Prepared for Spiritual Battle
Christians are disciples with a mission, and must be equipped with the spiritual “footgear” that will help them fulfill their role. There is a spiritual war being waged and our Master has prepared us to fight our battles. As spiritual warriors, part of being prepared is wearing the footgear, that will give us stability when facing the enemy. So what must we wear? Paul says the footwear is an understanding that we are disciples with a mission. And, we are prepared and ready to move forward and preach God’s good news … the gospel of peace. Sometimes this mission is understood as the “Great commission” that Jesus gave to his disciples. “Go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with your always even to the end of the age.” As disciples with a mission they were to inculcate all the lessons from their master and then continue his work in the world.
Rethinking Masters and Apprentices
Today in the world of academia, there is a concerted effort to destroy the whole idea of master disciple/apprentice relationships. This relationship has ensured the effective transfer of knowledge and skill from one generation to the next, but it is now under attack.
Recently, Jordan Peterson wrote of this issue:
“The training and mentoring of new generations of professionals must be attended to by proper relationships of “masters and apprentices” without dilution of standards…Two conditions must be met if the successful transfer of skills is to occur: first, the knowledge in question must be transferred within three generations, or risk being lost forever; second, there must be an unconditional submission of the apprentice to his/her master.”
Biblical Model for Effective Teaching
This is the biblical model that Jesus the Messiah used and still uses to prepare his apprentices for spiritual battle. Through a personal relationship of trust and respect, our Lord transfers his knowledge of the mission to his followers, his apprentices. Then, he expects them to move forward and engage in battle. Their stability in crisis comes from knowing they were prepared and trained by the best of master teachers. Disciples have confidence in knowing that they were taught by the Messiah. Their footing will be sure, as long as they are following as he leads. The master has provided the needed training and the personal example and mentorship. But the question remains as to whether the apprentices will do the hard work of labouring alongside their master.
Like Master, like Disciple
As followers of Jesus Christ, disciples know the master’s voice. They have an intimate relationship with the master, having known that he was willing to offer his life for them. They know that he hears and listens to their concerns. And, as a result, they are willing to walk the path he has set out for them. Disciples have trust in their master, not only for direction in the spiritual warfare in this life, but in his promise of eternal life. Like master, like disciple, those who embraced their mission have the hope of being resurrected in the same likeness as their master.
We, as apprentices, have the perfect master! And he has willingly transmitted to us the knowledge he has received from his Father. This is the vital understanding of how to walk in covenant with God. The master has taught and lived by the commandments that he expects his disciples to follow. In his love for his disciples he has promised to never abandon them. And, he has left his disciples with a mission. to love others as their master has loved them.
A Labour of Love, In the Master’s Footsteps
This meant that Jesus’ apprentices were to teach as they had been taught. With vigilance and dedication they would work to preach, encourage, and rebuke. They would follow the doctrine and way of life of their master, and teach others to follow their example. And, in their labour they would suffer reproach willingly, just as their Master had done.
Having our spiritual battle dress given to us by our master, we will have our feet shod with the truth of the gospel of God. This knowledge of God’s ways, purpose, and nature will guide our every step. And we will move forward following the path that Christ walked and accomplishing the mission he has given to his disciples.