Daniel Fast Day 13

How is Your Shoe Game?

Our desire for fruitfulness and growth in God’s kingdom necessitates that we do things God’s way, but we don’t simply do things out of religious duty and rote. We receive the mind of Christ so that we may think the way God wants us to think. A fruitful transformed life comes from thinking consecrated thoughts that come from the Word of God. We don’t change on the outside until we have been completely renovated by the Holy Spirit on the inside. We have been called to live a changed life, empowered by being Heavenly minded and casting aside all things that do not fit into this new life. We don’t boast about where we are and who we are, we are committed to learn. We don’t become stagnant in the old, we embrace our brand new identity in Christ. Christ is all that matters and the rest we count as garbage. 

We’ve been learning that we have a brand new wardrobe of clothes that will make us look like Jesus. We have an all purpose garment called love, but no outfit is ever complete without the shoes. I know by good authority that a shoe game is very important; that authority happens to be Pastor Landen and David Watkins. They however, are referring to a different shoe game than Paul. Paul writes and says this to the church at Colossae: Colossians 3:15(NLT) “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

We have to decide to either allow the peace that comes from Jesus to rule in our hearts, or simply to allow our hearts to keep chasing the things that cannot satisfy. One way leads to peace while the other will lead to turmoil and conflict. True peace can only be found by the One Who is the Prince of Peace. But we have a choice in the matter because this peace that Paul refers to is not just a calm mind. It is a mind filled with God’s Word, a heart renovated by God’s love, and a mouth committed to speaking words that are seasoned by salt. It is relational in nature and works on four levels.

The first level is peace with God. Now that we have peace with God, meaning we are born again, we know we belong to Him and are in God’s family. Romans 5:1(NLT) “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” We have peace because our sin has been forgiven, and is not being held against us anymore. Secondly, we have peace in this life. We have peace in the midst of a chaotic world. We see all that is happening around us and sometimes even to us, but because we have a relationship with Christ, we know we overcome because He has given us His peace. John 14:27(GNT) “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” 

Thirdly, we have peace with one another. Because of Jesus, the walls between us have been broken down, and we can strive towards peace with others. Ephesians 2:14(TLB) “For Christ himself is our way of peace. He has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one family, breaking down the wall of contempt that used to separate us.” Lastly, we are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel of peace. We are encouraged to put on peace as shoes, being fully prepared to share the Good News of Jesus. Ephesians 6:15(NLT) “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”

If we are going to walk around and tell people about the Good News of Christ, we need peace. Why? Because the gospel of Jesus is in conflict with the world. Nevertheless, we are God’s peace ambassadors to the world. Jesus said: Matthew 5:9(NLT) “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” We do not simply keep the peace, we work towards peace. What kind of person works towards peace? A mature one, hence we are called sons of God. The Greek Word for son is “Hyois”, meaning a legitimate son in character, privilege, and resemblance. It implies maturity, unlike the word for child, “nepios” which implies not fully grown, not of age. Jesus says, when we are fully grown sons we do not simply have the DNA of our Father with the potential to be like Him, we actually reflect in our lives the nature and character of our Father. Jesus is very clear about this principle. He says that if you want to be called a son of God, you have to be a peacemaker because God is a God of peace and we are His children and bear His image and likeness. That means that if we say we are like Him, we have to act like Him. Now, becoming a peacemaker is much easier said than done. We live in a world that is filled with animosity, hatred, anger, and rivalry that affect every level of society. It is everywhere! According to the Geneva Academy, there are more than 110 armed conflicts currently around the world. There are more than 45 throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and another 35 in the rest of Africa. There are 21 armed conflicts in Asia, 7 in Europe, and 6 in Latin America.

On a personal level, many of us struggle to have peace in our relationships. It is like the story of Lady Astor and Winston Churchill. Lady Astor said to Churchill, “If you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Churchill responded, “and if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”  We can laugh at that, but it reveals how we are all predisposed to conflict. Some of us are so used to it that we accept that it is just the way it is, and we really make no effort to be peacemakers. We cannot proclaim peace to the world when we are having a civil war at home! When our relational peace is disturbed, our testimony suffers. When we can’t get along with others, our thankfulness dries up. Colossians 3:15(Message) “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.”

It is very difficult to cultivate thankfulness when you are constantly bickering, arguing, fighting, and not getting along. We are warned not to bite and devour one another. Peace keeps us in step with one another, but we have to take the responsibility to work for peace. We are not responsible for what others do, say, or think. We are, however, responsible for what we do to work for peace. Someone was asked if they had a choice to be anything what would they be? One guy said, “I would love to be a frog”. His friend responded, “Really a frog? Why a frog?” He said: “Because a frog has a wonderful advantage in life; he can eat anything that bugs him.”

When we are mature, we can be trusted with responsibility. Why is this important to note? Because when we become peacemakers, we actually step into the conflict of others, and the Father entrusts to us the job of reconciling one to another, thus making peace. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:9(Message), "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are and your place in God's family."

Dropped into this war zone called earth, we who profess Christ must be fully dressed with every aspect of Christ’s character and ready to proclaim His Good News of peace. Even if our efforts do not produce the desired result, the fact that we are willing to work toward peace identifies us as mature sons of God. God is the God of peace who sent Jesus as our Prince of Peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to show us peace but we still have the choice to embrace it or reject it. You cannot become a peacemaker until you have allowed the Prince of Peace to rule your own heart.
Our transformation towards fruitfulness is not complete until we have put on our shoes, the shoes of peace. It’s time to up your shoe game!

2 Peter 3:14(NLT) “And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.”

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Paul writes in Romans 12:18(NIV) “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” According to this verse, where does the responsibility lie to live at peace with others? Have you ever considered that you could be the reason why you don’t have peace?
  • Do people see you as a peacemaker or troublemaker? If it’s the latter, what needs to change in your life so you can reach maturity?
  • We talked about four levels of peace: Peace with God, the peace of God in the difficulties of life, peace in our own relationships, and proclaiming the gospel of peace to the world. Which one of these do you struggle the most with? What do you need to do about it?
  • We are encouraged to cultivate thankfulness, recognizing that when we let God’s peace rule in our hearts, gratitude becomes much easier. What arena in your life are you allowing your peace to be disturbed? How can you become more thankful, despite not having perfect circumstances? 
  • How can we build a community of believers that are in step with one another, instead of running around doing their own thing? Are you willing to help build such a community? 
  • We sometimes lack peace because we are expecting others to meet a need that only God can meet. Where in your life are you expecting others to meet a need that you should trust the Lord for? Have you prayed and asked the Lord to meet this need? Take a moment and do it now.

Father, thank You that You broke down the wall that divided us and made peace through Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, that You have become our peace. Lord, I come today with humility, recognizing my own need. Sometimes, in my relationships, I am a peace-breaker instead of a peacemaker. Forgive me where I failed to work for peace knowing that Your Word says, if I don’t work for peace especially in my closest relationships like my marriage and with my family, my prayers are hindered. I accept the responsibility You placed on me to work for peace. Not just with a few, but with everyone. I willingly put on the shoes of peace to declare to a lost world, Your Good News!

My prayer is that we, in Your Body, will get along with one another while each one of us does our part. Help us to encourage those who seem to be falling behind in their growth and to speak life to those who have become spiritually exhausted and mentally drained. Help us to pull them back on their feet. Give us patience with everyone. Help us to be attentive to the needs of others and not be self-absorbed.  When we get tired, help us not to snap at each other, or even worse, bite and devour one another. Give us Your eyes, so we may see others the way You see them. Help us to see the best in each other and through Your Holy Spirit, bring out the best in everyone around us. Thank You for the promise that when we live in harmony, agree with one another, and live in peace, You, the God of love and peace, will be with us. Thank You for Your indescribable peace. In Jesus Name, Amen!
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