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The Shoes Make the Difference

It’s ironic that I’ve been planning for awhile to write this blog. You see, I’ve recently gone through all of my previous blogs to clean up a few things, and I reread in the Marathon Series just how many times I expressed to you my personal and utter dislike for running in any way, shape or form.

So...guess what I’ve been doing for the past month? RUNNING! I kid you not.

This is a sad and pathetic confession to make, but I don’t believe that I’ve RUN a mile at one time without stopping since high school gym class. And I actually may have walked part of those miles. We just had to finish within a certain time period.

It’s not that I’ve hated the concept of running. In fact, I’ve secretly wished that I liked to run for years. It’s more that every time that I have attempted to run, especially within the past decade, I ALWAYS end up with foot or knee pain that lasts for a few days. So I did the only logical thing to do for my life: I stopped even trying to run and considered it a tool of the Devil.

But Spring Break is coming, and I’m well over 40 now, and let’s just say that things aren’t exactly where and how I left them 15 years ago. I decided it was time for some desperate measures. Besides, on my Christmas shopping trip with my mother-in-law in early December, I had found an amazing deal on a pair of tennis shoes by a brand that I’ve never worn before and I hadn’t tried them out yet.

You see, I really HAVE attempted to run since high school, in many styles and brands of shoes. But since the result has ALWAYS been pain, I figured it just had something to do with some physical disfunction of my body.

However, being the glutton for punishment that I am, on December 28 I decided to give it another try. Now you need to know that I often attempt to distract myself from the fact that I’m exercising. For that reason, the treadmill, bike and other various equipment is set up in our downstairs living area with a TV. The hope is that I will get so engrossed in a TV show, that I will forget that I’m in misery.

Here’s what happened on December 28:

I did a 2 minute walking warm-up and then pushed the speed up to a good-paced running level, thoroughly expecting to have to go back to walking within 5 minutes. Yes, I know that’s sad.

Instead, I really DID get engrossed in a TV show, and when I happened to glance down at the treadmill display, I HAD BEEN RUNNING FOR 15 MINUTES AND HAD RUN OVER A MILE NONSTOP! What?!? And to top it all off, I had no pain. In fact, I felt great.

Thinking this must be a fluke, I tried again the next night. And the same thing happened!! This was crazy.

Well, by day three my legs were exhausted, having required more from them in two days than I had in two decades, so I gave them a break. But I was right back at it again on day four.

Here’s the gist: I’ve now been running consistently for almost a month, continually upping my time and my speed, and all WITH NO PAIN.

It was all about having my feet in the right shoes.

As soon as I thought that thought, my mind immediately went to Ephesians 6 and Paul’s description of the Armor of God. Remember he says how you have to “put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil”? (Ephesiains 6:11 HCSB)

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. THIS is WHY you must take up the FULL armor of God, so that you may be able to RESIST in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your STAND.” (Ephesians 6:12-13 HCSB emphasis added)

As Christians, we KNOW that the battles we face with individuals in our lives are unseen battles with none other than Satan himself. We KNOW this. Yet, we get frustrated and pained in our dealings with others that we just get mad or give up on those in the flesh.

The Armor of God? Yup, we get that. Gotta have Truth. We attempt to live our lives with Righteousness the best we can. Faith is the substance of our relationship with God. Our Salvation is the covering of Christ’s blood. And let’s not forget the offensive weapon to fight against evil in the Word of God. (vs. 14, 16-17) But the shoes?

We’re told to stand firm with our “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 NIV) To be honest, that’s probably the armor piece that I breezed over because it required so much more thought processing to me.

But let’s think about it, shall we? Paul wrote this letter while in a Roman prison, more than likely having ample opportunity to view the armor of the Roman guards. So he wasn’t talking about sandals here. No, he was referring to the shin-high, laced-tight, leather boot of a warrior. Those boots made one READY to face whatever terrain that the battle offered. They provided needed support and secure foundation in order to STAND.

And let’s face it, even with all of the other pieces of armor, a warrior would be in a bad way to be found on the battlefield with NO footwear.

The same goes for us. Don’t get me wrong. EVERY piece of God’s Armor is a necessity in this Spiritual warfare, but we MUST have our feet planted in the gospel of peace, the “good message” of God’s grace and love for us demonstrated in the ultimate sacrifice and gift of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” Himself (Isaiah 9:6), and in the resurrection necessary for our salvation. Where do we find this message? In God’s Word, of course! It’s not just our weapon, it’s our foundation.

Without this, we will find ourselves unable to stand on the harsh terrain of this unseen battle, and like I did for 20 years on that treadmill--just give up. So start strapping those boots on today!

The shoes really DO make ALL the difference!

#faith #WordofGod #growth

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