This month my husband and I are traveling back to the States for two months. Nairy Ohanian has sent an encouraging, strengthening word for all of us who are serving overseas.
Please, No Running Allowed!
Remember watching a baby learning to stand? Hesitantly he grasps any steady object beside him and laboriously pulls his weight up to a vertical position. Wobbly and clumsily, baby slowly lets go of the props and in wonder, attempts to stand all on his own. Those watching this exciting ordeal hold their breath to see just how long the wobbly baby can stand before tumbling down like a tower of blocks. Upon falling to the ground, he gathers his courage and tries again, hoping to remain vertical just a few seconds longer than before. After endless hours of practice, standing becomes second nature and then walking becomes the next life hurdle to master. But standing tall and firm is the key to any further action. As adults, standing is an essential aspect of our spiritual lives as well.
One of the most well known passages concerning standing is in Ephesians 6:10-15 and the armor of God.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
Recently, my pastor preached on the armor of God and shed some fascinating insight into the armor covering the feet. The footwear was no ordinary Roman sandal but a leather half-boot strapped to the ankles. They had exceptionally thick soles, heavily studded with nails. As you can imagine it was nearly impossible to run with such footwear. Even if the soldier attempted to run, he would falter and fall with such thick and rugged soles. But the half- boots were perfect for planting his feet resolutely in the ground, and remaining balanced for fighting or to advance firmly without stumbling. Further, these half-boots were designed to bring him comfort as well as stability. Paul calls these cleated half-boots the readiness given by the Gospel of Peace. Readiness implies firmness, and peace helps us to keep our ground (Rev. Curtis J. Young, Maryland, 7/6/13).