Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
Today, we take shoes for granted. Yes, we know we need them, but we are usually more concerned about style, color, and dressy or casual. As I have gotten older, comfort rules! Everything else is secondary. But we often don’t think of the practical need for shoes – unless we’ve ventured outside without them and stepped on something sharp, or walked on hot pavement or sand in the summer. Ouch! Shoes are a blessing!
In poorer areas, it is not unusual for people to have no shoes – let alone several pair. This leaves them more susceptible to parasites in the ground, cuts that can get infected, and injuries. The ministry Life Today tries to address this need. Every year they buy thousands of shoes to give to children to protect their little feet. (More info here Christmas Shoe Project | LIFE Outreach International (lifetoday.org))
Scripture really doesn’t talk much about shoes, but there are quite a few passages mentioning feet. And let’s face it, shoes don’t do anything by themselves. They’ve got to be on feet!
One of my favorite verses about feet is Psalm 40:2.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Slimy pit is variously translated “horrible pit,” “pit of despair” and “pit of destruction,” to name a few. None of them sound pleasant! I love that He gives us a firm place to stand. He also promises to keep our feet from stumbling. Psalm 56:13 reads,
For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
In Scripture, feet speak of walking through our lives, moving us from here to there. Our walk with the Lord is never to be stagnant, stuck in one place. Adam would “walk” with the Lord in the cool of the evening. Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12). Walking implies movement. And in our walk through life, we will run into situations where it is comforting that Jesus is our light.
Not just any shoes can be part of our armor. Ephesians says our feet are shod (wearing shoes) with the “readiness” or “preparation” of the “gospel of peace.” In Peter’s first letter to the early church, in what is today in the area of Turkey, he told the believers,
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (I Peter 3:15)
Why do we need to be ready with an answer? Because people will wonder why we are different, why we react differently to situations and people. Hopefully we are acting differently! We are not called to “fit in,” but to be a “peculiar people,” (in a good way.)
And what is the “gospel of peace?” What is our peace, or more accurately Who is our peace?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we a have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1)
We not only have peace with God, but we can have an inner peace – an inner shalom, and that is not just the absence of turmoil and confusion. According to Strong’s Concordance 7965, Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Jesus gives us His peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 Emphasis mine)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 Emphasis mine)
Now that we know what it means to have our feet shod with the shoes of the gospel of peace, let’s look at how this is a necessary part of our armor.
The Amplified Version of Ephesians 6:15 reads,
…and having strapped on YOUR FEET THE GOSPEL OF PEACE IN PREPARATION [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].
Firm-footed stability. What a wonderful promise, especially in all the turmoil and trouble today. Satan and his demonic host are alive and active today – although defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus. These devils and demons are often referred to as snakes and scorpions – both poisonous.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)
This is one very good reason to wear shoes – snakes and scorpions and all the power of the enemy! And don’t miss the promise, “nothing will harm you.” When you are walking with Jesus – telling others about His wonderful gift, doing what He’s called us to do, following where He’s leading, praying for others, being His representative – there will be opposition from the enemy. But remember, Jesus said He’s overcome the world, and that includes all the authority of the enemy.
Who is our enemy? Paul tells us, right before he gives us our “armor-up” instructions,
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
Our battle is not with people, but with the “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world… against evil spirits.” That’s why we need spiritual armor.
So, to recap, our “armor” shoes are spiritual, to deal with evil spiritual forces. We get these shoes because Jesus has made the way for peace with God, and inner peace in our everyday lives, and we are ready to share this REALLY Good News. But, there is one more reason for our shoes. In the very next verse, Paul tells us,
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
These shoes help us —
to stand firmly,
to not slip,
to hold our ground.
And you know what else?
We aren’t alone.
He is with us,
all around us
and within us.