“The shoes make the man,” goes the old saying. The third piece of armor that Paul instructs us to put on in Ephesians 6:15 is our footwear. “. . . having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The words are capitalized here in the NASB because this is a quotation of Isaiah 52:7 – “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say ‘Our God reigns!'”
We know that not being equipped with the right shoes is painful and impedes our progress. This is particularly true in battle. The preparation – or the readiness – of the gospel of peace is what clothes our feet as we wrestle against principalities and powers and rulers and wickedness in high places.
Throughout scripture, when something or someone is described as being underneath the feet of another, it is a sign that it is under the other person’s authority.
Paul wrote, “And [God the Father] put all things in subjection under [Christ’s] feet, and gave [Christ] as head over all things to the church, which is His body (Eph. 1:22-23a) It is important to remember as we study spiritual warfare that all things are subject to Christ and are under His feet. Because we are His body, that means they are under our feet as well. Jesus told the disciples in Luke 10:19 “Behold I have given you authority to tread (walk) on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Note that the enemy and his kingdom are under the feet of the church.
(I would like to point out that our authority over the enemy does not mean we should cast caution to the wind and forge ahead without God’s specific instructions as we battle. For if we go somewhere that God has not permitted us (see Acts 16:6) we cannot expect His protection. An example of this in my life was when I figured one day that I would go prayer walking in an area that was very clearly Satan’s turf, and when I got out of the car, God told me to get back in and leave immediately. Had I disobeyed God, I could have found myself in unknown trouble).
In my last blog on the breastplate of righteousness, we noted what Paul told the church in Rome as he commended them on their righteous deeds: “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet.”
Likewise, when God sent His people to take the Promised Land, He said “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you” (Joshua 1:3, Deuteronomy 11:24). God had already given His people this territory, but they had to take hold of it and possess it in order for the land to be theirs. In the same way, Christ has already done all that is required for us to have our inheritance now, on this earth. But if we sit in our recliners and think about God on Sundays and otherwise live carnal, material lives, we won’t possess the promises He has made. Nor can we possibly expect to impact our neighborhoods, schools, and government.
Gospel means “good news.” The word “peace” here in Ephesians 6:15 means “national tranquility; exemption from the havoc of war; harmony between individuals.” Peace isn’t the absent of any conflict in our lives. It is rest in our relationship with God, rest in our relationship with others, and where it isn’t possible to have perfect peace at the moment with an individual, we are at peace knowing that God is working in the relationship and restoring what’s been broken down.
So wherever we go, we are to be armed with the readiness of the good news of peace. What does this look like? Doesn’t it sound like a contradiction – to be “armed with peace?”
The readiness of the gospel of peace may mean many different things, but here are a few examples:
Speaking life and truth into every person’s life you encounter, especially those in turmoil or anxiety or confusion (i.e. that girl ringing up groceries who is telling you her sad life story, and you take a moment to speak a word of truth in love)
Praying over ambulances and other emergency vehicles when they pass you, and praying over people you witness in disputes, in fender benders, and those just walking down the street
Not returning evil when it is aimed at you in word or deed, but seeking The Lord in your responses
Prayer walking (check out how Calvin and Stephanie Greiner are transforming America through this ministry)
Diffusing gossip, when someone tells you something not exactly nice said about somebody else, and you gently shift the conversation in a direction that builds that other person up and believes the best
Giving words of knowledge and words of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8) and prophecy to both believers and unbelievers alike in order to show them God’s deep love and concern over them and to bring them into repentance.
Speaking out healing and deliverance for the health needs of people. An essential part of the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus brought was restoration of physical and mental health, which was often caused by demons (and still is today in many instances). When a person is no longer tormented by a physical or emotional or mental condition, peace has taken up residence
Paul said “Our gospel came not simply in words, but also in power, with The Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction” (1 Thess. 1:5). We aren’t just ministering nice ideas and positive thoughts — wherever our feet take us we are bringing eternal life!
We noted that Paul is quoting Isaiah 52:7 here in Ephesians 6:15. He quotes this passage in Romans 10:14-15 as well, saying ” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
We can be intimidated or at a loss of how to share our faith. But really, it comes down simply to testifying. Telling people we meet throughout our day what God has done, what He is doing, for us, for them. It is not a formula. It is not necessarily in every instance the full message of Eden to Gethsemane, or the Romans Road. Out of the overflow of our own relationship of peace with the Father through His Son we minister peace to others. When we open our mouths and testify as the Holy Spirit prompts, the simplest things we say carry the full weight of Heaven…and lives are transformed.