Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
"And having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:15-17).
When Jesus commanded us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), He meant that we must wear spiritual "shoes." The "shoes" are what make it possible for us to "go."
In the expression "the preparation of the gospel of peace," the word "preparation" implies clearing a highway for the king to come, taking away hindrances or obstacles (Matt. 3:3, for example, "Prepare the way of the Lord," repair the road, the king is coming). Paul's idea is to have good shoes put on properly so there is no obstacle to hinder your mission. And the Good News of "peace" will open doors that are presently closed by prejudice.
Jesus knew that we would meet with opposition and suspicion. As we go to proclaim the last message of salvation, we must let people know that we are desirous of their best good. Here is where the message of health reform and medical ministry fit in with the proclamation of the gospel. It literally "prepares" the way. The idea of "a preparation of peace" is appropriate.
As Paul studied the armor of the Roman soldier going into battle, he judged the shield to be the indispensable article. Fighting was dangerous business because the enemy shot arrows tipped with fire and poison. The shield must be deftly maneuvered.
How does Paul see "faith" as analogous in spiritual warfare to what a shield does in physical combat? The shield is grasped by one arm while the other arm grasps the sword. The two are complementary--one is defensive in battle, the other is offensive.
When we are proclaiming truth there is a kind of spiritual adrenalin that nerves us, but when the truth is attacked and we are on the defensive, we are especially tried in faith. Are we sure we are right in our understanding of truth?
If you are a soldier in a Roman battle, the confidence that your cause will triumph will strengthen your arm which bears your shield. It will be more adept at protecting you from these "fiery darts." Confidence and trust are also elements of Bible faith. To "believe in Jesus" is also to believe in the triumph of His cause.
--Robert J. Wieland
From: Ephesians: You've Been "Adopted," 2005.
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