How Do I Put on the Gospel of Peace as Spiritual Armor?
- Hope Bolinger Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2020 3 Jan
Like the belt of truth, this piece of the armor (feet fitted with readiness) may feel more superfluous than others. Shouldn’t a Roman soldier be more concerned about other elements of his armor like the breastplate or sword, rather than footwear?
However, as discussed in our armor of God articles on Crosswalk, Paul included each of the pieces of the armor of God intentionally.
If we walk onto the battlefield without any of these elements of armor, we risk fatal blows from the enemy himself, rendered to us.
Shoes stand at no exception.
Readers should take note that historically, Roman battle shoes, otherwise known as caligae or calcei, had spikes or textured soles. Not only would the comfortable, breathable structure allow the soldiers to march several miles without pain, but these spikes would help them stand their ground and stamp on the fallen enemy.
Especially when a Roman army advanced, enemies would be trampled by the puncture wounds from several soldiers marching together.
Not to mention, these spiked soles would help them navigate better over rough terrain, unlike other footwear of the time. The enemy couldn’t seclude themselves in a rough patch of land when facing the Roman army. The soldiers would advance with minimal pain rendered to their feet.
Paul doesn’t use this historical information haphazardly. He understands the importance of peace in the life of a Christian soldier, and how much we need the shoes as well as the other elements of the armor, such as the sword or shield.
What Are the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace in the Bible?
We read about the “armor of God” in Ephesians 6:10-18 (passage below):
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. 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. – Ephesians 6:10-18
Like Roman footwear, these shoes protect us on the spiritual battlefield. A barefoot soldier will likely encounter debris or rough patches of ground, which will throw his fighting off course.
So, what can throw off our peace of mind? Or throw off our peace about our circumstances? The answer is: any of the devil’s schemes. The devil, during any day, can hurl debris like family feuds, job insecurity, friendship betrayals, or any other rocky situation at us in a way that can sabatoge our strength.
Peace helps us to stay grounded, and simultaneously stand our ground.
But wait? Why does Paul call this the shoes of the Gospel of peace? Does that mean there are other Gospels? Like the Gospel of Love? Gospel of Faith?
Or, is he saying we should pay attention to one Gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?
What Paul actually means here by ‘Gospel’ is ‘Good News.’ We are to fit our feet with the good news of peace.
In other words, we are to advance onto the battlefield unafraid, because we carry with us the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. No matter what debris the enemy throws as us, amidst the war and chaos, we know God has everything under control and that his plan cannot be thwarted by the devil.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Deagreez
How Do We Use the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace?
Like the Roman footwear, we have a certain amount of versatility when it comes to this piece of armor. When we look at how the Roman soldiers used shoes, we can see how to implement this weapon in similar ways.
1. We are to Walk in these Shoes a Great Distance
Roman soldiers would march for dozens of miles during any given stretch, and their shoes would not only have to conquer rough terrain, but do as little damage to their feet as possible.
Having personally worked in a career that has me on my feet and walking several miles a day, I’ve come to realize how much footwear matters. If you develop welts or scabs on your feet, your focus will be derailed as you can only think about how much your feet hurt.
Our shoes do the same. We walk, comforted by our Prince of Peace (Isaiah 40:1). His yoke is easy, and burden is light, compared with the footwear the world has to offer.
The Christian journey is long and hard, but God gives us these shoes to help us go great distances in our walk.
2. We are to Advance without Hesitation
Fear and uncertainty can threaten to stop any Christian from spreading the good news. If we catch the news, and watch the world succumb to darkness we can get tripped up without the readiness that comes from walking in the gospel of peace.
We’ll hesitate or worry. And we won’t be effective soldiers.
But with the readiness of these gospel of peace shoes, we don’t have to fear debris on the battlefield. We can advance through the rough terrain.
3. We Are to Walk Together
Roman troops advanced in formation. Not only does this intimidate the enemy, but they would plow right through any threats.
In the same way, the Church must walk together, fitted with the good news of peace. As mentioned in our other articles on the armor of God, that means helping us adjust our crooked armor before we reach the battlefield. That way, we maintain formation and spread the good news effectively.
In the case of fitting our feet with the shoes of the Gospel of peace, this also means reminding each other of the peace we have.
Often, we can get bogged down by the worries of this world, so as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must help each other remember the peace we have. The peace the enemy cannot rob from us.
What Does Jesus Say about Peace?
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Peace was important to him, and he did have some things to say about the subject during his ministry:
- In him and only through him we have peace (John 16:33). God gives us all these pieces of armor. We cannot conjure peace, faith, salvation, etc. on our own.
- God gives us rest for our souls when we are bombarded by the worries of this world (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Peace allows us not to be afraid (John 14:27). No matter what happens around us, we know God has the victory.
A quick online search reveals that that word peace itself appears hundreds of times in the Bible, depending on your translation. The Bible places such a high importance on peace because it is a major attribute of God. We need peace to live healthy, effective spiritual lives.
Where Else Can We Find Imagery of Shoes or Peace in the Bible?
Aside from removing shoes as an act of servitude (John 1:27), acknowledging God’s holiness (Exodus 3:5), or to exchange land (Ruth 4:7-8), the Bible doesn’t reference fitting your feet with footwear in many ways, other than the imagery presented in the armor of God Ephesians passage.
However, the Bible does have some other images for peace. Doves and olive branches (Genesis 8:11) for instance represent the concept of peace. We also have the gift of peace offered in both the New and Old Testament.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Littlehenrabi
A Prayer for Feet Fitted with the Readiness of the Gospel of Peace
Dear Heavenly Father, today, I ask you to fit me with the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. No matter what debris the enemy hurls at me, remind me of your goodness and your magnificent plan. No matter how much the devil tries, he cannot thwart what you have planned for me, my family, and this whole world.
Help me to recognize when a fellow brother or sister in Christ is in need of a reminder of your peace. Help my brothers and sisters to come to my aid when I have forgotten about your power and providence over this world. Jesus, you are the Prince of Peace. You will set everything right at the end, and for the meantime I cry, “Maranatha! Lord, Jesus come.”
While we wait, please help me to be an effective soldier, and to spread your Gospel, the good news, to those who need to hear it. Amen.
Putting on every part of the armor of God is important, including fitting your feet. No matter how much the earth gives way, God gives us these shoes of the good news of peace to help us stand our ground, to stand together, and to advance effectively.
Fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, we can traverse rough terrain and walk far, spreading the good news to the ends of the earth.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Melpomenem
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her here.
This article is part of our series on the Armor of God. To learn more about the meaning, context, and purpose of each piece of armor in the spiritual life of the believer, visit the articles below.