Dearest Friend and Pray-er,
Almost everywhere I look these days, the Devil is turning up the pressure on believers. When we face that kind of pressure, one of the things we need most is an example to follow.
Thankfully, the Bible is full of such people. A young woman named Esther found herself at the center of one of the most stressful and dangerous situations in history. At 18 years old, Esther was called upon to risk her life in order to save her people from annihilation.
Talk about pressure! Esther could be the poster child.
If I Perish, I Perish
Take a few moments to read through the book of Esther. You’ll see Esther initially responded the way most of us would. She tried to argue her way out of the situation. Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, wanted her to petition the king to stop the slaughter of the Jews. Esther said she simply couldn’t do it.
Instead of sympathizing, Mordecai rebuked her: “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish,” he said. “And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this…?” (Esther 4:14 Amp.).
Faced with such a dilemma, Esther could have totally fallen apart… but she didn’t. Instead, she followed the biblical instructions we find in Philippians 4:6:
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours…] (Amp.)
She sent word to Mordecai, saying, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me … for three days. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish” (4:16 Amp.).
When You’re in Trouble, Go Vertical
Notice, Esther’s conversation wasn’t horizontal, talking about the trouble she was facing with the people around her. She went vertical, talked to God, and then she asked others to do the same!
When she did, something amazing happened. A heavenly kind of peace came upon her. It was the kind of peace 1st Peter 3:4 refers to as “…the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God” (Amp.).
That peace had such a powerful effect on the king that when Esther put on her royal robes and walked into his court, he not only held out to her the golden scepter; he said, “What will you have, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to half of the kingdom” (5:4 Amp.).
Peace put Esther in charge of the situation! Suddenly, instead of groveling at the king’s feet, she found herself standing in a position of rulership with the king offering to give her half the country. And it didn’t happen because Esther was somebody special. It happened because she followed God’s instructions. Instead of worrying, she prayed and brought the peace of God on the scene.
And That Peace Is a Powerful Force
Colossians 3:15 says this peace rules! Peace garrisons and mounts guard over your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). It’s like a bodyguard. It’s strong and hefty. It has muscles.
That’s why the apostle Paul instructs us to put on peace as a part of “God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11 Amp.).
I initially didn’t understand how peace could be considered armor. I knew about the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith, and I could easily envision those being the strong pieces of armor that Roman soldiers wore. Then I’d get to verse 15:
And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. (Amp.)
I’d think, This soldier is outfitted in his military attire of brass and wood and leather… and now he is going to put on these little soft bedroom slippers of peace? That just didn’t seem to fit. So I did some investigating into what kind of shoes Roman soldiers wore—and they weren’t bedroom slippers!
From the knee to the foot, they were solid brass, strong enough to protect a soldier’s legs from any kind of lacerations or bruises. They were so sturdy and impenetrable that they enabled a soldier to march over rocky or thorny terrain without injury. That’s what the peace of God does for us. It makes us able to go on dangerous missions for the Lord without suffering harm. It helps us forge our way through the rockiest situation without injury.
No wonder Paul says we’re to be shod with it! The word shod means “to fasten on very tightly.” We don’t ever want to wear our peace boots loosely. We want to wrap God’s peace around us so tightly that no thorn or stone of the enemy can wedge its way in.
Crushing Satan Under Your Feet
The bottom of the Roman soldiers’ shoes had spikes in them that were up to three inches long. Those spikes served the soldiers in two different ways. First, they helped to keep the soldiers steady on their feet. The spikes gripped the earth as they marched so that they couldn’t be knocked over.
The peace of God does the same thing for us. It makes us immovable so that we can walk through the most difficult situations in joy, confident the Lord will see us through and answer our prayers.
The spikes on our boots of peace also signify that peace is an offensive weapon that we can use against the Devil. As Romans 16:20 says, the God of peace “will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (NKJV). When we strap on spiked boots of spiritual peace, the Devil is no match for us. We can march over him. He is forced to remain in the little space of ground below us where he is crushed and helpless!
I love to think of the body of Christ marching along shod in that kind of conquering, victorious peace. It reminds me of the children of Israel taking the Promised Land. That land already belonged to them. God had already said, “It’s yours!” But they still had to march in and possess it. They had to take authority over the enemies that were trying to occupy it and drive them out.
The same thing is true for us. Jesus has already given us the victory in every situation. He has completely defeated the Devil through His death, burial, and resurrection. But we have to enforce that defeat. We have to move out against the enemies of God and take authority over them.
Peace is one thing that enables us to do it. Peace keeps us on the move, standing tall with our shoulders back, sure-footed, and taking ground. Peace crushes Satan under our feet—and it crushes him shortly!
The Greek word translated shortly is a wonderful term. It depicts a large group of Roman soldiers marching in formation with short, heavy steps. It paints the picture of them pounding the earth with such thunderous force that their enemies would hear them coming and quake in fear.
When Roman soldiers were marching shortly, they wouldn’t stop for anything or anybody. Ever. Anyone who got in their way was trampled under their feet.
Remember that next time the Devil tries to block your way or oppose you. Instead of getting flustered, just keep marching in peace and stomp right over him.
Dignified, Poised, and Knowing What to Do
Truth be told, that’s exactly what young Queen Esther did. After spending three days in communion with God, she came out of her prayer closet armed and dangerous. She came out cloaked in the quiet, unshakeable, immovable peace of almighty God Himself. She came out shod with a heavenly power that challenged every demon of agitation and distress that had come against her people.
That quiet power so overwhelmed the king that he offered to give her anything she wanted. In the wisdom only peace can give, she knew exactly what to ask. She said with the gentleness and unfading charm of a peaceful spirit, “I don’t want half the kingdom. I want you and Haman to come to dinner.”
How did Esther have the presence of mind to make this perfect request in that moment of pressure?
Peace kept the confusion of the Devil away from her so that she could make the right decision. Peace kept her dignified and poised so that she knew just what to do.
As a result of her dinner invitation, Haman, who had orchestrated the scheme to annihilate the Jews, ended up being hung on the gallows he had originally built for Esther’s cousin, Mordecai.
Lift Your Heart With Your Hands
If we’ll walk in God’s peace, we’ll see that same thing happen to our enemy, the Devil. Peace will pull the plug on his effectiveness. It will turn the tables on him. He’ll end up hanging himself on his own rope!
“But, Lynne,” you might say, “I don’t know how to get hold of that kind of peace!”
That’s okay. God understands that. He’s a good and sympathetic Father. He doesn’t just say to us, “Don’t worry! Don’t fret! Don’t…don’t…don’t!” Anybody who has ever had children knows that doesn’t work very well. It keeps kids focused on what they’re not supposed to be doing. God doesn’t just tell us what not to do; He tells us what we should be doing. He says, “Do this instead.”
Look back at Philippians 4:6: “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but [instead, do this]: in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition … make your wants known to God” (Amp.).
Don’t worry. Do pray. How simple is that?
Granted, sometimes you may not know exactly how to pray about the pressure you’re under. When you’re facing problems that seem big and complicated, you may find it difficult to fully express your heart to God about them. Years ago, an elderly Pentecostal pray-er taught me what to do at times like that. She taught me to obey the instructions in Lamentations 3:41:
Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens (KJV).
I’ve found that can work wonders! When you’re battling serious anxiety, when you’re worried and fretful and just can’t seem to get free of it, go into your place of prayer, get in the presence of God, put the thing that is bothering you in your hand, and literally lift it up to heaven.
Say, “Lord, I give this to You right now. I put it into Your keeping. I trust Your wisdom and Your goodness; and I petition You right now to take care of this thing for me. I cast the care of it over on You, knowing that You care for me.” Then, pray in other tongues.
Once you’ve done that, let the problem go. Every time the thought of it tries to come back to your mind and worry you, think instead about the goodness and love of Your Heavenly Father. See Him holding that problem in His hands working it out on your behalf. Keep your mind focused on Him.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (KJV).
So strap on your boots of peace, dear praying friend, and keep on marching. March in triumph with your mind garrisoned by your personal bodyguard. March confidently knowing that the God of all peace will crush Satan under your feet. March knowing that you, like Esther, are called for such a time as this.
And until I write again, be sure to remember that—
P.S. I have a special CD I want to give you today as a thank you for any gift you give. It is my message entitled, Your Position in Prayer. You can give online here in the Prayer Notes Fund designation or by calling toll free 1-877-358-3327 and mentioning the Pastor Lynne letter and we’ll send one out to you.