“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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.” (Ephesians 6:10-14)
The phrase “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” is just chock full of meaty ideas, far more than we can fit into a short article, so once again, we’ll pick and choose a bit in what we actually address.
We begin with the proper “readiness,” or “preparation” as some translations put it. The whole idea of the shoes worn by the Roman soldiers was so that they could maintain firm footing on the battlefield. The cleats on their shoes allowed them to stand their ground and not be pushed back by the opposing forces. No question this was important. One can hardly win a battle if your soldiers are slip-sliding around in dress shoes!
So what is this firm foundation we need for the spiritual battle? We’ll address two aspects. First, it is very important that we have a correct view of our Commander. Knowing who you are fighting for, and what you are fighting for is pretty important for the soldier. We know from Paul that we are fighting a spiritual battle. If our opponent is the devil (Ephesians 6:11), then it should seem obvious we are fighting on God’s side.
But who is this God? There are endless verses we could quote here, but just as a sample:
- 2 Samuel 7:22 – How great are you, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
- Isaiah 44:6 – This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
- Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves…
- Colossians 1:16 – For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
- Hebrews 1:3a – The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,…
Then, a second aspect of this preparation is knowing who we are in relation to this God. We need to be firmly established in the fact that He has bought us with a price. We are His. We have reached out and received the gift of salvation that is ours because of Jesus’ death on the cross. We need to stand with reassurance in the firm truth that we are held in His everlasting arms. No scheme of the devil, no disaster can pluck us out of His hand. In fact,
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-38, emphasis added.)
With that promise behind us, we can take our stand with confidence.
But let’s move on to the “gospel” aspect of this piece of armor. Gregory Brown explains:
“The association of feet with the gospel is not uncommon in Scripture. Isaiah 52:7 says, “How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains the feet of a messenger who announces peace, a messenger who brings good news, who announces deliverance, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” In Romans 10:15 (ESV), Paul says, “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” One of our responsibilities in this war is to share the gospel with others. It is each person’s assignment.”
God has given us the responsibility of sharing the good news about salvation to those whom we encounter. This is not an “if you want to,” but rather a vital component of the believer’s life. Jesus tells us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15; cf. Matthew 28:19-20).
Dr. John Ankerberg has long used 1 Peter 3:15 as a sort of “mission statement” for his television ministry. Peter declares: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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.”
In order to do that, we must be constantly engaging with God’s Word, the Bible; we must keep in constant contact with our Commander through prayer; and we must take advantage of chances to gather and share with our fellow believers to encourage and strengthen both ourselves and each other for the task ahead. As Paul encouraged the Thessalonian believers, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
And finally, we address the “peace” that we must display in our relationship with others. In Ephesians 2 Paul says,
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,…” (Ephesians 2:12-14).
In any fighting unit, unity is critical. All the soldiers must be fighting together, fighting the same enemy, or chaos will follow. If they are not fighting together, they certainly will not fight effectively. The same thing is true for us as believers. Sadly, we often find just the opposite. As Gregory Brown says,
“Surely disunity is one of the major weapons the enemy uses against our churches. Sometimes he brings disunity through racism, as seen with the Jews and Gentiles in the early church. Sometimes he uses doctrine. What God means to equip and strengthen us, the enemy uses to bring division and discord.”
Will you answer the call to put away petty differences and pledge to put the gospel first? Once again, Paul issues an urgent call to all Christian soldiers: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
Will you stand firm, “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”?
- Gregory Brown, The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare (BLT Publishing; Kindle edition), p. 59. ↑
- Ibid., p. 61. ↑