Running with Horses, Part 6
We have been looking at God’s response to Jeremiah after he questions why the wicked prosper in Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?”
In part 5, we saw that God tells us to be dressed ready for service and to keep our lamps burning. We must be watching for His coming, as Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” But to be overcomers and finishers of the race before us, we must live a winning life.
To do this, we must pray without ceasing, always in His Word, fighting the good fight—for our fight is a spiritual fight, as Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” God did not leave us defenseless. He gave us His armor. The armor of God is a picture of Yeshua. It is a life in the Messiah. God tells us to be dressed and ready. So how do we do this? We dress ourselves in the armor of God.
Romans 13:14 tells us how to begin: “But put on the Lord Messiah Yeshua and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Ephesians 6:13-17 goes on to say, “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. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Let's look at how a lifestyle in Messiah is all about the armor.
First we’ll look at the belt of truth. Yeshua said in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He also said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” Truth is life, life in Messiah, life His way. We wear truth around us like a belt, around our waist, at our middle, as a stabilizer, keeping us steady and balanced. Without truth we are left with only lies.
Next we wear the breastplate of righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5-6 speaks of Messiah as our righteousness: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, “The Lord our righteousness.”’”
The breastplate of righteousness guards our hearts. Righteousness tells us who we are in the Messiah. Paul tells us in Phillipians 3:7-12 that we too must follow in Messiah’s footsteps, and by doing so we will know Him—not know about Him, but know Him as when two enter into a covenant, like a bride and groom. “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Messiah. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Messiah and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own (salvation) derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Messiah Yeshua.”
We see that we must start by laying down our lives and becoming like our Messiah, even in His sufferings and death. Having this faith brings about our righteousness, or as you could say, our faith in Him gives us “right standing” in the Father.
Next, we must fit our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Isaiah cried out in Isaiah 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’"
And Paul echoed back to this in Romans 10:15, “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Today people are quick to run here and there, quick to action but slow to think. Isaiah 59:7-8 says, “Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.” But James 3:17-18 tells us, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Are you totally dressed and ready? We will continue in part 7.