I took up running in college. Being cheap and broke, I wore my old, high-top, blue and yellow Nikes for months. By March, my shins were killing me. I finally realized that my high-tops were probably the problem, so reluctantly bought another pair of running shoes.
As I recall, they were about twenty bucks and my shins felt better in a week.
The program director of my kids’ school cast a vision for us this year that reflects reality well: our expectations are wrecked, uncertainty is strong but, we must respond with God’s loving flexibility.
I resonated so much with that vision, but I got to wondering: is it Biblical? So, I pulled up BlueletterBible.org and searched for “flexibility.” (Yes, I’m a Bible nerd). I got no hits. Since the word resonated, I let it steep. It was in there with a lot of monkey thoughts: “Are we crazy to be homeschooling this year?” and “did that dear friend of mine really just attack those people on Facebook?” and on and on.
God is so gracious. In the midst of my squirrelly mind, the Spirit kept bringing Ephesians 6 to the forefront. Verse 15 became pronounced when my new running shoes were delayed. I continued to lace up anyway. The days turned to weeks and my body begged for new shoes. My calves were unhappy, my knees were complaining and even my neck started whining.
See, what we wear on our feet matters. That’s what I’ve learned over the last 20 years of running. That’s what my body was telling me this summer while I waited for my new shoes.
In the same way that what we wear on our physical feet matters, what we wear on our spiritual feet matters. This is the drum the Spirit has been beating in 2020. “Stand firm…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…” Eph.6:10-18.
Jesus did not respond to the seemingly same situations identically. When the Roman Centurion approached him to heal the man’s servant, Jesus swiftly granted his request. (Luke 7:1-10). But, when the Canaanite woman begged him to heal her daughter, Jesus ignored her for so long that his disciples asked him to send her away — and then He verbally rebuffed her — and then, he finally granted her request with pleasure. (Matthew 15:21-18).
Enigmatic. Unpredictable. Utterly good. Jesus, in his intimacy with the Father and Spirit was ready for everything that faced Him. Perfectly responsive.
And, so. This February, after the newness of 2021 resolutions is wearing off, it’s time for a reality check. How are we doing, having our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace? Spiritually, if our feet are improperly outfitted, we will stand in the wrong place, respond with wrong attitudes and generally cause emotional and spiritual difficulty. When’s the last time your child was dallying – and, having your feet fitted with the carelessness that comes from hurrying, you responded in an angry diatribe? When’s the last time your spouse did that annoying thing (again) – and, having your feet fitted with the inattention that comes from being inconvenienced, you responded with the silent treatment?
As the pandemic nears completion, what are your feet fitted with?
I admit, I have been tone deaf to circumstances. Tip-toeing when I should stride. Running when when I should stay still. My answers to these questions reveal that there’s work to be done. Maybe you too? Friend, let’s lean in to Him, asking Him to help us lace up.
Jesus, we welcome you this week. We confess that there have been times where our feet were fitted with rules and improvidence rather than the readiness that comes from your gospel of peace. We see that now, by how we have sometimes responded to people in impatience, sarcasm, rigidity and permissiveness. We welcome you, Spirit, to lace us up with the readiness – the flexibility and responsiveness – that flow from dependence on God, like Jesus demonstrated. We are ever grateful for your powerful grace that allows this to be. May it be so, Amen.