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Just before the sounding of my alarm I awoke to the beautiful form of my wife who lay curled up beside me. Her face even in sleep telling me of our new nature of grace and beauty. The result of a life in obedience to Jesus. Kissing her I arose. But even before my feet could reach the floor a faithful friend came once again to the forefront of my waking mind. Often does he come. He is a question who remains ever consistent and true. Without fail four familiar words echo thunderously through my mind: “Whom do you serve?”. They brought me once again to the battlefield where Paul says in his letter to the church at Ephesus “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” [NKJV] Do not mistake me. I know that we have a war on two sides: that which is seen and that which is unseen.
What then is the purpose of such a question? Is it to serve myself or to gain favor from God Almighty? May it never be. The nature of the question necessarily begs another question: “What are my options?” From my life experience and from the wisdom of many before me I currently rest upon this conclusion. That there is no option. You either recognize that there is One who is served or you rebel and do not serve Him. For the sake of this article I digress.
This question is faithfully brought to me nearly each day. It began during my time at Ecola Bible School. Before class began the dean of men shared with the first year students, of which I was a member, an excerpt from the book of Ephesians. Specifically he took us to the sixth chapter. Where something old was made extraordinarily beautiful: the Armor of God.
How precious ought the armor of God be to a saint. It supersedes all earthly armament. With its core purpose to “…withstand in the evil day.” Faithful and true ring those words penned by Paul. This letter having been written while under Roman guard during his imprisonment in Rome. It is these soldiers where Paul drew his model of the Armor of God. At the time of it’s writing a majority of the known world was under Roman rule; in particular, the areas where the Gospel message was being proclaimed. This move by Paul was simple and brilliant for this reason: everybody would have known the attire of a Roman soldier. Each soldier would have: helmet, breastplate, waist skirt [made up of of leather strips], a type of greave [designed to protect the tibia], footgear, shield, and sword. In comparison Paul’s example is missing a component. The greaves. You would think that the Armor of God would be complete. This not the case when the two are set side by side. Paul says: “…put on the whole armor of God.”[NKJV] I believe that any soldier of common sense would see benefit in protecting his legs. I do not encourage looking beyond the words of Scripture but here we can draw a common sense type of conclusion: that Paul left it out on purpose. He says “…having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” [NKJV] I would suppose that a soldier of Rome, when attired for war, would not “shod his feet in preparation for peace,” rather for war. When I prepare for a time of peace I think of it like this: warm sunshine, a chair, a cup of coffee, and taking off my shoes, and kicking back to read.
To my mind again comes the question:
“Whom do you serve?”
I serve Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen. Paul wrote “… when He (the Father) raised Him (Jesus) from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head of over all thingsto the church…” [Eph. 1:20-22 NKJV] We see that the victory is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Kings of old would ride out with their armies to war. Our King Jesus is not riding out, but seated. And seated at the right hand of the Father. A place of honor and favor. Seeing our Lord seated with victory in hand. We wage war notfor victory but from victory.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like flame of fire and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” [Revelation 19:11-14 NKJV]
The fact that He will be riding a white horse, and those of us who are of the cross (the armies of heaven), is of great importance. After a war or battle when the king would return to the city from a field of victory he would ride a white horse. In Revelation, Christ, and the armies of heaven, are riding out to wage war ON white horses. Not wearing armor but robes of fine linen with Christ having the sword. Proclaiming victory before the final battle has begun. That is Jesus. It is He whom I serve.
“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS
AND LORD OF LORDS.
With a sigh, which bespoke of my inability to do what I desired, I slipped my feet to the floor determined to give my all to serve my King.
Lord Jesus, help me to do just that. Help us all who proclaim you king do so from a position of penance.