ARMOR Series, Part 4: The Shoes Prepped with the Gospel of Peace
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17, KJV)
If I were to make a ballpark estimation, I’d say I have somewhere around thirty pairs of shoes in my closet right now. I know, I know. Some might say that’s a lot, and yet, some of my fellow shoe-lovin’ ladies might say that’s an appropriate number.
Some have a set purpose which means they can’t be used every day or all year round– slippers, snow boots, flip-flops. Others are multipurpose, and therefore see more wear-time– my basic, black pumps,
my denim Toms, my combat boots. Still, others are for no other purpose than to have a little fun– multicolor cowboy boots, bright pink and metallic high heels, highlighter yellow sneakers.
And yet, the most important pair of shoes I own cannot be found in my closet. For one, they’re not visible with human eyes, but for another, they’re always on me. And guess what? If you’re truly a follower of Christ, you have a pair ready and laced to your feet at all times, too.
These shoes are a part of your armor and are fitted with the preparation that comes with the gospel of peace. It seems complicated, but it’s actually not. In short, all that means is that those shoes are made ready through what Jesus did for us: death, resurrection, ascension, and His eventual coming again.
We all know the story: Jesus was beaten, spit on, mocked, and nailed to a cross. He took on the sin of the whole world and died so that all of it– past, present, and future– could be wiped away for those that love and believe in Him. His friends buried Him in a tomb, but because He is the Son of God and a perfect sacrifice for our atonement, His power could not be contained by the grave. After three days, He emerged from that tomb and revealed the depth and the vastness of God’s power. After a little time, He ascended to heaven, sending the Holy Spirit to us in His place, and He promised that one day, He would come back to gather up His church and take them home to be with the Father.
The story has a lot of peaks and a lot of valleys, but most importantly, a triumphant ending that will include each and every one of us. And the words of that story fuse together to make the shoes of our armor and provide us spiritual peace and preparation for the battle ahead.
“But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16: 32b-33, MSG)
Even though Jesus was speaking in the above verse, it offers us comfort. He tells his disciples– and by extension, us– to be deeply at peace, no matter what the battlefield looks like. Why? Because the Father is with us. He would never abandon us and He has already conquered every evil thing this world has to try and trip us.
Let’s take a moment and envision our battlefield. To help, start by picturing a physical battlefield. In my imagination, I see an expanse littered with shrapnel and debris. There is broken glass, jagged rocks, and discarded arrowheads, darts, and shell casings all around. There are a few fires licking the ground where bombs have gone off. The ground is uneven and booby-trapped with trenches and ruts. It looks daunting, right?
Now imagine that you’re not wearing a good pair of shoes. You wouldn’t be able to run fearlessly into battle, am I right? Instead, every step would be slow, careful, unsure, and riddled with worry. We’d constantly be looking at the ground immediately in front of us, rather than off into the distance and ready for a battle. That’s what the gospel affords us: the ability to look off into the bigger picture. Jesus died so that we could have that luxury, and so we must take advantage of it. Our spiritual shoes allow us that luxury.
Because those shoes are made of the gospel, we can have peace and confidence to step onto the battlefield without fear. The peace that comes with the gospel serves as our protective layer between the raging battlefield and the part of our body that would be most directly vulnerable to the fight if left uncovered. Because of the gospel that we hide in our hearts, we can run, hurdle, and stand our ground, just like Christ.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus bewith you.” (Romans 16:20, NIV)
Here’s a little, amazing fun fact about the shoes of a Roman soldier: They were fitted with sharp spikes on the bottoms and sides. For a Roman, that offered more traction in battle; the spikes acted like a soccer player’s cleats and gripped the ground better.
But for us, those spikes add a little more insult to injury for our enemy. In the book of Romans, Paul declares that Satan is doomed to be crushed by the God of peace under our feet. By this, Paul means that God will use us to stomp Satan into the ground. So, the next time you’re stomping on Satan’s head, don’t be shy. Remember, your spiritual armor-shoes are designed to really hit him where it hurts, complete with spikes to really maximize that crushing.
This week’s challenge is simple: Revisit the gospel. Take a moment to meditate on what God did for you. Reacquaint yourself with the deep meaning of how Jesus gave you the opportunity to enjoy the gospel the way you do. Remind yourself that the battle is already won in your favor, and use that as the driving force behind your confidence. In doing so, you will be able to tighten the laces on those spiritual shoes and head into the battle without fear.
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