready to enter into the world and let Your Will not ours be known. May it be so today in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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