Robert Jeffress - Putting on Your Soul Soles
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. No soldier would go into battle without boots. Most people wouldn't even go outside without proper protection for their feet. And yet, in a spiritual sense, many Christians are walking around completely barefoot when it comes to protecting themselves against Satan's attacks. Today I wanna show you how to put on the next essential piece of spiritual armor in a Christian warrior's wardrobe. My message is titled: "Putting On Your Soul Soles" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Herb Kelleher, the founder of southwest airlines, was once asked in an interview about his secret for building such a successful airline. This is what he said to the interviewer, he said, "I can teach you the secret to running this airline in 30 seconds, this is it. Southwest is the low-fare airline, not a low-fare airline, we are the low-fare airline. And once you understand that fact, you can make any decision about this company's future as well as I can". Kelleher went on to elaborate, "Here's an example. Let's say Tracy from the marketing department comes into your office. She says her surveys indicate that the passengers might enjoy a light entree on the Houston to Las Vegas flight. All we offer is peanuts, and she thinks a nice chicken salad would be popular. So what do you say to Tracy"?
The interviewer hesitated, so Kelleher answered his own question. He said, "You say Tracy, will adding a chicken Caesar salad make us the low-fare airline from Houston to Las Vegas, because if it doesn't help us become the low-fare airline, we're not serving any blankety-blank chicken salad". You know, understanding your purpose is key to success in the business world. But understanding your unique purpose is also key to success in the spiritual world. A clearly defined purpose is like a beacon in the darkness that provides us direction when we confront choices. But as we're going to discover this morning, understanding your purpose is also a powerful way to defeat Satan's plan to destroy your life.
Let me ask you this morning, do you desire to win the spirit wars? Do you really want to be a victor rather than a victim in Satan's attack against your life? If so, it is important to understand the foundational truth we're going to discover this morning. If you have your Bibles, turn to Ephesians 6, Ephesians 6. We're looking at the six pieces of armor, the six strategies to defeat Satan in his relentless attack against every one of us. Already we've talked about the belt of truth, and remember that strategy is simply recognize destructive thoughts and replace them with God's thoughts. And then we talked about the breastplate of righteousness and that strategy is simply this, do what you know you should do, obedience.
And today, as we come to verse 15, we'll be looking at the third piece of spiritual armor, the third strategy to win the spirit wars. Look at verses 14 and 15. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. What Paul is talking about is putting on the right shoes, having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.
I remember reading an interview one time with a fashion consultant, and this man said, "I always judge a man or woman's wardrobe by first looking at their shoes". We've all heard that before, shoes make the outfit. Many of you ladies live by that principle, that's your life verse. But you know, in Paul's day, having the right shoes was more than just a fashion statement. In a culture where everybody walked everywhere they went, good shoes, the right shoes, were essential for everyday life. And the same was certainly true for the soldier in Paul's day. The Roman soldier wore this thick-soled shoe that had pieces of metal that protruded from it. The reason he had to have these thick leather soles was because when he was walking, many times the enemy would place sticks, sharp sticks or stones, right underneath the top soil in order to pierce the soldier's feet, and that thick leather sole protected the soldier's feet.
The right boots were essential for success in warfare for a soldier. And so as Paul looked at that Roman soldier to whom he was chained, and he saw those thick-soled, metal-enhanced shoes, he thought to himself there is a spiritual truth here about the wars we are involved in as Christians. He said it is important that we have the right shoes, the right boots. Now what is he talking about when he talks about putting on the right spiritual boots? You know, I discovered the hard way as I looked at the commentaries this week that very few commentators even comment on this verse. It's amazing, they just skip over verse 15 altogether. And the few that do comment about it, they say well what he's talking about is your salvation. He talks about having your feet shod with the Gospel, and so he's talking about making sure you're saved, that's what gives you stability in life.
I don't think that's correct, because later on he's gonna talk about the helmet of salvation. No, he has something different in mind here. And I think to understand what Paul is really talking about here, we have to understand that this verse is a free paraphrase of Isaiah 52:7. The prophet said how lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, notice the reference to feet, 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". Paul is linking feet with the announcement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may say, now where do you get that.
Well notice he says, "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings the good news". Isaiah says how welcome it is to see someone who is bringing the good news of salvation, that is the salvation that Christ would provide 700 years after Isaiah wrote these words. But if you still think that's a stretch to link feet and walking with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, consider Paul's words in Romans 10:14-15, you know these words by heart. How then will they call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, and here is a quotation of that Isaiah passage, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things.
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ. God wants the message of Jesus Christ to be spread throughout the world. How is that gonna happen? Well people don't get saved unless they hear the Gospel, and people will not hear the Gospel unless there are preachers who move their feet across the world to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now we have to understand what Paul means. How will they hear without a preacher? So we'll get these paid professionals who speak in a stained glass voice, and speak in front of wooden pulpits, and we will hire them to do the work of the ministry. That is not what God's plan is to spread his Gospel message. The word preach simply means to proclaim, okay. Write that down. It simply means to proclaim. A preacher is anyone who proclaims the message of Jesus Christ. He's not talking about paid professionals here, he's talking about anyone who takes the message of Christ throughout the world, and that's God's plan for evangelism.
So when Paul talks about, now get this, when Paul talks about having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, here's what he's talking about. The right spiritual boots for a Christian is a Christian's ability and willingness to share the good news of Christ with other people. I want you to write it down. When Paul says put on the right spiritual boots, he's talking about our ability and willingness to take the message of Christ, to share that message with other people.
Now you may ask the question, well what is the relationship between our willingness and ability to share the Gospel and spiritual warfare. That seems kind of a stretch pastor. How do you connect sharing the Gospel with other people and standing strong in Satan's attack against your life? I want to answer that question by making three simple statements this morning. Write them down. First of all, God has created you for a great purpose. God has created you for a great purpose. Now admittedly, not everybody believes that. The humanist believes that you and I are here by a biological accident. We're a biological, evolutionary fLuke. We are the result of some primordial chemical broth that oozed over the earth over millions and billions of years, and we accidentally sprang to life and started crawling across this planet earth.
Do you believe that? Do you believe you're here just by accident? You know interestingly, most people, even unbelievers, don't believe that. Most people know there is a greater purpose in life, that they're not here by accident. Johns Hopkins University did a survey of 8000 college students and they asked this question, what is the most important thing in life to you. What is it you're after? 16% of those college students said the most important thing to life to us is making a lot of money. 75% said the most important thing in life to us is finding our unique purpose in life. See, people understand that they have a purpose in life, and the Word of God affirms that.
In Jeremiah 1:5, remember what God said to the prophet Jeremiah? He said, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations". Before I formed you in the womb. That word, know, is a Hebrew word that means an intimate relationship with, like a man has with his wife, a man knew his wife. Is God saying Jeremiah, you existed before you were conceived? No, he's not saying that. He clarifies, he said, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, I consecrated you". That is, Jeremiah, before you were born, I had a great purpose for your life. And Jeremiah's purpose was to be a prophet to the nations.
But God also has a unique purpose for your life. You're no accident, he created you for a unique purpose. What is that purpose? We have to differentiate between God's eternal purpose and God's immediate purpose for your life. You know, God's eternal purpose for you is clear in the Bible. God created you to have fellowship with him. One of God's eternal purposes for your life is that you be fashioned into the image of Christ. Romans 8:29 says for whom God foreknew, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his son. God wants you to be just like his perfect son, Jesus Christ. Those are God's eternal purposes, fellowship with him, to become like his son Jesus Christ.
Now here's the $64.000 question. Why didn't God just immediately take you to heaven the moment you were saved so that those purposes could be immediately fulfilled? I mean think about it, the Bible says in 1 John 3:3, when we see him, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The Bible says that the rapture, when we meet Christ, we're going to be immediately transformed to be like Jesus. Not only that, revelation 22:3 says when we are in heaven, we're gonna have perfect fellowship with God. Revelation 22:3 says there will no longer be any curse and the throne of God and the lamb will be in it and his bond servants will serve him. You see, in heaven the curse of sin will be removed. All of those things that hinder your relationship with God, that create that barrier, those things will be removed.
So think about it. If God's eternal purpose for us will be accomplished when we're with him, why is God leaving us here on earth? Why is God delaying having perfect fellowship with us? Why is he postponing his plan to conform us to the perfect image of his son? Why is he willing to delay by leaving us here on earth? That's the real question. What is our purpose here on earth? And that leads to a second important statement. Your purpose is to fulfill God's purpose. Your purpose is to fulfill God's purpose. I see a lot of Christians walking around in a fog, wondering gee, I wonder what God's will for my life is, oh Lord, please reveal your will for my life.
Erwin McManus says it correctly when he says, "Instead of praying God what is your will for my life, what we ought to pray is God what is your will, and how can I give my life to fulfill it". That's the real issue. What is God trying to do here on earth? Do you wanna know what God's will is? What is it he's trying to accomplish? Here's a hint, jot down these verses. 1 Timothy 2:3-4, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. God desires that all be saved, not just a select few, that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9, for God is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but he is patient, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God's will is, his desire is, that not any one perish without the Gospel. Or Luke 19:10, this is what Jesus said about his reason for coming, "For the son of man came to seek and to save those who are lost". God's purpose in the world is as clear as it can possibly be. God wants to deliver as many people as possible from the pit of Satan's kingdom, free them, liberate them, to experience the light of God's kingdom through Jesus Christ. He said there is a reason I haven't taken you home to be with me right now. I have left you in that foreign outpost called planet earth to fulfill one mission.
And your mission assignment, ladies and gentlemen, is not to build a successful career. The mission assignment is not to see how much money you can accumulate in a bank account or stock portfolio. The mission is not to see how much pleasure you can extract from this life before you die. The mission is not even to have a successful and fulfilling family life, that's not the mission. The mission is go and rescue as many people as possible from the kingdom of darkness, and introduce them to faith in Jesus Christ. That is the mission for which we have been left here, no other mission counts. And that leads to a third statement to make today, and that is fulfilling your mission, fulfilling your purpose, is the key to fulfillment in life.
Psychologist Carl Jung wrote more than a century ago in his book "Modern Man in Search of a Soul". "About a third of my cases," the psychologist said, "are suffering from no clinically-definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be described as the general neurosis of our time".
Now Jung wrote those words 100 years ago. But he said the general neurosis afflicting a third of my patients can't be defined other than senselessness and emptiness. That was true 100 years ago, it's even more true today. People are walking around trying to fill the void of their empty lives with anything they can find. Some people think work is the way to fill the emptiness in their lives. Work doesn't do it. Other people believe well if I can just accumulate enough money, or if I can have enough pleasure, or if I can gain fame, maybe those things will fill the emptiness in my heart.
There was a man who lived thousands of years ago, his name was Solomon. He too made it to the top of the success ladder, wealthiest man of his day, pleasure, hundreds of wives and concubines, achievements everywhere. What was his summary of his life? Listen to what he wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11. He said, "All that my eyes desired, I didn't refuse them. I didn't withhold from my heart any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all of my labor, and this was my reward for all of my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted and behold all was vanity, all was worthless, a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun".
Why is it we're always searching after some new pleasure, some new accomplishment, some new achievement, only to be profoundly disappointed? Here's the answer. Eternal beings can only be satisfied by that which is eternal. Eternal beings can only be satisfied by that which is eternal. You know, you cannot fill a great ocean with a single bucket of water, can you? It takes something more to fill up an ocean. And the same is true with our heart. The Bible says God has placed eternity in our hearts. That's true for non-Christians, just like it is Christians. Everybody, the moment they are born, they have a sense of the eternal inside of them. They know there is something beyond this life because every person has a spirit inside of them.
God has placed an ocean of eternity in our hearts. And how do we try to fill it? Bucket at a time, a bucket of money, a bucket of pleasure, a bucket of accomplishment, and we wonder why we're not getting anywhere. No, because we are eternal spirits, we need something that will transcend this life to give us true joy in life. We need an eternal companion, one who will be with us beyond this world. We also need an eternal purpose to which to give our lives. And what could be more eternal than joining with God in fulfilling his purpose, not our purpose, his purpose in the world today.